2007.12.27 An alternative Christmas

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

I feel like the luckiest woman in America right now. Maybe it’s only because I am easy to please (OK, I know several members of my family would disagree with that statement. OK, ALL of the members of my family would disagree), but I am just so happy that I have the family I have and that they are so accommodating.

I waited until the last minute to decide if we were going up north to ski instead of having a traditional Christmas at home. I’m glad I did because the weather prediction for the day we would have left sounded pretty awful and I hate being on the road during adverse weather.

Whiteouts, four to seven inches of snow, high winds—it just didn’t seem worth it to brave that kind of weather when everybody would have been just as content to stay home.

The problem with deciding at the last minute is that my backup plan did not involve the kind of gifts that would elicit shouts of joy on Christmas morning. My backup plan involved wrapping up gifts from years past...and tucking money inside them.

And, other than a few little things, I totally forgot about stocking stuffers. My plan was to buy them Sunday after we picked up Ben at the airport in Toledo and ate lunch and before we went to watch the just released movie, Juno.

But Ben’s plane was delayed an hour and a half, service was slow at the restaurant, and the closest theatre showing the movie was in Southgate, 49 miles from Toledo.

Rozee had pointed out we could wait until later in the week when Juno would be showing in Toledo, and David hinted at the folly of driving so far for a movie, but I was hell-bent on seeing it Sunday.

I wanted to welcome Ben home with something special—lunch at our family’s favorite restaurant, Jing Chuan—and a movie that had received four out of four stars and five out of five stars, depending on the reviewer.

And, heck, we would have traveled 246 miles up north, so what was a mere 49?

Well, in the time it took to travel to Southgate and back, I could have bought some nifty stocking stuffers. Instead, my children suffered through fishing lures and   tiny Christmas tree erasers, pencil sharpeners and magnets, dorky barrettes made with bright red and green Christmas ribbons and other items scavenged from what could be called The Bookshelf of Unwanted Presents because I sure found a lot of stocking stuffers and a selection of “re-gifts” there.

Usually, on Christmas morning, our kids wake up at the crack of dawn, locate their stockings, jump on our bed to wake us up, and eagerly rummage through their stockings.

This year, they slept in. I was overjoyed since I’d been up late as usual wrapping presents and stuffing stockings. This year, when early-riser David climbed back in bed at 8 a.m. expecting the kids to come pouncing soon, they still hadn’t awakened. When I awoke again around 10, they were still sleeping.

“Maybe we should go jump on them and wake them up,” David suggested. It’s not often I get a chance to wake anybody up so I was game—and, boy, were they surprised.

But not as surprised as I was when Ben spilled the beans.

We were in the middle of saying goodbye to the Begnoches a couple of nights before Christmas when my three children, standing off to the side by the Christmas tree, started laughing.

“What? What’s so funny?” I asked.

“Ben just told Maddie what he got her for Christmas,” said Rozee.

“Ben!” I said with mock shock.

“No, I didn’t,” he said. “I just told her what it started with.”

“‘Wah?’” I asked, pronouncing the first syllable of her gift.

He shook his head “yes.”

“That’s just like telling her!” I accused.

Rozee and I already knew that he had gotten her a watch. Now Maddie did, too.

I wasn’t really upset. No, the fiercest disagreements around our house go something like this:

“Who put the toilet paper on wrong?” I complain.

“What’s wrong?” asks Rozee. “I hung it the way I thought I should.”

“In our house?” I yell. “In our house we always hang it so it comes over the top.”

“Look, Rozee,” Maddie says, slightly exasperated. She demonstrates on the toilet paper roll, “You spin it around and it’s easier to find it, easier to rip it.”

“Aren’t I lucky, Maddie, that I don’t care which way it hangs?” asks Rozee. “Then I’ll never be disappointed when it’s not on ‘right.’”

That’s a handy attitude to have around our house on Christmas morning.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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