Seasons’ Greetings – A Featured_Grownups writing prompt.  FG suggested we write about our holiday traditions, or favorite holiday memories.  While this is definately not a favorite memory, it is one that sticks in my head.

Thanksgiving 1979 or 1980. 

We lived out in the sticks, and on Wednesday a blizzard blew up so the school bus driver ended up taking us to his house after school rather than our home.  Dad probably couldn’t get to the end of the driveway, I don’t remember for sure.  Mom and Great Grandma were snowed in with my grandparents in town. 

It was a small community and the bus driver had kids in school with us so it wasn’t really weird.  Except for the fact that his kids didn’t like us.  His daughter called me names every chance she got, mostly related to my last name which was pretty plain.  It goes to show whatever you name your kid, someone will find a way to make fun of it.  Her last name was an actual but somewhat obscure derogatory word of the sort most nine-year-olds don’t know until later in life.  Even if I did know it my parents would not have let me call her that.  Their son was a pathological liar, and mean to boot.  I cannot vouch for my brother’s experience, but mine was surreal.

To start with these people smoked.  We were not used to being around people that smoked, except my aunt but her house never had a blue cloud in the living room.  Mrs. had her daughter take me downstairs and she let me play with her avocado green metal kitchen set.  I was in heaven.  Then later in the evening Daughter took me into the bathroom and curled my hair.  This was not something that happened at my house with any regularity.  Mom was not very much into “fixing me up cute” and I wasn’t much for sitting still and letting anyone do that to me. (My daughters will likely have a similar experience.) I remember she had me count to 10 before she pulled the iron out.

I don’t remember the meal at all, or really anything else but after supper The Waltons came on.  I had not watched The Waltons as Mom thought it was drivel or maybe just sappy, so I was interested to see what everyone else at school got to watch. The bus driver plopped into his naugahyde recliner, threw the lever so his feet were in the air, pulled his spittoon into range and shouted, “When The Waltons are on, the shit hits the fan!”  Apparently this translates to “Shut up so I can watch my show.” 

I did a little research on the internet and The Waltons was indeed on Thursday night.  What does this mean folks?  We were stuck at their house two nights!  The site had a description of the show and what the producers were trying to get across.  They wanted to show “human warmth” without “excessive sentimentality.”  And that right there is why Mom wouldn’t let us watch it.  Thank you for watching out for me Mom.  I love  you.  (Happy Birthday too!)

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