The Season of Stories16:15
I am ecstatic for the holidays. Not because I love giving or receiving gifts or the parties or even the slacked-off work schedule. (Okay, maybe the latter.) I heart the silly season for the drama. I can’t wait to hear about the person who dirty-danced with their boss at the holiday party. The uncle who went MIA on Christmas, but actually just got drunk and fell asleep under his bed. The family politics revved up for yet another holiday drag race. This is entertainment. This is fodder for future stories, a time to gather material for the long winter ahead.
Here’s my contribution. Feel free to add yours in the comments area below.
When I was 15, my family spent Christmas on Cape Cod. We’d just come off a harrowing year abroad and were split it up a bit—my oldest brother at college, another brother at boarding school on account of a wild streak, me at home with my mother while my father traveled too much for work. The holiday was something of a reunion. When we arrived at the house, we discovered a newly finished home that partially blocked our view of a pond. In particular there was a tree on the new home’s property that—should it disappear—would radically improve our vista.
After dinner on Christmas Eve, I found my oldest brother and my father in the basement oiling up a chainsaw. They were both drinking beers. When I joined them I was handed a beer, which I immediately guzzled. Then another, which I also downed. Finally, my middle brother joined us. He too had a beer in his hand, not his first. Save my dad, none of us were of legal drinking age.
Outside, it had begun to snow. We marched out from the garage, a phalanx of the family men on the way to our neighbor’s yard to cut down his tree. The area was mostly vacation homes, which meant our neighbor was not around. Most of the surrounding houses were also dark. I remember walking past the kitchen window and seeing my mother cleaning dishes. She looked up, smiled and waved approvingly. Her three sons, each with beers in hand, and her husband who had a beer and a chainsaw, were heading into the dark snowy night to cut down a massive tree on someone else’s property. And she was cool with it.
There isn’t space here to finish the story, but the highlight was that the tree almost fell on me. But the truly harrowing part was getting rid of the body, so to speak. The tree was in a ravine and we had to cut it up and roll the massive logs up a hill, which quickly got slick and muddy. When we lost control of the larger logs they’d careen back down the hill towards where my father was cutting the tree into pieces. How no one got seriously hurt that night will forever be a mystery to me. We did, however, succeed. We had our view back.
As for the neighbor, well, he was never terribly friendly towards us after that.
This week’s question: Do you find the holidays a fertile time for stories? Care to share one?
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