There are some childhood memories that stay with us long into adulthood. Certain sights, sounds, smells and people that just take you back. This post is about a few of those things. The first was on TV last night. I never fully embrace Christmas until I see some Charlie Brown Christmas. Nothing makes me happier than this:
No, I still don't get why that one mixed-race looking kid in the back is doing an early version of the Running Man. I don't get why Chuck and the gang never have any adult supervision and I don't get how a brokedown tree with two twigs and a spindly trunk magically blooms and grows in 30 seconds flat. And I don't care. Christmas just ain't Christmas until I hear these words:
Sally: I've been looking for you, big brother. Will you please write a letter to Santa Claus for me?
Charlie Brown: Well, I don't have much time. I'm supposed to get down to the school auditorium to direct a Christmas play.
Sally: [hands a clipboard and pen to Charlie Brown] You write it and I'll tell you what I want to say.
Charlie Brown: [sticks pen in his mouth] Okay, shoot.
Sally: [dictating her letter to Santa Claus as Charlie Brown writes it for her] Dear Santa Claus, How have you been? Did you have a nice summer?[Charlie Brown looks at her]Sally: How is your wife? I have been extra good this year, so I have a long list of presents that I want.Charlie Brown: Oh brother.Sally: Please note the size and color of each item, and send as many as possible. If it seems too complicated, make it easy on yourself: just send money. How about tens and twenties?Charlie Brown: TENS AND TWENTIES? Oh, even my baby sister!Sally: All I want is what I... I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share.
Now why everybody in the family would turn and give me the side-eye when Sally said these words is beyond me… maybe… moving on! The point is, the Charlie Brown Christmas show is as much a part of the BougieFam Christmas as this next gentleman, the late great Mr. Nat King Cole singing The Christmas Song:
Of course, we also had a Soulful Christmas including such classics as Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto by James Brown, Merry Christmas Baby by Booker T and the MGs, Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt and the perennial favorite Back Door Santa by Clarence Carter. Nothing like BougieOlderBro trying to get his air bass guitar groove on while singing (off-key) to Back Door Santa. I could do a whole post just on the Christmas songs (J5, Stevie). But I'll move on…
Cinnamon, evergreen and nutmeg are the scents I most closely associate with Christmas. Baked ham, my Guyanese cousin's terrible cologne, and wood smoke follow behind. We used to sip some concoction that was hot, had cinnamon sticks floating in it and was always laced with rum or bourbon (or both?). BougieMom would put it in a huge silver punch bowl near the fire and tell us not to drink too much (never worked). In retrospect, I suspect this was their slick way of knocking us out early so they could finish the wrapping.
Christmas morning still isn't the same without my father there. He was the biggest kid of all. As much as he loved putting smiles on all of our faces, if his stack of gifts wasn't piled as high as he expected, he could get a little funky with it. (Downright tart) So much so that we would have to assure him that we'd make up for it at the After-Christmas sales. He used to light cinnamon and evergreen scented candles all over the house the night before and wake us up at the crack of dawn by marching up and down the hallway banging on a pot and singing Day-O. (You can't make this stuff up) God rest his soul, the man was off the chains.
I could go on and on but I wanted to share a few sensory Christmas memories with you while Charlie Brown and the gang were fresh on my mind. What things remind you of Christmas? Was there a song you always played, a movie you always watched, a smell that takes you back? 'Tis the season in BougieLand, ya'll… Happy Holidays.