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Christmas wish list

This column has been devoted before to my favorite Christmas presents of all time, including BB guns, toy planes, Tonka toys, erector sets and Lincoln logs.

I’ve developed a new wish list, and remember the names have been changed to protect the innocent:

Stop lights that help the flow of traffic rather than impede it.

 Express lanes that are just that, express lanes;

 Convenience stores that are actually convenient;

 Litter laws that are actually enforced.

Mind you, these are general observations and not aimed at specific stores or businesses that I try to patronize as much as possible, or to the appropriate agencies that do everything in their power to catch litterbugs.

These seem to be pet peeves of just about every columnist I’ve ever read, and a lot of people I talk with daily.

But, let’s not be negative, after all this is the Christmas season, where much is forgiven.

It takes much more energy and effort to be negative than positive, and we forget sometimes we’re not robots, rather people with imperfections galore.

That is brought so much more into focus at this time of year when a lot of us are hustling and bustling to find the elusive and perfect Christmas gift.

My parents were always one step ahead of their sons when it came to storing away gifts out of sight before the big day, but one time it almost backfired.

It seems Christmas that year came on a Monday, and the gifts my mom and dad had stored upstairs of their business and away from my inquisitive eyes were put in the trunk of the family car Saturday night, there to stay until my brother and I went to bed Christmas Eve.

It so happened at church on Christmas Eve the family car had a flat tire.

No, my dad — to my knowledge — did not utter any expletives — “Army talk” as I used to put it — when finding the flat, but he did have a bigger problem, keeping his sons away from the trunk when he opened it to fetch the spare tire.

As the story goes, my father managed to keep us away from the trunk of the car, or Christmas would have come a day early for both of us.

That could have been a “Christmas Story” moment, where Ralphie uttered the most infamous dirty word in childhood history, and anyone who has seen the movie knows what that word is.

My mother, on the other hand, could only shake her head at the stunt my brother and I pulled the year we got hold of a watch that glowed in the dark.

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for two anxious and sleep-deprived boys.

We shared a bedroom at that time, and one of us wore the wristwatch to bed to keep track of time, knowing we weren’t allowed to get to our presents in the living room until 5:30 a.m.

At the appointed time, we awoke and quietly made our way past our parents’ bedroom to the living room and our Christmas pot of gold.

“Click” went my flashlight, and I had maybe 10 seconds to see what Santa had brought before the overhead light came on, my mother standing with arms crossed and giving us that look mothers have when they were more tired and disappointed than angry.

“Go back to bed, it’s not time to get up,” she said, prompting a look at my watch, upside down on my wrist that actually read 2:30 a.m., meaning another three hours of agony before getting a chance to return to the scene of the crime. 

I’m sure all of you have similar memories of Christmas, and I hope they’re all good.