2021 · Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December · Christmas 2021

Advent Adventures: The Door to December 18th

The Door to December 18th: Ornamentals

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Open…

“TODDLER PROOF TREE”

TODDLER PROOF TREE,

FRAGILE FREE.

ORNAMENTS UP FOR SAFEKEEPING.

PAPER, PLUSH, 

SOFT TO TOUCH,

NO BROKEN GLASS SWEEPING.

ONE MORE YEAR,

OR MAYBE TWO,

BEFORE IT’S SAFE FOR ALL.

NEXT YEAR,

GLASS ORNAMENTS FOR SURE,

WHEN WE DECK THE HALLS.

“Joaquin’s Decorating”

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Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December 17th

The Door to December 17th: Cabbage Patch Kids Growing in the Garden

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Dear Holiday Shoppers,

Be careful what you wish for. The holiday shopping days are disappearing quickly. Let me bring you down my memory lane and recount the time my Mother fought in earnest to make sure that a certain toy was under a certain tree on a certain day.

 

 

Open…

 

 

MOTHER CHRISTMAS VISITS THE CABBAGE PATCH

My Mother was a woman of vernacular. She had ways of saying things and words to say them. Over the course of our lives together, it became apparent that not everyone shared these words and expressions. In conversations with others, I’d often say things that would get puzzled looks, or giggles.

The Boston “dropped R” only enhanced and amplified the effect of conversing with her. You might get something like “Hi! Howahya? You comin ovah tommorah? Jaysus Christ, it’s wicked hawt. Christophah! Christophah! I saw a patient at the hospital last night with a broken leg, bone sticking out. Skeevatsah!”

I grew an appreciation for the cadence and dance of conversing with her over the years. She “nevah” used punctuation, but ended most phrases with a “ya know?” Which was pregnant with reflection, concession, and a hint at sought validation; though mostly rhetorical.

My Mother doted on my sister and I to an extreme. Most especially, at Christmas. We were spoiled. It was her thing. It is one of the lasting memorable characteristics of her personality, along with her speech patterns that I remember fondly.

Well, a story she was particularly fond of retelling, or enjoyed hearing others tell of it, was that of “The Great Cabbage Patch Kid Doll Carnage of 1983”

crazies
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The Cabbage Patch Doll Craze of 1983 was a national phenomena. My sister had it in her lusty child sights. I didn’t care so much about it, except a passing acknowledgement that it was “a thing”, G.I. Joe was more in my wheelhouse. I really don’t recall how it became known to us, but somehow without internet, the message got out. Stores didn’t have them to keep up with the demand. Clandestine shipments, ravaged shelves, my Mother had contacts everywhere, searching high and low for one of these damn dolls. I repeat, this was before internet, yet she managed a network of contacts through landline telephones, a calendar date book, and the yellow and white pages. I’m pretty sure she also enlisted help from the Hood Milkman, Meyer the owner of the Family Shoe Store where we got our bobos (generic shoes mocking name brands), and the entire St. Francis de Sales Parents Guild Association.

As days fell from the calendar, so did my Mother’s hopes of presenting the perfect Christmas morning for my sister.

She was wicked desperate.

I don’t know how, but one of the many leads she had, developed into her taking a bus to Manhattan with my father sometime in December before Christmas 1983. It was a precision operation that involved getting to the correct store, waiting in line, and having the right money for the purchase.

When I think of my father being dragged from his weekend slumber to traipse down to Manhattan on the chance of a hope and a prayer that they might get a doll for my sister, I heartily laugh. I don’t think he was a believer. Ma was, though. My sister’s Christmas joy depended on it.

His only consolation was perhaps a few hurried stops at a bunch of New York Street Hot Dog vendors, so he could stuff a Sabrett’s Hot Dog in his restless maw. Not my mother, she was not to be distracted from her mission.

The Blues Brothers were told by God that they had a mission to complete. Conversely, my Mother told God, she had a mission to complete.

So after the long bus trip, the long city blocks, the foot long hot dogs smothered in relish, they finally arrived at the correct place at the correct time. The line was long, but not impossibly long. Somehow, others knew about the shipment, much to my Mother’s chagrin. They padded along. advancing another few steps. At the pace of one complaint and anxiety at a time. My Mother spent her time in the line giving the gooch and stink face to anyone coming back down the line with a sizable box like brown paper bag in their mitts. Each person coming down the line displayed a satisfaction that my Mother hadn’t tasted as yet, and she grew antsy.

Down the line. People in. Bags out.

Blood pressure rising.

After what must have seemed an eternity to my parents, they finally crossed the threshold and made their way to the counters.

Behind the counters were little brown men screaming and yelling at a fevered pitch. New York was and is the melting pot of America, so it stood to reason that my parents would meet up with some people they were unfamiliar with, having spent most of their lives in an insular community.

So the moment of truth occurs:

Sales clerk: So whatchoo, want, lady?

Ma: How much ah, fah the Cabbage Patch Dolls?

Sales clerk: one hundred dolla.

My Mother turns to my Father, “did he say $100 dollars?”

My father nodded. She didn’t intend on paying $100 dollars for a doll she thought was could be bought for less. Although, desperate times called for desperate measures.

She turned back to the sales clerk and said:

Fah each? Awhr fah two?

The clerk looked stunned, then started talking to his associate. My mother, thought she was not heard. Both sales clerks looked bothered and started gesticulating at my mother. Again, she said:

Fah each? Awhr fah two?

Well that just about did it. The sales clerks said:

Get out, of our store, filthy lady! How dare you talk to us like that!

My father getting a hold of what was going on realized what my mother had said, and put together that they thought she was offering “favors” for the dolls.

Dad: They thought you said you would eat them for two dolls, Kath.

After a good laugh, and some explanations, my Mother reluctantly paid the $100 dollars for the doll.

cabbage-patch-craze
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So 1983 was one of the best Christmases ever for our family. My sister got her doll. My Mother got to see the expression of joy that came of my sister receiving the doll. We all got a story to tell, and two Indian/Pakistani gentleman in Manhattan who had a harder time understanding my Mother’s Boston accent than she had in understanding them, were canonized saints for not having thrown my Mother out of their store before she had the chance to drop her r’s, and some cabbage on some Cabbage Patch Kids.

cabbage
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In my Mother’s version of the story, she believed that the gentleman got it wrong, but if you knew my Mother, you would have heard what they heard, as she had a phenomenal Boston accent. It was wicked pissah! Ya’ know…

 

Cabbage Patch Kiss Ma

 

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Check out a recent post here: Advent Adventures: The Door to December 16th – ProCrasstheNation

Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December 16th

The Door to December 16th: “Christmas Memories, Christmas Reveries”

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Dear Door Openers,

Please enjoy a poem I put together for the season.

CPH

 

 

 

 

Open…

 

 

 

 

“Christmas Memories, Christmas Reveries”

 

Kringle capers,

Crinkling papers,

Clanging choir bells.

 

Busy streets,

Hanging wreaths,

Roasted chestnut shells.

 

Jingle bells,

Red pastels,

Frosted windowpanes.

 

Fire’s glow.

Hot cocoa,

Pulling reindeer reins.

 

Christmas memories,

Christmas reveries.

Standing under, mistletoe.

 

Christmas Evening,

Christmas Morning,

Santa always seemed to know.

 

Season’s greetings,

Family meetings,

Sucking candy canes.

 

Midnight mass,

Manger grass,

Joining reindeer games.

 

Christmas Past,

Christmas Present,

Christmas Yet To Come.

 

Christmas memories,

Christmas reveries,

Thank God, that I have some.

 

 

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Check out a recent post here: Advent Adventures: The Door to December 15th – ProCrasstheNation

Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December 15th

The Door to December 15th: December Birthdays

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Dear December Birthday Revelers,

I stand in solidarity with you. It is tough to have a December Birthday. I know because my sister suffers from the affliction. It’s a champagne problem in some measures, but it can really get to you if people don’t keep the Birthday and the Christmas Holiday separate. Each has it’s own distinct joys and reasons for celebrating attached. So I implore any of my readers that try to double-up on Birthday and Christmas gifts to kill two birds with one stone; don’t do it. It’s not nice. And Santa is taking notes about who is naughty and nice. Give the people in your lives that have a December Birthday all the special attention a Birthday deserves without any association to the Jingles or Merries.

 

 

Open…

 

 

Happy Birthday to my kid sister. She is still fresh, full of mischief, and a great all around character. She’s true blue. I just want to make sure that she knows how special her birthday is to us, even though having a birthday in December can sometimes be tough. I hope she had a great day. 

 

 

 

Also,

 

 

 

Alexander Ignatius Connolly, or Bubba

My maternal grandfather, Bubba, was born on December 23, 1914. Another relative with a December birthday. I wonder how he found that. There are so many memories to touch upon that one post won’t do it justice. I’m happy to say that this gentleman was a driving force of good in my life, and one hell of a storyteller. He used to rivet us with tales of Sean-Sean the Leprechaun, as well as intriguing war stories about his time as a Marine in WWII’s Pacific Engagement with the Japanese. He loved his sports, and his cop shows, but most of all his family. He is sorely missed. I gave my first born son his middle name in honor of his great-grandfather.

Bubba, Merry Christmas wherever you may be.

 

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Check out a recent post here: Advent Adventures: The Door to December 14th – ProCrasstheNation

Advent Adventures: 24 Doors of December

Advent Adventures: The Door to December 14th

The Door to December 14th: Ode to Ellie

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Dear Adventeers,

Peripheral relatives affect our lives as n many ways. My maternal great aunt Eleanor White lived above my grandparents at 288 Bunker Hill. She was an enigma in many ways and I’m sorry I never got to know her as well as her could have. She was wonderful at Christmas and one time she fell asleep on my parents bed and all of our guests piled coats on top of her not knowing she was there. A breathing mound awoke and went back to 288. The past is weird and fuzzy, but full of wonderful memories.

CPH

 

Open…

 

 

 

Ode to Aunt Eleanor of 288 Bunker Hill

Things I enjoy about this photograph…

 

  1. My Aunt Ellie is in it.
  2. I was giving the camera a stink face
  3. There is a can of Sanka in the foreground, which someone received as a gift
  4. My sister’s sweatsuit
  5. The collars on my shirt
  6. The puffy blue coat beside the chair that was a gift for me
  7. The stereo on the cabinet table
  8. The tapes on top of the stereo (Michael Jackson, Men At Work, Billy Joel, Kenny Rogers, Perry Como, Willie Nelson, Perry Como, Mitch Miller)
  9. My sister’s expression
  10. The wallpaper meant to look like paneled wood
  11. The sun catcher hanging in the window
  12. The alarm clock in front of the stereo
  13. The reindeer decoration
  14. The garland under the reindeer decoration indicating the reindeer’s power of flight
  15. The segmented Merry Christmas Decoration below the reindeer decoration
  16. That this pic represents what Christmas looked like in my home circa 1983-1986

 

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Check out a recent post here: Advent Adventures: The Door to December 13th – ProCrasstheNation