Skip to main content

The Christmas That Almost Wasn't, But Was, Though Not Quite, But In The End Was



It was the perfect winter morning in the perfect town square in the perfect hometown of my youth. I was arriving back to my hometown for Christmas, fresh off a taxi cab ride and full of my harden cynical big city life ways. I was coming home for a few days of home cooking, and homespun wisdom from people who looked vaguely like actors from popular 1980s sitcoms. My heart was despondent as right before I left the cold hard city for the warm bosom of hometown, my beloved AV Receiver in my home theater had died. The home theater doubles as my music room, and I was unable to play records, which was making me go cray cray.

After I arrived home and was greeted by the hugs of my loved ones, an act that began to warm the now cold dead rock that is my heart, we all rushed out to the local diner ran by a fellow who looked like Ernest Borgnine. As we sat at the counter and talked to everyone who had ever known me since conception, comments were had of how I was no longer a young scamp, but had grown into “Mr. Fancy Pants Money Maker In Bleak Town Person.” As I stared down at a plate full of fries and grilled onions on top of a burger, my mind was wandering, it was wandering back to the good times I had with my beloved 5.1 Panasonic A/V Receiver. The joy of scaring the neighbors by letting the subwolfer go crazy and rattle the house during a James Bond marathon.

At the grocery that night to buy my fancy all natural city foods, I ran into an old flame, Ruby Sue McGuffey McConnell Ann Jenkins. Our eyes caught each other, and we recognized one another immediately. I began to speak. “Ruby, I've not seen you since that Christmas dance at school back in 19somethingsomething where you broke my heart and caused me to move to the big city and become angry cynical mad person.” Ruby's cart was full of cozy canned foods, and she commented that I seemed to be buying nothing but Kale and Evian. A longing look passed between us, and we both went on our separate ways.

Walking back home with my kale and french mountain water, I passed by Old Man Jenkins' electronics store on Main Street. I saw he was still open, so I went inside the shop to say hello. Old Man Jenkins was Ruby's grandfather, and twas his store where I bought my beloved AV receiver. Old Man Jenkins sounded vaguely like Ed Asner, “Why Andy! You old so and so, how are things? How is Old Blue doing?” Old Blue was the name I gave my AV receiver. I told Old Man Jenkins that Old Blue had gone to that tech board in the sky. “Gee, I'm sorry to hear that. It'll be tough to find a replacement for Old Blue” he said, and he was right. I looked forlorn, and I left the shop, promising I would return and look over his new stock of receivers.

That night I went home and ate a home-cooked meal, helped wrapped gifts, and then I went to bed in the bedroom that I grew up in. I could begin to feel the black pit that is my hate heart start to warm. The next day we all went to the downtown area to watch the Christmas parade, where I chatted with family, and ran into Ruby yet again. Ruby and I drank hot chocolate by the hot chocolate cart that seemed to be everywhere at the same time. We talked of the past, of that fateful night when she broke my heart, my search for the perfect AV receiver. This is when Ruby began to tell me of her failed marriage and how horrible person now lives far away with their dog and some such.

Inexplicably, I asked Ruby out to dinner that night, and we ate and began to feel an old spark rekindle inside each of us. What followed was a montage. A montage filled with romantic Christmas music, skating at the ice rink, pretzels by the pretzel cart, and looking at new AV receivers in her father's shop. My cold bitter death pit that was my heart began to melt away and once again have that warm fuzzy glow of a normal human earth person. All in all this made for a Christmas that I would not soon forget.


Everything culminated on the night before I was due to fly back to the dirty city, I found myself being led to town square, surrounded by the sitcom actors, with Ruby waiting for me by that one old fountain that had been there since forever where love had been born in the long ago. Waiting for me at the center of the square I found Ruby, who was holding a brand new 7.2 surround sound system with bluetooth connectivity and six HDMI ports on the back, with room to connect a turntable. My heart was full, no longer a dead slab, and Christmas was saved to the tune of something that sounded just different enough from “All I Want For Christmas Is You” to avoid a lawsuit.  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Where The Blues Are

I come to you again this week with another pair of blu-rays from those master celluloid handlers at Warner Archive. First up we have 1960’s “Where The Boys Are,” a defining teen picture of the era by MGM, and the film largely responsible for kicking off the whole cycle of 1960s beach films. The other is 1955’s “Pete Kelly’s Blues” a film starring, produced, and directed by Jack Webb--TV’s Joe Friday. Part of a deal Webb had made with Warner Brothers when he was setting up the original big screen version of “Dragnet” in the ‘50s. 
“Where The Boys Are” was set for the screen before the book it was based on had been released. Producer Joe Pasternak snatched up the rights to the book by Glendon Swarthout, which was originally titled “Unholy Spring.” Pasternak, strongly feeling “Where The Boys Are” would be the better title, persuaded Swarthout to change the book’s title. Pasternak also felt he could use the film as a starring vehicle for one of the stars of MGM’s record label, Connie Franc…

Red, White, and Blaine

In 1996 Christopher Guest returned to the mockumentary genre with his look at regional theater “Waiting for Guffman.” Guest, most famously, being one-third of the fictional rock band Spinal Tap in the perhaps the best mockumentary ever made, “This is Spinal Tap.” “Guffman” also kicks off the cycle of Christopher Guest directed mockumentaries. The films all using the same group of actors, and all written by Guest with Eugene Levy, both of whom also act in the films. Guest’s films are largely improved by the actors, with the written material serving as an outline for the film’s story.

“Guffman” takes place in the fictional town of Blaine, Missouri—a small town that is celebrating its 150th anniversary. Big dreamer and New York Transplant, Corky St. Clair (Guest) has created a musical celebration of the town called “Red, White, and Blaine.” The show within the show appears towards the end of the film, Guest teamed up with his "Spinal Tap” cohorts, Michael McKean & Harry Shearer, …

Twelve-Nine-Three

Picture it! Scilly, 1922! OK, actually Andy Ross’s Childhood Bedroom 1993. I had been given as a gift the dream attachment for my beloved Sega Genesis, the amazing Sega CD. For those of you young children who have only grown up in the era of XBox and Playstation, it may seem strange that there was once a time when the idea of playing a video game off of a compact disc was mind blowing. But it was, and I was fully ready to have my mind blown. To use a slogan of Sega’s ads of the era, I was ready to enter “The Next Level.”

The Sega CD model I had was the second one, the smaller model designed to go with the slimmer Genesis that had been introduced to the market. I had the first Genesis, the larger one, but the Sega CD came with an extension block that allowed it to partner it on the original model. You attached the Sega CD to your Genesis by a special connector on the side of system. The Sega CD came with a game to get you going, as was the norm with gaming systems at the time. The game …