Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Christmas in the 'Hood

By Martha Reed

Right now I’m feeling a bit like Scrooge because the holiday decorations are up in my neck of the woods and my neighbor across the street has decided to invest this year in one of those inflatable igloo/penguin/Christmas tree sets that also plays a constantly looping muzak holiday favorites soundtrack. For the first hour on Saturday I thought it was kind of cute but now I feel like I’m trapped inside some insane Christmas version of a scary serial killer’s ice cream truck.

I complained about it to my sister on Saturday and she told me to sneak out in the middle of the night with a screwdriver and pop it. Can you tell we’re related?

This neighbor is the same guy who hung a pair of brass balls off the trailer hitch on his F150 pickup truck, if that tells you anything. Now I lived in Texas for a good ten years, and I understand how a man can love his truck, but there is a line that should not be crossed and this guy keeps crossing the line and stepping on my toes.

Let me move my laptop to the next room. Maybe that will make it better.

Nope. Let me try earplugs. I kid you not.

Okay, that’s better. Which brings me to the original idea for my blog today: What’s your favorite holiday story?

I love the movie A Christmas Story, featuring a fabulously funny voice over narrator and a kid named Ralphie.

The reason I can watch this movie over and over is because I grew up in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, well inside the lakes effect beltway and I can vividly remember standing knee deep in snow waiting for the school bus to come. This scene captures my childhood perfectly down to the knitted stocking caps:

Since I mentioned her already, I’ll finish this blog with a true holiday story about my sister. My whole family was trapped inside the house one Christmas Eve, and we sent Boo out to get a movie that would fill up the time until we could all go to bed. She came back with her idea of the perfect family Christmas DVD: Misery, based on the horror novel by Stephen King and that's another instance of 'that should tell you everything you need to know', which now that I think of it is a pretty good writer's tool, and so I'll end on that.


Annette said...

Martha, you make me appreciate the total lack of Christmas decorations in my corner of the world. I'm with your sister. Pop it. Do it. Tonight.

Joyce Tremel said...

Very funny, Martha! My next door neighbors have kind of overdone it with the decorations, too, but at least theirs don't have sound effects. However, the lights are so bright it looks like daylight at ten pm.

Does your town have a noise or nuisance ordinance? It definitely sounds like a nuisance to me!

Jenna said...

Use it, sweetie. Write a short story. It has murderous rage written all over it.

Just FYI, y'all, Laura over on the Good Girls has a stellar blog up today. Nothing to do with Christmas or noisy decorations, but something everyone should read. You'll know why when you've read it. I cried. It's the kind of reminder we all need sometimes.

Anonymous said...

This is exactly why I love this group - partners in crime.

You've got me thinking maybe I need to strike twice. Pop the Santa and take my wire cutters out and geld the truck.

Will you write to me in jail?

Annette said...

Heh, heh, Martha. Of course, I'll come visit you in jail. I'll even bake you a cake. Heh, heh.

By the way, when you "geld" the truck, there is a tradition where you throw the things up on the roof afterward for luck. I kid you not. I couldn't make that stuff up.

Anonymous said...

I knew about the roof tradition for the milt when the babies are born, but I never heard about the other. It's kind of gross but our vet used to toss them to the dogs. ICK.

OK, this conversation is getting wierd. LOL

Anonymous said...

Well, this blog has taken a decidedly un-Christmas-y turn. Even my magic verification word is SLAIN. Speaking as a lawyer, I have to caution Martha: If you're going to commit a crime, do not -- I repeat, DO NOT -- plan it on a public forum!!!

Ahem. My favorite Christmas movie is Elf -- warms the heart without simultaneously turning the stomach. As for real life Christmas stories, Christmas was always tinged with sadness in my grandmother's house, because her son -- my uncle Harry -- died on Christmas day. She didn't like to hear Christmas carols because they had been playing in the hospital wile he was dying. Everyone thought it was significant, though, that Harry had been born on Good Friday. Kind of the opposite of Jesus Christ.

Yikes. This is getting morbid.

Anonymous said...

Gina, I know that someday all my research will turn on me and I'll get tried for a murder I didn't commit becuase of what I learned for my stories!

Annette said...

Ha! You should have seen the websites I was researching yesterday! I kept thinking, if anyone is tracking what sites I'm visiting, I'm toast.