Karin Fuller: Sharing holiday tales

December 16, 2018

The past few weeks have me feeling put through the wringer, as I’m staying with Mom while Dad rehabilitates in a facility a half-hour away. While much of my work has been of the physical sort, the toll hasn’t been on my body.

I keep wishing I could just flip a switch on my brain and run on automatic — which is kind of what I’m doing today. Sharing holiday anecdotes provided by some of my friends.

Some parents go to the extreme to keep things fair at Christmas. My former Nitro High classmate, Leigh Shell-Thompson, has a mom who takes things to a beautiful extreme.

“My mother has always been obsessed with making things fair and equal,” wrote Leigh. “There are four of us, and she would always explain, ‘Well, it might LOOK like your brother received two more presents than you, but I can assure you, it’s even.’ ”

A few years ago, Leigh’s mom was fishing around for gift ideas, and Leigh told her she’d like a set of queen-size flannel sheets. Sure enough, when Leigh opened her presents that year, she found a set of flannel sheets.

“Along with a check for $73.82,” said Leigh. The exact amount her mom needed to spend to keep things equal among her children.

Parents are often required to be creative when it comes to fulfilling their children’s Christmas wishes.

“When I was about 8,” wrote Lynn Morris Butler, of Barboursville, “I really wanted a Little Red Spinning Wheel for Christmas. But the stores were completely sold out.”

Fortunately, her Santa was clever. He left Lynn a note, apologizing sincerely for having run out of the spinning wheels and promising to bring one as soon as he could.

“Some time later,” wrote Lynn, “I don’t know if it was weeks or months, but we woke up one Saturday morning and Santa had been there! Of course, he’d had to bring extra gifts for my brother and sister, but that was quite a memorable Christmas for me.”

Bob Humphrey shared about a time when playing Santa proved to be more of a challenge than he anticipated.

When Bob’s boys were little, he told them he was going out to get cigarettes, but actually sneaked out to put on a Santa suit he had borrowed. Once dressed, he tossed a basketball onto the roof, so the boys would think there were reindeer.

“Then I tapped on the frosty storm door,” wrote Bob, “and the boys rubbed the frost off the glass and saw Santa and went running through the house yelling that Santa was outside.”

Bob was walking away, thinking he had pulled it off, when he heard the door burst open. The boys were in full pursuit!

“I ran around the house, but they were gaining on me because my Santa britches had fallen down to my ankles.”

The boys caught up with him on his neighbor’s driveway, and he was thinking the Santa cat was about to be out of the bag.

“To my surprise,” wrote Bob, “they just gave me a big hug and ran back into the house.”

He went back to his truck, changed into his regular dad clothes again, and drove home.

“When I got there, they were bouncing off the walls,” Bob said. “They said Santa had been on the roof, and they chased him down and give him a hug. Then they said they watched him walk down the street and drive off in a black Corvette.”

Bob drove a truck.

Nancy Strickland, of Charleston, shared about a time when her daughter, a professional photographer, used six live Christmas trees in her outdoor photo sessions. Once she was finished shooting, she gave the trees to family members.

The weather had turned cold, freezing the water in the tree stands, but that seemed a non-issue, as once the ice thawed, they believed it would merely water the tree.

Nancy’s daughter and her family were visiting and brought the tree inside and helped decorate it, and then stayed the night. Since the house was crowded, the kids slept on a mattress on the living room floor.

In the middle of the night, the adults heard cries for help. “The Christmas tree is on top of me!” Believing it was only a dream, it took more yelling before they were fully awake.

It turned out that once the ice in the tree stand had melted, the tree became unstable and flopped onto the sleeping kids.

“This is a special memory for us,” wrote Nancy. “We still laugh about it every year.”

And finally, I made the mistake of texting my boyfriend and asking him to share his favorite Christmas memory.

“Actually, the most amazing thing that ever happened to me was the Christmas when I was about 9,” wrote Don. “I found an old top hat that had apparently belonged to a magician. It blew down the street and landed in front of me, so I used it on this snowman I was making. Figured it would look cool. Darned if that thing didn’t come to life and start talking to me. I kid you not.”

Karin Fuller can be reached via email at karinfuller@gmail.com.

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