All I need for Christmas

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I guess I made a pretty good haul this Christmas.

A few things were missing from my wish list, even though really, I’d have been content with nothing since I have pretty much everything I need. Like ZZ Top sang so eloquently, “I Ain’t Askin’ for Much …”

Sure, I could’ve used another of those as-seen-on-TV “My Pillows.” I was given one over a year ago and, unlike the cheap ones I’d replace each month, it’s barely lost its original shape and the romantic dream drool hasn’t dampened its resiliency.

I had dropped hints of a new microwave since my filthy one, after years of heavy use, has begun to whistle while cooking my delicious Marie Callendar dinners. And frankly, a badly-needed, full kitchen stove would have been the perfect gift since the one that came with the townhouse I bought in ’83 only has one functional burner — a small front one.

Believe you me, it really complicates hosting a lavish dinner party with many invited guests and multiple entrees. Only one burner entails so much time, I’ve quit entertaining altogether. It’s just me, Ginger, and Marie.

As I said though, I don’t desire many material things and I’m perfectly happy with the work socks and coffee hut gift cards, etc. I did receive. I always say it’s more blessed to give than to receive, although I don’t think there’s any denying it’s much more expensive.

What mystifies me is the high-tech toys available for kids these days, which is unfortunate, really. I hurt for these indulged, yet cheated younguns. I fear today’s parents, working two jobs trying to keep up with the Joneses, fail to plug into what their tykes would truly appreciate — and I’m glad they don’t know what they’re missing.

One of my favorite gifts that comes to mind was an air-filled figurine of a man with a bulls-eye for a nose. The beauty of this punching bag was that no matter how hard you’d smack the rubber clown, he’d hop right back up to his painted-on feet.

I assume the sentiment behind this most-likely pricey gift was a dad hoping to teach his youngest boy self-defense skills to avoid the bullying that often accompanies big buck teeth. I loved it because — and call me a dreamer if you will — I aspired for a brief time to become a professional prize fighter.

Other cherished gifts were largely cowboy and hunting related. I recall a beautiful, sorrel stick-horse I rode up and down our dirt road for hours on end. If you’re unfamiliar with this ahead-of-its time concept, it was obviously a broom handle stick, but attached to a plastic, dead-ringer for a horse’s head with reins coming from a mouth bit; I even made the whinny and snorting noises as I rode.

I was always packing a Christmas gift set of six-shooter cap guns in diamond-studded holsters tied to each leg, much like Trampas from the Virginian. Clad in a red kerchief and straw cowboy hat cinched under my chin, I remember thinking, “Some day I’ll break horses on a ranch, chew tobacco and drive a flat-bed truck with a loyal dog pacing in the back before eventually falling to its death when a rabbit runs by.”

Another Christmas brought a battery-charged grizzly bear (this griz had the hump and everything) and a dart gun that was all the rage back then. Sliding a button to the on position sent that beast racing across the attic floor. Taking cover behind our huge attic radio and camouflaged by cobwebs, I would unload with rapid-fire, rubber-tipped darts that would stick on contact. When I connected — and I connected a lot — that enraged bruin would let out a frightening growl and actually reverse direction.

I didn’t have to dress it out, obviously — just leave it under the plywood ping pong table and go on another hunt in the morning. Ya know, they don’t make toys like that anymore. If kids today had any inkling of paddle-balls, Slinkys or pogo sticks, they’d throw their computers and video games right in the dumpster. It’s sad, really.

Merry late Christmas to all, and to all a good kite.

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