"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Monday, December 20, 2010

Spies in the yard and other Christmas rememberances

It's Monday madness -- the day that Mom demands the house deep cleaned and de-junked in prep for Christmas. If this guy in the yard is really a spy, I just know he can hear the household discontent all the way out out there and his report most likely won't be pretty.

So while I hold the trash bags in the upstairs hall, waiting for grumpy children to fill them with accumulated garbage ... here's more happy Christmas memories.

Mark (#1): Yelled from the bottom of the stairs-- “Thank you, Santa Claus!!” (Most of you probably don’t remember that one. This would have been the Christmas of 1979. We all—what there were of us at the time--woke up Christmas morning in the Davenport apartments and went downstairs to find stuff all over the place that Santa had left during the night. For Josh there was a train in a box with a gray track and Josh yelled ‘Thank you, Santa Claus!” from the bottom of the stairs.)

  • “I see Dad’s present in the tree, but I’m not gonna tell him what it is!” (Most of you won’t remember that one, either. That was Meg on Cherry Hills Drive in Bettendorf about Christmas of 1980. Mom had gotten Dad a nice set of chrome pens and, so he wouldn’t shake the wrapped present and figure out what it was, she had hidden the present way up in the branches of the Christmas tree itself, instead of under it. Only problem was, she didn’t keep its whereabouts from Meg.
  • “Every good southern boy has a knife in his pocket.” (The first time I ever heard this was the Christmas of what was probably 1982, in Mauldin. I don’t remember anything else I got except a Camillus pocket knife from Grand Janie. Though I would hear this statement many, many times more, I think that day was the first time I can remember having heard it.)
  • “Mark, sing the ‘Wild People Sing’ song again.” (In Mauldin, just before we moved up to Franklin, I was in the 8th grade chorus at Hillcrest Middle School. We sang a concert in the Greenville Mall at Christmas time and one of the songs we sang was “Hark, How the Bells.” Mom spent the rest of that Christmas calling it the ‘Wild People Sing’ song.)
  • So, okay, you’re not Mark Watson, but I’m Melody Longnecker. How about that?” (The year after I got back off of my mission, Marlowe and I were at BYU together. It was the Christmas of 1991 and we both wanted to go home for Christmas but didn’t have much money and our parents’ didn’t either. In those days you could just buy a plane ticket off of someone else and use it. The airlines, despite the fact that they DID put the purchaser’s name on the ticket, didn’t care who actually used the ticket. Marlowe and I had bought a couple of tickets out of the newspaper and off of the BYU sign board to get back to Atlanta. I said something offhand about me not being Mark Watson right now and it feeling a little weird. I hadn’t paid any attention before, but sure enough we’d bought her ticket off of someone named MelodyLongnecker. What has stuck with me through the years is how thankful I am that my last name isn’t Longnecker.)
  • “Hello, Mark! (Hello, Mark!)Merry Christmas to ya! (Merry Christmas to ya!)” (The first Christmas I absolutely, positively, could not be at home for any (good) reason came the Christmas of 1989. I was in Uruguay on my mission and Christmas day was somewhere around 100 degrees with no air conditioning. We were allowed to call or be called from home for Mother’s Day and Christmas, and I’d only been down there since October. I hung around the phone in our house on Christmas Day waiting for Mom and Dad to call, which they did. When I answered, I got my first dose of global satellite telecommunications. A Christmas I’ve never forgotten.)

Now, go eat some piggy pudding everyone. It’s made with figs....and bacon!


Mark T. Watson

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