This is the time of year when people gather to celebrate the Christmas holiday with family and friends. (Ever notice the expression “family and friends” kind of implies that family members are not friends. That’s an unfortunate implication. I know many people who consider all their family members to be very close friends — as long as they don’t count the ones they no longer speak to.)
My most favorite gift ever was a bicycle I received from Santa Claus when I was 8 years old. My brother, who was 7, also got a bike that year. We were so thrilled when we snuck out of our bedroom at 3 a.m. on Christmas morning to take a peek. When we saw the silhouettes of two large bicycles in front of the tree, we just about burst. Imagine two youngsters more hyper than Charlie Sheen in the middle of an all-night party, but unable to say a word or else we’d wake our parents (which quickly would’ve turned “Ho ho ho!” into “No no no!”). We just kind of quivered with joy, hovering about two inches above the floor the whole time, waiting for 6 a.m. to arrive.
Well, later that afternoon we were riding those gorgeous new bikes up and down the street. One of our loudmouth neighbors, who thought he was so cool because he was 10 years old, came out of his house to tell us some disturbing news.
(Spoiler alert! Everyone who is age 8 or younger should stop reading this column right now! And what are you doing reading this column anyway? This is for mature adults only. Go back to reading the sections of the newspaper more suitable for youngsters: the Business Page and the Police Blotter.)
We were stunned. Our father, not Santa, put the bicycles together? In Mr. Barry’s garage, not the North Pole? We hung our heads in sadness. Then my brother said, “But we get to keep the bikes, right?” I replied, “Yeah, I think so.”
Then we yelled in unison, “Yay!!” and continued riding up and down the street.
Yup, no doubt about it: best Christmas gift ever. Here’s wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!