Before I got married my family maiden name was Simpson. Yes Simpson, like Fox Network cartoon family. Just like the show there were five of us. My dad Ted and my mom Margaret and yes they called her “Marge”, my little brother Roger and older sister Marlene.
The Simpson family always celebrated Christmas Eve in a big way. We would pull out all the holiday stops, decorating the tree and the front of our home. It was traditional for the youngest child to put the Christmas star on the tree. The star has been in our family for years and Roger was instructed not to fidget with it. I always thought it was dumb to entrust such a delicate ornament to a clumsy 5-year-old. My sister Marlene had the honor of singing, We Wish You a Merry Christmas. It was my traditional duty to turn the lights on and off. Yes . . . on and off! If the Clapper had been invented I’d be out of a job.
Somehow my duty never seemed as exciting as my siblings. Mom said it was because I was just the right height to reach the light switch. My sister said it was because I was adopted and adopted children do the menial tasks. I ran crying to my parents asking them why I had the crappy job and why they never told me I was adopted. They turned to my sister and sent her to her room. Of course, my dad said your sister is only teasing you.
“You are NOT adopted in fact I think we’ll let you do the singing. Would that make you happy?” Heck YES! What better way to stick it to my older sister.
Mom helped me practice for my singing debut. She made me a little Santa outfit, complete with black Santa boots. Okay, they were my brother’s old rain boots but the red and white Santa hat was really cool. I was so proud. I looked like a little red elf. I should also mention that I had very frizzy hair. My sister said it was because my real father was Larry from the Three Stooges. My mom said I looked adorable. I practiced for hours. My brother wanted to sing with me but I told him no. This was my chance to start a new Simpson family Christmas tradition. He got so upset he threw up on my outfit!
I shook him screaming, “I hate you and it’s YOU who’s adopted!”
By the time mom and dad separated us I smelled like everything he’d eaten that morning. The stench of bacon, jelly and pancakes covered my Santa outfit. Mom tried to clean it but the lingering smell attracting our family cat, which by the way was not neutered. Jasper sniffed my boots, raised his tail and peed on me which now added cat urine to the stench. The combination of scents made me sick.
I thought, “Traditions are stupid!” I fell asleep on the sofa.
Eight o’clock Christmas Eve mom said it was time to light the tree and our porch decorations. I plopped the Santa hat atop my frizzy hair and stood by the tree. My sister was pardoned for the evening and stood annoyed by the light switch. I stood on the Christmas stool preparing for my performance. Mom started the countdown, 3, 2, 1 . . . GO! Dad lifted Roger to put the family’s silver Christmas star on the top of the tree. Marlene flicked the switch and that was my cue to sing.
She muttered, “Let there be light.”
A blue spark shot from the light switch and the entire house went dark. Roger, being afraid of the dark, started screaming. Like a true professional I kept singing. I stepped off the stool and fell onto the cat that ran into the tree knocking it over onto mom. Dad tried to calm Roger.
Marlene snickered, “Better you than me Sis!”
I made my way over to my giggling sister and stomped on her foot. Everybody was screaming! Dad finally replaced the fuse and like magic the house went from pitch black to a magical Christmas wonderland. But the damage had been done. The happy holiday moment was over.
It was then I vowed, “No more traditions for me!” Next year I’m locking myself in the bathroom until Valentines Day.