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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas At Grandmas

When I was young we would spend Christmas on my Grandmother’s farm. Every year. It was a long drive. Every year, in the middle of the night, we would load up in the station wagon, the back filled with boxes, suitcases, food, piled until dad could hardly see the road behind us.
 
My two older sisters and I would set in the back seat. We fought until we had pushed our parents to the brink of madness. Sometimes we went a little too far. One year we did, and my oldest sister was sentenced to a term in the front seat. Sitting between mom and dad, and listening to them talk about the years.
 
My other sister and I sat quietly, not wanting to be exiled to the cargo hold. Being compressed between boxes and the cooler was a stiff punishment. We looked, quietly out the windows. Watching the passing, monotonous miles, the endless small towns, the pastures, brown and bland, all zipping past in a tragic tableau of dullness, we felt trapped.
 
Dad was passing a truck. Filthy, grey, streaked, and rusty, the sign for Salty Crackers barely legible, it wheezed, groaned and fought for every mile. And we flew past it. We all smiled.
 
We were just about ready to move into the lane in front of the old, tired cracker truck when a sleek, sophisticated little space ship flew past us and shot the truck with a laser beam. Pieces of the truck went everywhere. Flames shot up hundreds of feet, and the noise was terrific. Our car was buffeted by the wind.
 
“Damn it,” dad said, “hold my beer.”
 
"look, it's a Christmas Alien"
My sister took the beer in both hands, and quickly drained the can. My other sister looked at me and said “son of a bitch, I wish they would have put me in the front seat. “ I nodded in agreement.
 
The sky was filled with zipping, buzzing little ships, shooting up cars, road signs and mailboxes. Mom grabbed a stick of dynamite from the glove box, light it on her Pall Mall cigarette and threw it out of her window.
 
Dad double clutched, down shifted and floored the Pontiac. We went flying around a line of cars. Dad was swerving, and weaving between the exploding traffic, and the enormous craters, noise, smoke and chaos everywhere. I took the opportunity to punch my sister in the arm. Nobody would notice. She put me in a chokehold until I blacked out.
 
When I woke up we were pulling into Grandma’s farm, she was feeding her chickens and walked over to hug my mom. We told her about the running battle with the aliens.
 
“Oh, they are really bad this year,” she said.