My parents never brought our gifts down for us to open on Christmas morning, so my brosef and I usually got to go through our stockings and then open up our one present from our grandmother-- always a sweatshirt and matching sweatpants. And I'm talking sweats. Not cute ones either. And mine were usually too small, so they were more like spandex. We'd get cash (hundred dolla bills, y'all) out of the stocking and underwear, too. This was the same. Every. Single. Year.
It was routine and I was very used to not really opening up too many presents on Christmas morning at my Grandmother's, even though my cousins always had their presents to open. One year, two of my cousins got up at 2am and discovered new bikes for themselves. I discovered a six-pack of Hanes-Her-Way that I'm confident I could still fit into today, because I'm pretty sure my grandmother always just bought the same size of underwear for me that she bought for herself.
The very last Christmas I ever spent with the whole family down at my grandmother's was during high school. I knew I had no presents to open, but every year I held out hope that my parent's would go ape-shit-crazy and surprise my brother and me with a crock-pot or something as equally as special.
When I woke up on this particular morning and walked into the living room my father met me with a smile on his face. He grabbed me and said, "Go look out in the yard. There's a surprise for you. I got you a car!" Now, this was the definition of ape-shit-crazy. My father, the man who had convinced me my whole life that he was broke and I was quickly sending him to bankruptcy because of my love of expensive Nike basketball shoes had surprised me with a new car?!
I ran outside and didn't see anything new. He told me to look on the side of the house. And there it was: a Chevy Lumina (the car, not the van). It had run off the road the night before and instead of driving out of the ditch, the driver left it there in my grandmother's yard and my father thought he'd tell me that this was his surprise to me. Talk about being devastated. Not only was that car not mine, but had it been, I think I would've been even more disappointed than I already was.
Merry Christmas, there's a car in the ditch for you.
Good ole Howard Co Christmas!
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