Daddy’s Christmas Carol Part 5

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Stave 5: Christmas at Last!

It was a blanket, and I had it wrapped tight around me as I lay next to Wife. I could tell it was cold outside, baby; but thanks to the blanket, Wife’s love, and Kitty sleeping and purring by our feet, I had plenty of love to keep me warm.

I opened my eyes just a little to check on Kitty, who had lifted its head and started to look around. We both heard footsteps heading in our direction. They got louder as they got closer to our fortress of slumber. Kitty got up on all fours and leapt off the bed. Just in time as The Boy made his appearance. He had a smile on his face and air underneath his body before crashing down on the bed between us. I think Kitty still has PTSD.

Wife jolted awake. She was ready to kill him, but the boy gave her a big, tight hug and said, “Merry Christmas!” This festive greeting reminded us that we needed to be extra vigilant in controlling our homicidal urges in the spirit of the season.

“Merry Christmas,” I said as I rolled over to give The Boy a hug. He pushed me away and resumed hugging my wife. The Oppressed came into our room with a smile. Wife saw her.

“Merry Christmas,” Wife said to her.

“Merry Christmas,” she said back as she ran to our bed and hugged me.

“Merry Christmas, Daddy,” she said.

“Merry Christmas,” I replied. I asked The Boy if I could have a hug, reminding him it was Christmas. I saw the back of his head shake, indicating, “No,” and continued hugging his mother.

Lovie then entered our room. She had an even bigger smile than The Oppressed.

“Merry Christmas,” Wife said to her.

“Merry Christmas,” she said. “Can we open presents?”

“Can the adults have coffee, first?” I asked.

“How about we make coffee first?” I suggested “Then, we can open presents while it finishes, and we can drink coffee while you kids open presents?”

“How about we open presents and then you can make coffee?” Lovie suggested, ever the humanitarian.

Wife told her to wake her other brothers. I took this opportunity to go downstairs and let Doggie out of her crate. As Doggie raced to the door to answer the call of nature, I heard what sounded like a drug raid taking place upstairs. Lovie flew the door open to the boys’ room unannounced. I heard yelling from the room.

“Wake up! It’s time to open presents!”

“Oh my God, what time is it?”

“It’s time to open presents. Stop sleeping!”

“Shut up! I’m tired.”

“Sleep tomorrow!”

I was in the kitchen at this point making coffee. After a few minutes, I answered the scratching on the door, signifying that Doggie had finished what she needed to do outside. The love and spirit of Christmas continued down the stairs as Lovie led the charge into the living room to see the loot Santa Claus had left for everyone.

“I want to give my presents to everyone first,” Lovie announced to everyone. The rest of the children stumbled into the living room, including The Gaggle, who was staying with us for the week. Wife was the last to come downstairs, barely able to keep her eyes open. We hugged each other and wished each other a Merry Christmas. The pot of coffee had just finished brewing, and I poured her and myself a cup before entering the madness that was unfolding in the living room.

Lovie was arguing with Slugger, who, apparently, had taken her seat. Lovie wanted the seat closest to the tree so she could supervise the handing out of Christmas presents. Of course, presents from her had to be opened first, and if anyone else was handing out presents, there was a chance hers wouldn’t be opened first.

Slick made his appearance and took a seat on the couch. He didn’t care whose presents got opened first. All he cared about was someone rudely woke him from his slumber, and it was Christmas Vacation.

The Gaggle took a seat next to Slick. Lovie was able to muscle Slugger away from the tree and assumed her role of gift-giver. The Boy sat next to Wife and The Oppressed sat with me. Presents were exchanged and opened. It was a nice Christmas morning filled with secrets that had been protected for weeks. Packages that had been smuggled into the house and locked away from prying eyes were finally allowed to see the light of day. Children were excited to try their new presents. Wife and I thanked each other for our presents. I got some nice clothes and, after a shower, I was eager to put on my new clothes and continue the celebration of Christmas.

After a few hours at home, we rounded up the cohort, packed the car with more gifts, and drove to my in-laws. There we handed out presents to relatives and shared in the joy of the Holidays. Dinner was then served, another fantastic spread put out by my mother-in-law, who is always cooking incredible food, especially during holidays.

Dinner. Dessert. My diet went off the rails again and it was going to be back to carrots and protein shakes soon enough. But for today, I partook in the feasting and festivities.

We went home that night. Children resumed playing with new gadgets and toys. Occasionally, one child proudly approached us to show us a gadget and what they learned to do with it. It got later into the night, and one-by-one, children started to go to bed. It was Christmas, but I still had my Daddy Duties. I read to The Boy and hung out with The Oppressed, who briefed me on the joy she felt on this most wonderful time of the year. She fell asleep, and I left her room. I made my way through the rooms of the house, shutting off lights as I made my way into the living room to turn off the Christmas tree. I surveyed the mass of Christmas goods strewn about the floor. More things around to test my agility as I try to negotiate my way from one room to another.

I made my way to the Christmas tree. Something caught my eye before I made it. It was a bottle of beer, much like one of the bottles I saw when The Ghost of Daddy Present haun- I mean – visited me. It had a nice red ribbon tied to it and a tag tied around the neck of the bottle. The tag read “The Christmas Spirit” and I smiled. I wasn’t going to drink it tonight. It was late and Daddy needs his beauty sleep. I would put it in the refrigerator and chill it proper for the following evening. After all, we should all keep the Christmas spirit year-round, right?

It’s time to open presents. Stop sleeping!

Lovie

A car slowly made its way past my house. It looked like Mr. Farley’s car. A horn sounded as it drove by. I smiled and waved just before the car disappeared from my sight. The Christmas tree went dark as the car disappeared.

I went upstairs, turning lights off as I made my way to my room. Wife was already fast asleep, as were the rest of my children. I head Doggie snoring in her crate. Kitty was curled up at the foot of my bed. It was just Wife in our bed until I climbed in to join her. I wondered how long this would last before another child decided to join us. It didn’t matter. I was tired and I was going to fall asleep fast. I would know someone else was in the bed when I wake up and try to look over at Wife.

And just like that, another Christmas came to an end. Mr. Farley didn’t visit me again, which I thought was rude. None of the spirits visited me again, but between the love my family has for each other, there’s plenty of the Christmas spirit to go around. And between all of my children, there’s enough haunting without ghosts.

Oh, well. That’s the life of a parent. You understand, I’m sure. Thanks for reading this irrefutably true story of the Christmas I shared with ghosts and spirits. I hope this story found you well and kept you company as you made your way through your own madness of preparing for Christmas at your home.

Oh, yeah… And God Bless Us, Everyone!

Daddy’s Christmas Carol Part 3

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(With apologies to Charles Dickens)

Stave 3: The Ghost of Daddy Present

I was back in my bed as if nothing had happened. I looked at my clock. It was 1:55. I had five precious minutes to rest before the next ghost came to visit me. Farley certainly didn’t care much if I got any rest on the night before the most wonderful time of the year. I put my head back down and thought of everything I saw and witnessed with the first ghost. These beings certainly had a lot of energy. I wondered why they were haunting me instead of my kids. The kids had more energy than me or anyone else in the house. Why should the ghosts haunt me?

As I was thinking about this, I noticed a bright light flashing from downstairs. The light made its way up the stairs, in the hall and under my door into the room. I looked at my clock just as my phone made the sound of the bell signifying 2:00. Maybe if I stay here the ghost will come upstairs and find me. That would give me a couple more minutes before I’m forced on to the next display of shadows I need to see.

A voice from downstairs boomed, “Gregory!”

Again with the “Gregory”. What is it with these people, or ghosts, or whatever it is Farley sent to me?

“Gregory!” the voice called again.

“What?!” I yelled back, remembering that no one can hear anything as long as the ghosts are around. It’s like asking my kids to do something. Say it as loud as you want, they’ll never hear you.

“Come on downstairs, and bring your robe. Polite company tonight!”

Wonderful, we’re leaving the house again. I got out of bed and put on my robe. I went to the stairs and it looked like all of the lights downstairs were on. Again, it’s like my kids are around.

The only thing was, none of the lights in the rooms downstairs were actually on. I followed the stairs to the living room. Whatever the light was that lit the whole house, it seemed to be coming from the tree. These ghosts sure liked messing with the Christmas Tree.

I looked out at the room and saw kegs and bottles of beer. everywhere. There were small kegs and large kegs. There were bottles of all sizes. I didn’t know where they came from. I didn’t care where they came from. Over the kegs and bottles were chilled glasses resting on shelves. I adjusted the belt of my robe and marveled at the sight before me. It was like Christmas. Wait… I reminded myself it actually was Christmas!

I briefly took my eyes off the hoppy glory and goodness to notice who the voice was coming from. He was sitting in a chair, dressed in jeans and a hoodie. He had his feet up. No shoes, just socks. I wondered where this polite company was coming from if he was just in jeans and a hoodie with no shoes. He was sipping from a glass. Judging by the looks of the glass and what was in it, he was drinking a dark beer, maybe a stout.

“Have a beer,” he said. “And hurry up. We need to go soon.”

I walked up to a shelf and grabbed a glass. I poured myself an ale. “Where are we going?” I asked as I poured.

“You’ll find out,” he said to me. These ghosts just love to keep me in suspense. Oh well. At least there’s a glass of something nice to keep me busy while I’m finding out.

We drained our glasses and he got up from his chair. “Let’s go,” he said. I put my glass down and went with him to the door. He opened the door and said, “After you.” I walked through the door and, instead of stepping outside, I immediately found myself at my in-law’s house where my family goes every year for Christmas.

I looked around. Everything was the way it is when we visit. The table was set. I could smell dinner cooking in the kitchen. I looked over at the ghost. It was dressed up for dinner. New pants, nice shirt, nice shoes. I looked down at what I was wearing. I was still wearing the same robe I put on when I got out of bed.

“Hey!” I said to the ghost. “Where are my nice duds?”

The ghost just shrugged. What was this about? Ghosts can wake me up. They can decorate my house as they see fit. They can transport me to different houses without me leaving my own house. Is it too much to ask for me to wear something nice even if people can’t see me? I mean, it’s important enough the ghost gets to change its clothes.

Spirit and I found our way to the living room where the family was seated. We were talking away about the year we had and what the kids got from Santa Claus Christmas. I could see everyone seated in the room, including me. I was on the couch with Wife.

Suddenly, The Boy came into the living room. He jumped on the couch, landing, between me and Wife. I tried to move The Boy so I could be next to my wife, but he wasn’t having any of that.

The ghost looked at me and asked, “Does this always happen?”

“Just wait,” I said. “We just got here.”

I saw myself trying to say something to Wife. I was glad that at least my shadow had nice clothes. Every time I was talking to Wife, The Boy just had to say something. My mother-in-law announced dinner was ready and we all went to the dining room for dinner. We made our way to the room and found our seats at the table. I tried to take a seat next to Wife, but The Boy pushed me away and informed me that was his seat. I went to the other side of her, but I found Lovie already seated there. She looked at me with a smile. I needed to remind myself that it was Christmas.

The ghost shook his head. “Wow,” he said. “Do you ever get to see your wife?”

I told him that if I was lucky, we’ll get a night or two without children infiltrating our bedroom.

We all sat down to dinner. My mother-in-law is a great cook. We passed this, took that, and took, poured, and scooped food and gravy on our plate. The Boy insisted on a lot of this and a lot of that. The ghost noticed what The Boy was taking himself and what he wanted other people to put on his plate for him.

“Is he going to eat all of that?” The ghost asked me.

“Dear God, no,” I said to it.

We made our plates and began eating. The Boy got bored not long after we sat down to eat and started to walk around the room, and then the house. The ghost looked at me. I just shrugged.

I tried to say something to my wife, but every time I tried just happened to be the same time one of my children needed to say something. Even The Boy went back to the table to “say something” to my wife if he thought I looked like I was about to say something.

Dinner finished. Everyone helped to clear the table and bring things to the kitchen. After things were cleared, we retired back to the living room where we rested on chairs and couches with full hearts and stomachs. I thought this was my chance to sit with my wife, but The Boy and Lovie already settled in on either side of her. I found another place to sit that wasn’t as close to Wife as I would have liked. I asked The Boy for a hug. He said, “No.” I asked Lovie for a hug. She just looked away from me and snuggled in closer with my wife. Slick and Slugger were on their phones. The Oppressed was playing with one of her new toys.

I looked at the ghost to make my point, but it was gone. I looked around. No ghost. No house, even. I looked and saw a house I had never seen before. It was decorated for Christmas, alright. There was food cooking. I could smell it.

“Hi there,” a voice behind me said. “Merry Christmas!”

Next: The Ghost of Daddy Future

The Family Meets St. Nicholas

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(Based on “A Visit From St. Nicholas/’Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Clement C. Moore)

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house. Kitty was purring. She’d just killed a mouse.

My glasses were cleaned and laid out with care in hopes that bourbon and beer would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds while visions of more screens danced in their heads.

Wife on her side of the bed. Me on mine. Wondering how long ’til a child climbs in.

When down in the kitchen there was such a clatter. I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Turned on the light. Blind from the flash. Hand over face to see who it is.

The moon outside shone on the snow gave a luster of midday to objects below.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but The Gaggle, The Boy, The Oppressed in good cheer.

They poured out some eggnog, so lively and quick. I shooed them to bed. Here comes St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came. And I shooed and scattered as I called them by name.

Now Lovie, now Slugger, now Slapshot and screwball. Junior and Dearie, make haste down the hall. Go to your rooms. Get in your beds. Make not a peep. Just rest your heads.

I wanted to throw them, to make them fly.

There was a lack of hustle. They just rolled their eyes.

Meanwhile, I heard a sleigh slow to stop

Eight not-so-tiny-deer resting on top.

A Christmas vision

The sleigh-driver hopped off. Claus and bag, too

I hoped that bag had a bottle, brand new.

Something nice, tasty and strong.

Something enjoyed after homework gone wrong.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

Kitty was watching. She just had to look.

A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,

Toys for everyone. Jills and Jacks.

His eyes—how they twinkled as gifts were dispersed!

He sung to himself a nice Christmas verse.

His droll little mouth carried the tune

As the Christmas Star rose high over the moon.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

Made me grateful he wasn’t vaping. What a relief

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

He was gen’rous and kind, a right jolly old man,

With a bottle of single malt scotch in each hand.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

I asked him to stay for some Christmas cheer.

He politely declined, then waved to our Dears.

The children had been right there standing behind us.

By the time I looked back, Santa had left us.

The Miracles of Christ stood there and smiled.

The Boy pointed and asked, “Is this one my pile?”

But I hope you enjoy your own Christmas night.

Happy Christmas to all. Daddy’s tired. Good night.

Happy Christmas!
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