My mom finally gave up on my ass. Around the time I was growing skeptical about a fat man in a red suit’s ability to traverse an entire globe delivering gifts to children, I also discovered that the already-delivered presents under the tree’s contents were actually very easy to access. I mean, if one was careful enough – the flimsy Scotch tape could be deftly pulled aside juuuuuuuust enough to peek at was underneath. But, a seasoned safe-cracker I was not. Paper would tear, the tape would lose some stickiness, doubling up another fresh piece would prove to be evidence of my crime. And rewrapping the entire thing was completely out of the question. I was caught. Numerous times. My mother’s only option was to hide my loot elsewhere. She tried her bedroom closet. Nope – found ’em. The basement – too easy. There was even talk of cancelling the whole thing indefinitely!!! She’s a smart woman – so the trunk of the car was the only option left. Foiled!
To this day, she never places any gifts under the tree.
My favorite part of Christmas morning was, and still is, the fat stocking I get – Yeah, I still get a stocking. Pistachios, assorted nuts, M&M’s, an apple, an orange, candy canes from Hammond’s, and my favorite – Chapstick. All sorts of great shit.
I have a love for Christmas like no other holiday. I have the Andy Williams Christmas Album in heavy rotation all year long. It makes me happy. It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is my favorite song – ever. If this song doesn’t get you happy as fuck – you worship Satan.
My mom got some reprieve from my Santa Claus doubt when KWGN (That’s channel 2 for you transplants) had a program where they would resolve this dilemma.
Mom: “Hello. Why YES! He is here”
Me: (thinking) wtf? I’m 8. no one calls me.
Mom: Eric! Someone’s on the phone for you!
Mom: Come here – someone wants to talk to you!
Me: (thinking) wtf? school’s out?! why is school calling me? How am I in trouble when fucking school is out?
Deep Voiced Jolly Someone: HEEEEEEELLLLLLLOOOO ERIC! HO HO HO!!!
Me: *gulp* um…hello
DVJS: IT’S SANTA CLAUS!!! I’M JUST CHECKING IN TO MAKE SURE YOU’VE BEEN A GOOD BOY THIS YEAR – HO HO HO!!
Me: (WTF!!!) (DOES THIS MOTHERFUCKER KNOW ME???) um…hello santa. yes sir, yes, I’ve been very good this year (gulp) (lies)
DVJS: WELL, THAT’S FINE, JUST FINE MY BOY. HO HO HO!!! I’LL MAKE SURE AND VISIT YOU ON CHRISTMAS EVE – MAKE SURE TO HAVE PLENTY OF COOKIES AND MILK FOR ME, AND A CARROT FOR RUDOLPH…HO HO HO!!!
Me: (gulp) yes, yes…of course santa!
Mom: (smiling nervously)
Yeah, it worked for a time. She got me again.
This coming Monday I’ll be talking with Richard Hammons the chef/owner of Five Star to You, Elizabeth Sammuri, sommelier of The Flagstaff House Restaurant, and Brandon Foster, executive chef of Project Angel Heart.
I’m interested in what the holiday’s mean to them and how they convey their own experiences to their guests. What recipes, wine pairings, and drink ideas do they have for our listeners? What personal touches do they extend to make these special occasions memorable? Is it tough being away from their loved ones? And more importantly, how are they touching the lives of those without the abundance that most of us experience year-round?
I hope you tune in.
I love you.