Hi everyone, I know it’s been a while since I last posted on here, but I hope you’ve been having an enchanting winter wherever you may be. The last few months have had a lot of ups and downs for me, and I just haven’t been getting as much writing done as I need to. Hopefully, I can make up for it just a little bit today by sharing my latest magazine article with you. With the holidays right around the corner I’m going to once again jump on the bandwagon, run right over Thanksgiving, and tell you a Christmas story.
The Christmas Lights Calamity
“Does that look straight to y’all’? Dad called down from the roof of the house, holding up a string of Christmas lights.
“Maybe a bit higher,” Corey answered from the yard.
It was an exciting day at the Dickens household. Every year my brothers and I would beg our parents to hang Christmas lights, and every year they’d yell “Bah humbug!” and crush the dreams of their innocent children. However, all of our pestering had finally worn the Scrooges down, and at long last our twinkling Christmas dream was coming true.
Leaning an old wooden ladder against the house, Mom and Dad had climbed to the roof. Being a man of profound wisdom, Dad had concocted a masterful plan to safely hang the lights. Taking a length of rope, he’d tied one end around his waist and the other end around Mom’s. The plan was that they’d stay on opposite sides of the roof’s peak and act as counter weights to each other in case one of them slipped.
Dad tacked down the cord and walked carefully across the roof to retrieve another string of lights. Reaching into a box labeled, Tina’s Christmas Junk, he grabbed a cord and pulled, and all the lights came out in a tangled mess. After muttering something probably unsavory under his breath he said, “I don’t know why we’re hanging lights on a house a mile off the main road.”
“So Santa Claus can see where to land,” I called up to him excitedly.
Jerking on the giant ball of lights Dad replied, “Naw, it’s so Santa’s chunky, old butt can just do a fly by and drop a ton of coal for you boys. It’s sorta like a Naughty List Air Strike.”
I turned to my oldest brother, BJ, and asked, “Why’s Santa bring coal for naughty kids”?
BJ furrowed his brow in contemplation for a moment then answered, “Parents use the coal to burn their youngest child as a warning to their other kids.”
“BJ! Stop lying to your brother!” Mom shouted. Then she bared her teeth in a wicked smile and continued, “Everyone knows you burn the oldest. They’re the instigators.”
My brothers and I cackled with laughter while Dad was still angrily yanking on cords. The lights were wrapped around his arms and dangling around his legs in a knotted mess.
“Y’all stop goofing around,” Dad ranted. “I’m trying to be festive and spread some stupid cheer here!”
Losing all patience he started jerking harder on the snarled cables and cursing through gritted teeth, “Stupid piece of humpty…”
His rants were cut off with a sharp yelp as he tripped over the dangling Christmas lights. He stumbled a few steps before losing his balance. He hit the roof hard and immediately began sliding down the slope. His safety rope jerked taut, but unfortunately for Dad, physics were not on his side. During his planning he’d forgotten to take this simple equation into account:
1 Tina Dickens = roughly ½ Jeff Dickens
As the rope snapped taut Mom was wrenched forward. Her feet shot out from under her, and she half rolled, half ramped over the peak of the roof. Dad’s slide was slowed but not stopped as he skidded down the incline in a screaming mass of flailing limbs and tangled lights. He flew feet-first off the edge of the roof but somehow managed to drop directly onto the ladder.
His feet crashed straight through the top step, and the old wooden ladder sounded like it was being run through a wood chipper as Dad’s weight propelled him downward, shattering every step along the way. He slammed into the ground amongst a storm of dust and falling splinters and laid sprawled out on his back, silent and still. After the space of a long breath, the two side of the broken ladder slid slowly from the ledge and fell to either side of him.
A lot of panicking and yelling ensued. Mom had managed to catch herself before following her husband off the roof, and after seeing Dad lying unconscious in the yard she quickly ordered BJ to call Pawpaw for help while Corey and I to fetched her an undestroyed ladder.
By the time we got Mom safely down from the roof Dad was just beginning to stir awake, and we all squatted around him as he blinked dazedly at the sky.
“Jeff, are you okay? Can you move everything”? Mom asked fear tinging her voice.
Dad wiggled his feet and gave a small, pained nod of his head. Our relief was almost palpable, and most of the tension drained from all of us. Leaning over Dad, I brushed some splinters out of his hair and gave him a toothy grin, “I guess this means no Christmas lights again.”
Dad stared blankly at me for a long moment before turning slowly to look up at Mom. He placed a trembling hand on her arm and in a soft, shaky voice said, “Tina, if I don’t make it, burn the boy. Burn him with coal.”
Well, I hope you enjoyed the story today. If you are new to my stuff feel free to peruse the archives of the blog to checkout some of my older stories. You can also like me on Facebook by following the link in the top menu of this page. And hey, do you want to do me a big favor? Go share this story on Facebook or other social media site for all your friends to see. If enough of you share I might become rich and famous one day and maybe like get to play tennis with Oprah or something else pointlessly impressive like that. I could so take her. So go share!