Past Christmases; most you don’t remember at all, and there’s that one that sticks out like a hair on a hot plate of biscuits and gravy.
We lived next door to my grandparents and my Granny thought a cedar chest would be a nice gift for my parents. It was delivered a week before Christmas; and she had sworn me to secrecy. In fact, she promised if I uttered a word about it she’d make sure Ruth gave me an even tighter perm than I already had.
I was twelve.
We had a screened-in front porch with a porch swing, so we put the chest under the swing and covered the seat with an old Army blanket.
That Christmas Eve, we gathered as usual at the grandparents’ house for their “eggnog”, cakes, and Pinochle game with their friends where I was once again bored out of my skull. Naturally, it was my duty to stir up some shit.
I quietly sneaked out the basement door and went home. I took all the presents out from under the tree where we all gathered on Christmas, and hid them in the cedar chest.
Satisfied with my nefarious scheme, I returned to the festivities and announced, “Somebody stole all the presents!”
Every jaw dropped and Daddy jumped up like a rooster in a cock fight. He grabbed the twelve-gauge sitting by the basement door, marched downstairs, across the driveway, fired one in the air, and yelled, “All you sons of bitches better put that shit back or get it in the ass!”
Granny was grinning from ear to ear and I never went back to Ruth for another perm.