Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Year We Saw Santa......

Let me begin by explaining something: My father is a 'Toon. Remember "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"? Characters like Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote are living actors. 'Toons just usually live in 'Toon ghettos where people like us (who are Born, not Drawn) rarely see them. But some 'Toons are drawn so realistically that they can 'pass' as Born people. My father is one such.

I know my Dad is a 'Toon because at least once a year he falls off the roof of a house. And like Wile E., he somehow magically pops back into shape and carries on with nary an ER visit once the birdies stop circling his head. I know he's a 'Toon because he has injured himself with every type of power tool there is, including a chain saw AND a lawn mower, and never received more than an interesting scar out of the deal. I know he's a 'Toon because he's passed the gene on: My nephew once ignited the hair-spray fuel of his potato launcher into his face  (seriously? that phrase belongs exclusively to 'Toon families), leaving him browless and smoking but otherwise uninjured.

There are probably more 'Toons that 'pass' than we realize. YOU might even be a 'Toon and not know it. If you think stilts are a reasonable alternative to walking on the ground, you might be a 'Toon. If you've ever asked a doctor to remove your LAST set of stitches while she is putting in your CURRENT set, you might be a 'Toon. If you can ride a unicycle, well.....sorry, sweet daughter. I can't help my gene pool and I swear I didn't mean to propagate the gene.

What follows is an entirely true 'Toon Family Christmas story.

One magical Christmas Eve, after returning with three kids from midnight mass, my parents tucked us in, and began their annual Santa's-Workshop-in-the-Living-Room event. The gifts that year included a three-piece aluminum kitchen set for me, with an appalling amount of tab A/slot B style construction. My brothers' gifts had some similar degree of engineering complexity, and they worked from after midnight to nearly four AM getting everything constructed, wrapped, and hung in stockings or placed under and around the tree. The beauty of the lights, tree, and gifts always far exceeded anything imagined by Martha Stewart.  My parents were the Masters of Christmas.

Exhausted, they fell into bed. Just as they were closing their eyes........drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.

It was a warmer than usual Christmas Eve. The snow was two feet deep on the roof and there was a rack of beautiful six-foot-long icicles hanging from the roof of my parents bedroom. A lake of water had developed on the roof, unable to drain off because the ice was acting as a dam, holding the melting snow in place. The icy water? Leaking through the roof, straight to my Dad's forehead. No 'Toon takes this lying down!

Leaping snarling from his bed and shoving his Christmas-pajama-clad self into big winter boots, he climbed to the roof behind our bedroom windows with a shovel and began chopping at the ice. Hearing the noise, we children arrived at the windows just in time to see SOMETHING go flying off the roof! Red suit! Santa! WE SAW SANTA!!!

We had frantic whispering match as to whether or not it was safe to go down. After all, Santa mustn't know we saw him! Our parents had always made it very clear that if Santa ever caught us spying he would leave, and take our presents with him!

While we were debating, my Dad was having a Full 'Toon Moment.

He'd fallen off the roof, of course. And he fell for the finest of 'Toon reasons. He was standing ON THE ICE. While he was chopping away, a twelve-inch section detached, and he rode those gigantic icicles into six feet of wet snow. And all the water and slush that had been dammed up behind that ice? Picture Wile E. looking up at that descending anvil. Substitute a thousand gallons of ice water, funneled directly onto Dad's head in a foot-wide stream. Take a moment to enjoy your mental picture of my Dad as 'Toonsicle.

My drenched and frozen father struggled out of the snow and ran for the house. He shivered his way into dry pajamas about ten seconds before we kids came barreling down the stairs, screaming incoherently about our Santa Sighting. 'Toons are nothing if not quick with a clothing change.

My mom simply shrugged and put the coffee on. After all, she'd been married to a 'Toon for years.


No comments:

Post a Comment