December COM: Christmas Magic
|This picture has nothing to do with James Bond or snowballs. It is, however, the inside of my brother's Christmas tree. So, you know, it's seasonal. And stuff.|
We idled behind a rotting hay stack, peering through the fog and snow. Waiting. I had a
pile of snowballs on the snowmobile in front of me. My husband let the engine splutter
off so we wouldn't give our position away. But he kept one hand on the key, the other on
the accelerator so we could leap out the minute his little sister and her husband peeled
into view, and pile-drive them with snowballs. It was just after Christmas, and we were
in the middle of a wicked snowball fight in the field between my husband's parent's and grandparent's houses. It was one in the morning and we were winning.
Bruce had that psychotic glint in his eye; the one he gets when someone challenges
him to something on his own turf and makes the naive assertion that they might win.
Mwa haha! Bruce will wear them down into tiny little nubs of their former selves. It was,
after all, only by his sheer determination that the rattle-trap blue-light-special snowmobiles on which we had been schussing the snow were even running. Those babies weren't snowmobiles so much as 10 billion rust molecules holding hands. Whose solidarity was fueled by a middle-aged man reliving his glory days as a James Bondian ice-ball sharp-shooter and driver of sexy vehicles. (You can see why I became his little Bond-girl.)
We waited, then waited some more. Somewhere out there Bruce's sister and her
lawyerly husband--whose plotting skills are legendary (I used to pick my kids up from
playing with their cousins and find them painted red and white--the enemy football
team's colors. A team my evil lawyer brother-in-law heartily supports in the face of
everyone else in the family. But that's another post and possibly a law-suit)--were
skulking. Oh yes. They were skulking. That's what you do in the fog and snow in the
middle of the night.
And then raoooowwwwrrrrrrr! There they were. Oozing out of the mist like some sort
of two-headed nightmare wraith. On motorized skis. Wearing parkas. The little one on the back screaming at the big one on the front not to kill them. My husband cackled (he does that) and simultaneously turned the key, slammed the accelerator forward, and howled a battle cry. I nearly fell off as we leapt right across their wake, startling the living shortcake out of them as well (a very satisfying thing for me, as I never manage to startle so much as a cookie crumb out of anyone most of the time.)
Bruce gave the order to fire, and I launched our entire supply of snowballs at them, hitting Angie smack on the back of the head. (You have no idea how shocking that was. Ordinarily I can't hit the broad side of pretty much anything. And Angie didn't then, and doesn't now, have anything resembling a broad side.)
We made a few more passes until our nemeses gave up. And I'm sure it had nothing to
do with the way my husband was standing in the snowmobile beating his chest.
Okay, okay. They got us pretty good too. But I still think we won. In the end though,
it didn't matter. It was Christmas holiday. We were at grandma's house with all the
cousins and in-laws. There was fresh pie on the counter (nestled in my father-in-law's
epic pie crust) and kids snuggled and sugar-plum'ed in their wee beds. Magical? Oh
I sure wish I knew what power it is that Christmas has to transform life into something
beautiful and peaceful and warm, no matter what is actually going on. We need to
bottle it and sell it so we can pull it out of our pocket and take a whiff whenever we start feeling stressed and bothered. I mean a little christmas-tree-cinnamon-mulled-cider-chestnuts-roasting-on-an-open-fire-wicked-awesome-snowball-fight washing over me always smiles me right up, no matter what. The Spirit of Christmas is a palpable thing.
How 'bout you? What Christmas memories do you have that you'd like to bottle and