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CHRISTMAS WITH AUNT ALICE AND THE PINEAPPLE

You could say the trajectory to that strange Christmas Eve began on the Saturday before, when Mother and Father took us to Wanamaker’s in Philadelphia. There were five of us, counting my two little brothers and me, and we were there on our yearly trek to see the renowned Wanamaker’s Christmas tree and hear Christmas music played by a live orchestra.  

After the concert, we wandered around the store, admiring the decorations. Mother was especially taken by the centerpiece on one of the tables in the furniture department. There, a pineapple, resplendent in a coating of golden spray paint, nestled on a platter filled with fresh pine boughs and sparkling ornaments.

“Oh, isn’t that lovely,” exclaimed Mother.

“I think it’s stupid,” said Father. Father was usually a cheerful person, full of jokes and funny stories, but that day he was grumpy, facing the prospect of having to eat lunch in Wanamaker’s Mezzanine Restaurant, where, as he put it, “They only have lady food.” 

Mother rolled her eyes at me like she did sometimes, now that I was thirteen, and apparently had been admitted into the Sisterhood of Aren’t Men Silly. I rolled my eyes back at her, straightened my shoulders, and stood straight and proud. 

Mother worked feverishly all that week to prepare for the holiday and finally, on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, we all decorated the tree. In those days in our house, the tree was brought into the house on Christmas Eve and not a day before. Father would spend hours groaning, shouting, and trying not to curse as he secured the tree to the walls. You read that correctly. Father was sure that the tree would escape its confines when left to its own devices, wreaking havoc, and so would place it in a corner and tether it to each wall with nails and the thickest string he could find. Only then could our tree, safely restrained, be adorned. 

The tradition was that we would listen to Christmas carols as we all performed our assigned decorating duties. Finally, Father would finish with gobs of silver tinsel and, with a flourish, turn on the lights. After the “oohs” and “aahs” died down, we would head to the dining room for Christmas Eve dinner.

That’s how things usually went. On this particular Christmas Eve, though, as we were filing into the dining room, a loud shriek emanated from the direction of the kitchen. 

“Oh, SSSSSHIP!” 

Mother shot Father a look. “Aunt Alice.” she said.

I should have mentioned that my Great Aunt Alice was visiting. She was extremely old and, on holidays, came to stay with us. We kids loved Aunt Alice. She was funny, though not always intentionally so, told us fabulous stories which she made up herself, and she loved to curse. This was a great learning experience as I saw it. However, my parents had recently had a discussion with Aunt Alice about this behavior. I listened in, rooting for Aunt Alice, and it went like this:

Father said, “There are children here, Aunt Alice. Think of the children.”

“But you curse, and you’re my favorite nephew,” Aunt Alice replied.

Father countered with, “Look, Aunt Alice, that’s different. I’m a man, and I was in the Navy during the War.”

Aunt Alice, voice rising, shot back, “Oh, come on. What a crock of—”

“Stop!” yelled Father.

“POOP,” Aunt Alice screamed. “I was going to say POOP.”

Mother chimed in, “That was better, Alice. Crude, but better.” Then she swooped in for the finish.  “Alice, Dear, you are so creative! Why, all those stories you tell, I’m sure you will have no trouble coming up with interesting things to say when you’re upset. If you want to keep coming here to be with us and the children, that is. It’s completely up to you.”

“Dag blig it,” said Aunt Alice.

So on that night, hearing that strange cry, Father rushed in the direction of the sound and we all followed. I, for one, hoped it meant a ship was visible from our kitchen window, though we lived nowhere near a body of water. That would have been a treat.

But there was Aunt Alice in the kitchen, crawling along one of the counters and opening and closing the cabinets, a fairly tricky situation. Father caught her just as she was tumbling from the counter, having been pushed off by the cabinet door she was trying to open.

“Aunt Alice, what are you doing?” Father shouted. “You could have broken your hip.” 

“Forget my bleeping hip,” Aunt Alice shouted back. “Where did you people hide my flipping glasses?”

Father pointed to the glasses dangling from the ribbon around her neck.

“Oh,” she said. “Well, it’s about frogging time.” 

Finally at the table, all proceeded well, although Mother seemed distracted. She cleared the dishes and started toward the table with our desert, at which point Aunt Alice laid her head on the table and moaned, “Oh, why won’t they let me have a beer?”

“You knowwhy, Aunt Alice,” Father said. “You’re on that new heart medication and the doctor said you can’t drink.”

“But you’re drinking,” she said, pointing to Father’s glass of wine.

“Now, look Aunt Alice,” Father began, but Mother interrupted him.

“Don’t worry, dear, I’ll get you something,” she said, patting Aunt Alice on the shoulder,  and winking at Father. She signaled to me to follow her into the kitchen.

“She’s been so good, with the non-cursing,” Mother said. “I better come up with something. Do you think we could fool her with some grape juice?” 

I was honored to be included in this weighty decision and offered my solution. “Let’s add vinegar,” I said. That will make it taste like wine, I bet.”

“Hmmm,” said Mother. “Well, I don’t drink, because I think it tastes terrible, so I’m not sure . . .”

She filled a crystal goblet with grape juice and topped it off with a splash of white vinegar. She handed the glass to me. “How does it taste?” she asked.

I took a sip and immediately spit it out. “Yuck!” I said. “It tastes terrible.”

“Well then, that should do,” said Mother.

She took the glass to the dining room and handed it to Aunt Alice, who brightened up and took a sip.

“Ah,” she said. “Now that’s more like it.”

After we settled again, I noticed that Mother still seemed distracted, which I attributed to all the work she had been doing the past week. But suddenly, after desert, she threw her hands to her face and cried out, “Oh, no! I forgot to spray a pineapple!”

Father sat back, threw his napkin on the table, and burst into hearty guffaws. “Oh, Mary,” he said, “now that’s a good one. A pineapple! Heh, heh, heh, like that silly thing we saw last week?” He shook his head. “Mary, I have to say, every once and a while you come out with a good one.” He wiped his eyes and grinned in Mother’s direction, then stopped cold when he saw her face. “You were kidding, Mary, right? Kidding about that funny pineapple thing? Mary? Sweetheart?”

But Mother rushed from the room and we could hear the sounds of things being thrown around in our pantry closet—pots clanging, wrappers rustling, cans and boxes colliding. Before long, Mother emerged, a look of relief on her face, displaying the elusive fruit—one glorious pineapple. We all applauded, and Father sprang from his chair to escort her back into the room. But Mother glared at him. “I have things to do,” she said.

Father looked like he wanted to go after her, but Aunt Alice tugged on his sleeve. “Can I have more of this wine?” she asked. “It’s delicious.”

I washed and dried the dishes, and soon it was time for my brothers and me to go to bed. I heard Father call to Mother once, asking if he could help, but she shouted back, “You just leave me a-lone.” I imagine after that he kept what is known as a low profile.

On Christmas morning everyone jumped out of bed, eyes shining, faces bright with smiles, even Mother. 

And what a beautiful sight lay before us. The Christmas tree glimmered in the darkened living room, surrounded by gaily wrapped gifts. And visible through the archway was the dining room table, draped with a golden cloth and graced with an arrangement of fragrant pine boughs and glittering gold Christmas ornaments. Nestled in the greenery sat the singular, spectacular, gilded pineapple.

“Oh, Mary,” said Father. His face flushed and his eyes looked a little watery. “It looks beautiful.”

“Well, I’ll be a son of a—,” began Aunt Alice, but Mother grabbed her elbow.

“Don’t even think it,” she whispered. Then she smiled her lovely smile and said, “Let’s all just wish each other” and we all chimed in—

“Merry Christmas!”

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, please visit their Author Profile on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.

We ask that you also check out their books in the RWISAcatalog.  Thanks, again, for your support and we hope that you will follow along each day of this amazing tour of talent by visiting the tour home page!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about today’s profiled author:

Maura Beth Brennan’s RWISA Author Profile

YOU DESTROYED ME

http://life-is-a-very-big-joke.tumblr.com
YOU DESTROYED ME
You destroyed me.
Now, I will destroy you.
The Dead seek revenge.
Wind, waves, storm, lightning, thunder.
The powers at our fingertips.
I’m back.
THE DEAD...

 

You destroyed me.

Now, I will destroy you.

The Dead seek revenge.

Wind, waves, storm, lightning, thunder.

The powers at our fingertips.

I’m back.

THE DEAD GAME
Kindle
http://amzn.to/1lKvMrP

Nook
http://bit.ly/1lFdqNj

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-dead-game-1

 

DREAMS CAN COME TRUE

I woke, thinking it’s another dreary day,

then I checked my computer.

I sold two books,

The Dead Game & Prey for The Dead.

The day is suddenly brighter.

Thank you, my friends.

Dreams can come true.

A THANKSGIVING SPIN

A THANKSGIVING SPIN
Sweet and tasty it may be.
It does not come for free.
Life was given up
For this group to sup.
What are your holiday wishes?
And what could be the side dishes?
Some sliced fingers on a crystal plate
May satisfy your cravings of...

 

 

A THANKSGIVING SPIN

Sweet and tasty it may be.

It does not come for free.

Life was given up

For this group to sup.

What are your holiday wishes?

And what could be the side dishes?

Some sliced fingers on a crystal plate

May satisfy your cravings of late.

Enjoy!

 

 

A THANKSGIVING SPIN

 

A THANKSGIVING SPIN

 

Sweet and tasty it may be.

It does not come for free.

Life was given up

For this group to sup.

What are your holiday wishes?

And what could be the side dishes?

Some sliced fingers on a crystal plate

May satisfy your cravings of late.

Enjoy!

Silliest Goat Story

and at no point has anyone thought “maybe we should not build a giant flammable goat this year”

They tried fireproofing. And armed guards. And fences, and cameras… Sadly the wikipedia page has been cut down by super srs folks to remove all the awesome Keystone cops tales of the goat’s history (emphasis added by me)

  • 1966 Stig Gavlén came up with the idea of a giant goat made out of straw. But it turned out that Gavlén organisation did not have enough funding for the goat. Then Harry Ström, who at that time was the chairman of the Södra Kungsgatan Ideella Förening (a non-profit society), decided to pay the whole cost for the goat out of his own pocket. The goat stood until midnight of New Year’s Eve, when it went up in flames. The perpetrator, who was from Hofors,Gästrikland, was found and convicted of vandalism. The first goat was insured and Ström got all his money back.
  • 1967 Nothing happened.
  • 1968 The goat survived. A fence was built around the goat. Previously it was popular for children to play hide-and-seek inside and around the goat. There was also a rumor that one night a couple had sex inside the goat. In subsequent years the inside of the goat was protected by a chicken-wire net.
  • 1969 The goat was burnt down on New Year’s Eve.
  • 1970 The goat was burnt down only six hours after it was assembled. Two very drunk teenagers were connected with the crime. With help from several financial contributors the goat was reassembled out of lake reed.
  • 1971 The Southern Merchants got tired of their goats being burned and stopped building the goat. The Natural Science Club (Naturvetenskapliga Föreningen:NF) from the School of Vasa (Vasaskolan) took over. 
  • 1972 The goat collapsed because of sabotage.
  • 1973 N/A
  • 1974 Burnt.
  • 1975 N/A
  • 1976 Hit by a car.
  • 1977 N/A
  • 1978 Again, the goat was kicked to pieces.
  • 1979 The goat was burnt even before it was erected. A new one was built and fireproofed. It was destroyed and broken into pieces.
  • 1980 Burnt down on Christmas Eve.
  • 1981 Nothing happened.
  • 1982 Burnt down on Lucia (13 December).
  • 1983 The legs were destroyed.
  • 1984 Burnt down on 12 December, the night before Lucia.
  • 1985 The 12.5 metre (41 ft) tall goat of the Natural Science Club was featured in the Guinness Book of Records for the first time. Even though the goat was enclosed by a 2 metres (6.6 ft) high metal fence, guarded by Securitas and even soldiers from the Gävle I 14 Infantry Regiment, it was burnt down in January.
  • 1986 The merchants of Gävle decided they were willing to build the goat once again. From 1986 on two goats were built, the Southern Merchants’ and the School of Vasa’s. The big goat burnt down the night before Christmas Eve.
  • 1987 A heavily fireproofed goat was built. It got burnt down a week before Christmas.[21]
  • 1988 Nothing happened to the goat, but gamblers were for the first time able to gamble on the fate of the goat with English bookmakers.
  • 1989 Again, the goat burnt down before it was assembled. Financial contributions from the public were raised to rebuild a goat that was burnt down in January. In March 1990 another goat was built, this time for the shooting of a Swedish motion picture called Black Jack.
  • 1990 Nothing happened. The goat was guarded by many volunteers.
  • 1991 The goat was joined by an advertising sled, that turned out to be illegally built. On the morning of Christmas Eve the goat was burnt down. It was later rebuilt to be taken to Stockholm as a part of a protest campaign against the closing of the I 14 Infantry Regiment.
  • 1992 The goat was burnt down eight days after it was built. The Natural Science Club’s goat burnt down the same night. The Southern Merchants’ goat was rebuilt, but burned down on 20 December. The perpetrator of the three attacks was caught and sent to jail. The Goat Committee was founded in 1992.
  • 1993 Once more the goat was featured in the Guinness Book of Records, the School of Vasa’s goat measured 14.9 metres (49 ft). The goat was guarded by taxis and the Swedish Home Guard. Nothing happened.
  • 1994 Nothing happened. The goat followed the Swedish national hockey team to Italy for the World Championship in hockey.
  • 1995 A Norwegian was arrested for attempting to burn down the goat. Burnt down on the morning of Christmas Day. Rebuilt to be standing before the 550th anniversary of Gävle county.
  • 1996 The first time the goat was guarded by webcams, nothing happened.
  • 1997 Damaged by fireworks. The Natural Science Club’s goat was attacked too, but survived with minor damage.
  • 1998 Burnt down on 11 December, even though there was a major blizzard. Was rebuilt.
  • 1999 Burnt down only a couple of hours after it was erected. Rebuilt again before Lucia. The Natural Science Club’s goat was burnt down as well.
  • 2000 Burnt down a couple of days before New Year’s Eve. The Natural Science Club’s goat got tossed in the Gävle river.
  • 2001 Goat set on fire on 23 December by Lawrence Jones, a 51-year-old visitor from Cleveland, Ohio, who spent 18 days in jail and was subsequently convicted and ordered to pay 100,000 Swedish kronor in damages. The court confiscated Jones’s cigarette lighter with the argument that he clearly was not able to handle it. Jones stated in court that he was no “goat burner”, and believed that he was taking part in a completely legal goat-burning tradition. After Jones was released from jail he went straight back to the US without paying his fine. As of 2006 it was still unpaid. The Natural Science Club’s goat was also burnt down.
  • 2002 A 22 year old from Stockholm tried to set the Southern Merchants’ goat on fire, but failed, the goat receiving only minor damage. On Lucia the goat was guarded by Swedish radio and TV personality Gert Fylking.
  • 2003 Burnt down on 12 December.
  • 2004 Burnt 21 December, only three days before Christmas Eve. The fire brigade quickly arrived on the scene, but the goat could not be saved. No new goat was built.
  • 2005 Burnt by unknown vandals reportedly dressed as Santa and the gingerbread man, by shooting a flaming arrow at the goat at 21:00 on 3 December. Reconstructed on 5 December. The hunt for the arsonist responsible for the goat-burning in 2005 was featured on the weekly Swedish live broadcast TV3’s “Most Wanted“ (”Efterlyst”) on 8 December.
  • 2006 On the night of 15 December at 03:00, someone tried to set fire to the goat by dousing the right front leg in petrol (gasoline). The red ribbon on that leg was slightly burned and fell off. The lower part of the right leg was scorched, but the rest of the goat failed to light. The leg was repaired that morning. The Natural Science Club’s goat was burned at about 00:40 on 20 December; the vandals were not seen and got away. On the night of 25 December, a drunken man managed to climb up on the goat. Before the police arrived on the scene the man climbed down and disappeared. He did not try to set fire to the goat. The Southern Merchants’ goat survived New Year’s Eve and was taken down on 2 January. It is now stored in a secret location.
  • 2007 The Natural Science Club’s goat was toppled on 13 December and was burned on the night of 24 December. The Southern Merchants’ goat survived.
  • 2008 10,000 people turned out for the inauguration of one of the goats. No back-up goat was built to replace the main goat should the worst happen, nor was the goat treated with flame repellent (Anna Östman, spokesperson of the Goat-committee said the repellent made it look ugly in the previous years, like a brown terrier). On 16 December the Natural Science Club’s Goat was vandalised and later removed. On 26 December there was an attempt to burn down the Southern Merchants’ Goat but patriotic passers-by managed to extinguish the fire. The following day the goat finally succumbed to the flames ignited by an unknown assailant at 03:50 CET.
  • 2009 A person attempted to set the Southern Merchants’ goat on fire the night of 7 December. An unsuccessful attempt was made to throw the Natural Science Club’s goat into the river the weekend of 11 December. The culprit then tried, again without success, to set the goat on fire. Someone stole the Natural Science Club’s goat utilizing a truck the night of 14 December.[36] On the night of 23 December before 04:00 the South Merchant goat was set on fire and was burned to the frame, even though it had a thick layer of snow on its back.[37] The goat had two online webcams which were put out of service by aDoS attack, instigated by computer hackers just before the burning.[38]
  • 2010 On the night of 2 December, arsonists made an unsuccessful attempt to burn the Natural Science Club’s goat.[39] On 17 December, a Swedish news site reported that one of the guards tasked with protecting the Southern Merchants’ goat had been offered payment to leave his post so that the goat could be stolen via helicopter and transported to Stockholm. Both goats survived and were dismantled and returned to storage in early January 2011.
  • 2011 The inauguration of the goat took place on 27 November. The fire-fighters of Gävle sprayed the goat with water to create a coating of ice in the hope of protecting it from arson. The goat was burnt down in the early morning of 2 December.
  • 2012 The inauguration of the goat took place on 2 December. It was burnt just ten days later in the hours before midnight of 12 December, one day before Lucia.
  • 2013 As in 2006 and 2007, the straw used to build the goat has been soaked in anti-flammable liquid to prevent it from burning in the event of an arson attack. The inauguration ceremony took place on 1 December. But despite the anti-flammable liquids the goat was burnt down on the early morning of December 21.

Any history of plots involving a DDoS attack on the security cameras, a plot to steal it with a helicopter and flaming arrows shot by people dressed as Santa and the Gingerbread man is just plain hilarious in my book.

how will the saga continue this year

Magical Holiday Book Giveaway