December 25, 2004

A Very Wheeler Christmas (Broken)

Christmas Eve, 1145 hrs: I am woken up and told that we will be leaving within half an hour. I am presented with a short list of tasks to accomplish in that time.

I do not accomplish them within that time at all. In fact, I am told every half hour or so that we will be leaving in half an hour until we finally climb into the car at 3:20, shortly after I have completed all of my assigned tasks and managed a short post on a computer that despises the entire human race.

Christmas Eve, 1530 hrs: We turn around and drive back to the house because my OCD mother thinks Micah might have left the bathroom heater on. He hadn't.

Christmas Eve, 1650 hrs: We finally arrive at my grandparents' house, a bare ten minutes before the time I had jokingly predicted hours before. I snag my three brothers and we contentedly play a co-op game of X-Men: Legends on the X-Box together for the next hour. I was Storm, Brett was Beast, Micah was Iceman, and Ian was Nightcrawler.

You don't care at all, do you?

Christmas Eve, 1800 hrs: My dad declares that we will be attending open communion at Trinity Church. Brett attempts to rebel. I muscle him into my car. We go to communion. It was like the eye of the storm, and I briefly found a calm center there. It was nice.

Christmas Eve, 1859 hrs: I post a brief message on my blog, needing to express my feelings about . . . some stuff in a way that no one else in the house can see. Nevermind all that. I go back out to face the relatives. After this, the passage of time gets hazy for awhile.

Dinner is served . . . Mexican tamales! Ian refuses to eat them because they are Mexican (just kidding). I remember that I had wanted to get myself some soda . . . in my frustration at not having any I slide out the door and drive down the road to the 7/11. It is, of course, open because it's against the law for it to be closed. Ever. Having purchased a liter of Dr. Pepper, I return home. My mom gives me a funny look when I come in the front door, but apparently no one noticed that I had left. I fill my cup and hide the DP in the bedroom, thither to return whenever I need a refill.

The dinner table conversation was . . . special. I remembered why I always bring allies from school at other times, but there was nothing to be done. After supper and dessert we gathered in the room of presents. We all took our seats and it was time for the age-old game . . . The adults see how long they can keep coming up with lame Christmas Eve activities before the kids start the battle cry of "Wrapping paper or blood!"

At this stage in the game, however, with the youngest kid nearing 13, the adults can pretty much ramble until they get tired of themselves. To begin, my mom's brother hauled out his guitar and passed out a stack of songbooks. He, my mom, and their parents all have good voices, and they could carry us through pretty much any tune that anyone cared to request (out of the songbook).

When my grandparents or one of the kids suggested a song it was an old classic, something familiar . . . but let my mom ask for anything and it was sure to be obscure and '70s or '80s . . . and probably sung by Sandy Patti at some time. Nevertheless, we had fun.

After ten songs or so, my grandmother jumped in and asked everyone starting with Ian (as the youngest) to tell the group about their most memorable Christmas. This was basically an excuse for her to relive the past, but whatever . . . I had heard most of the stories before, but some were new. I talked about the two Christmases since I left for LeTourneau. Homecoming makes Christmas more special, generally.

My grandad told one of my favorite stories . . . About when he was a kid and all of his brothers and cousins got air rifles. His dad and uncles wound up drunk and used the rifles to shoot all the ornaments off of the Christmas tree. There were three or four related stories he told as well . . . most of them involving fireworks. My grandmother hates those stories . . . but she asked for them.

Then there was general present-opening for awhile. Ian flipped out and tried to crush me to death when he got his cap. I'm all for gratitude, but he'd better never try that again!

Posted by Jared at December 25, 2004 09:44 PM