In the spirit of Christmas I’ll share my favorite story. This happened several years ago and it was truly my favorite “Christmas Vacation” story. First let me preface this with the names have been changed to protect the innocent and second this took place in Louisiana. People in Louisiana are very festive and love an excuse for a party. So now sit back with your cup of peppermint schnapps laced hot cocoa and your gingerbread cookies and enjoy.
One time a long time ago there was a couple name DeWayne and Peggy Sue. They lived in a nice ranch style house in a nice little neighborhood. They were empty nesters in that all of their children had grown up and moved away. They were a happy out going couple who enjoyed the great out doors. They had a comfortable home with a large hound dog named Boudreaux and a calico Cat named Monet. Their neighbors were the type who went all out on the holiday decorations. You know the kind in fact you may be one of them. The ones who have to call the airport control tower and tell them to reroute the planes that think their front yard is a runway because of all the lights. They are the ones who put up 50 bazillion decorations for each and every holiday from the biggest to the most insignificant. They put the decorations up once and then just change the color of lights to fit the season. They change the Santa Clause alligator sitting in the purple and gold sleigh from Santa to the King of Mardi Gras then to the Easter Bunny to Uncle Sam to the Great Pumpkin and on and on.
Peggy Sue and DeWayne didn’t want to be out done so they spent days stringing lights from tree to tree and lining their drive and walkways with thousands of lights. They put up cut out wooden decorations designed and painted by Peggy Sue and built by DeWayne. Now I need to tell you that Peggy Sue and DeWayne loved the baby Jesus but they drank a bit. Okay they drank a lot in fact if it were an Olympic sport they would have both been gold medalist in the spirit of Michael Phelps. So their decorating job was a more of an alcohol induced hallucination rather than a preplanned well thought out execution. When it came time to plug it all in and light the lights they found that they could not connect the strands of lights to the extension cord to plug into the outlet. They had strung the lights female end to female end therefore making it impossible to connect the strands. They had to start from scratch and re-do all of the 50 bazillion strings all the while cussing and discussing how that had happened in the first place. They finally had the electrical wire river flowing downstream with male to female and went to plug the whole mess into the outlet. The lights lit up and sparkled and shone and then there was the smell of ozone burning and sparks popping and it all went dark. DeWayne went to the breaker box flipped some switches on and off sent sparks flying once again and gave up and had a beer. He picked up the phone and called Bubba, his friend who claimed to know about electricity, and waited for him to arrive.
Bubba rounded the corner in his camouflaged four wheel drive ducks unlimited pick up truck and climbed down the 50 feet from the cab. He spat a big plug of tobacco and sidled up next to DeWayne and said “Whyat seems to be da trouble cher?” DeWayne explained his situation and then demonstrated by flipping breakers and stepped away from the breaker box for the master to work his magic. Bubba pulled out a screwdriver and looked at Dewayne and said “Ifin you want me to fix dis you had best get me a beer.” DeWayne did as he was told as Bubba pulled this and screwed that and eventually an empty spot in the breaker box became dedicated to the 50 bazillion lights. Peggy Sue jumped up and down for joy clapping and giggling careful not to spill her drink while one by one the lights twinkled and the decorations moved up and down.
Peggy Sue walked over to DeWayne and Bubba and said “Now you boys need to go fetch me a tree. I want a really big, full, beautiful tree one dat will put dose neighbors to shame. You fetch me a tree and I’ll put on a pot of Gumbo, make a pitcher of Hurricanes and we’ll have us a tree trimming party.” The boys smiled and nodded and climbed into the big ole truck and tore off down the road. Now you or I would go to the local tree farm or the Christmas tree lot in the K-Mart parking lot but not Bubba and DeWayne. They decided to get Peggy Sue the biggest, greenest tree they could find. They knew they weren’t going to find it in any old city lot. Instead they needed to head out to the country, which of course meant another twelve pack of Jax beer. They drove along the country roads along the swamps and bayous looking for just the right tree. Then there on the railroad right of way they spotted it. It was the perfect tree. It was a big spruce tree with full branches and that beautiful blue green foliage that would be perfect in Peggy Sue’s living room. Bubba jumped down from his truck and grabbed his chartreuse Poulan chainsaw. DeWayne walked over to the tree and sized it up. “Hey Bubba, I think this one is a two beer tree. It sure is a big’un Pegs is gonna love it.” Bubba fired up the chainsaw with blue smoke billowing and the chainsaw buzzing got to work bringing down the spruce. They wrangled the big tree into the back of Bubba’s truck, tied it down so it wouldn’t blow out and headed down the road. DeWayne never thought about the fact that Bubba’s truck bed was only 7 feet long and the tree was hanging about 6 feet past that, nor did he think about the fact his living room ceiling was only 8 feet high. These thoughts never entered his beer pickled brain he was just happy he had gotten such a big beautiful tree for his little Peggy Sue.
Bubba and DeWayne pulled up to the house and Peggy Sue came out to see her big beautiful tree. She watched them pull it out of the back of the truck and stand it next to the garage. “DeeWayne,” Peggy squealed “It’s beautiful, but cher I think it’s a little too big to fit tru da door. I dink you need to trim some of da branches so it will fit.” That was all the encouragement they needed to fire up the Poulans and go to work. They trimmed and cut. They shortened and groomed until finally with a lot of sweat and push they could get it through the sliding patio door and into the living room. Peggy grabbed a big pot filled it with water and set the trunk into it. Bubba and Dewayne then built a stand to hold it upright and in place. There was much merriment singing of carols as well as drinking of beer and jelly jar glasses of Hurricanes. They strung lights through out the tree and fished ornaments out of boxes brought down from the attic. Extension ladders were erected and a star was gingerly unwrapped from its packaging. All the while Boudreaux and Monet watched wide eyed and patient. DeWayne climbed the ladder and was teetering on the very top in order to reach that top branch. Peggy Sue handed Bubba the big silver star who then handed it up to DeWayne.
Just as Dewayne placed the star on the very top branch Boudreaux began barking and howling. Monet, who was quite a hunter, sprang from her perch on the sofa directly into the tree. The next thing the little party heard was what sounded like a lioness taking down a water buffalo. Then a big fluffy tailed tree squirrel flew out of the tree and landed on DeWayne’s chest. Startled and tipsy DeWayne teetered backward on the ladder but Bubba reacted as fast as he could and caught both his friend and the ladder. The squirrel scared and disoriented clung to DeWayne’s shirt like he was drowning and it was his lifeline. Peggy Sue bolted forward broom in hand and began beating DeWayne and the Squirrel. Bubba was trying to steady both DeWayne and the ladder while fending off Peggy Sue’s broom. Monet not being ready to give up on the hunt jumped out of the huge tree onto DeWayne. It was too much what with the broom beating, the squirrel clinging and the cat attacking; Boudreaux could not sit silent any longer. He let out a sorrowful howl and leapt towards the ruckus. He threw himself high and right in the center of the group which caused Peggy Sue to drop the broom and fall backwards. Bubba was no longer able to hold on to his friend and the ladder. The cat found purchase not in the squirrel but in DeWayne. DeWayne grabbed the squirrel and flung it across the room but it was too late. The ladder had tipped too far and instead of falling out from the tree DeWayne over compensated and fell into the tree. It was too late the domino effect had ran it’s course and the finale was when the huge tree fell through the big front picture window taking DeWayne with it. DeWayne looked up from the shattered glass through the broken branches of the spruce to see all of his neighbors standing in the street watching the whole fiasco.
DeWayne drug his battered bloody body out of the wreckage as Peggy climbed through the window with Bubba on her heels. They looked at each other then at the neighbors and grabbed hands and took a bow just as Monet and Boudreaux chased the squirrel out into the wonderland of lights. Then in their drunken slurred Cajun accent all three said “Merry Christmas to y’all and to y’all a goodnight.” The end
Iris. With some fava beans and a nice Chianti.
7 hours ago