Editor’s Note: This week’s column is submitted from an anonymous guest author.
As the 21st year of the 21st century wound its way into history, Christmas came early to the House o’ Saw. The reasons for an impromptu pre-holiday celebration were custodial, resulting in minor absences on the holiday itself and that’s all that can and need be said on the subject. Thus Christmas day was on the Eve, and the Eve the day before.
Despite its displacement, much joy was found, gathered round the tree on the morning of the eve. Even St. Nicholas had gotten the memo and delivered that morning. Yet amidst the warmth and holiday cheer, there was one sincere moment of profound sorrow. This being the crucial year for the youngest of the brood as a bit of innocence was lost, via a final farewell correspondence from Kris Kringle himself.
In that instance, there came a seemingly uncharacteristic compassion from the elder Saw. Enfolding the child, soothing sobs with calming reassurances. This until smiles were reinstated; secured till and beyond the boy’s afternoon departure. Later, as evening came on, tail lights faded into the distance accompanied by despondent waves. Begrudgingly the house’s patriarch deemed the festivities and holiday complete.
Thus those present set about deconstructing Christmas…in a material sense. Wrapping paper and packages recycled. Stockings unhung, ornaments removed, repackaged and packed away. Tinsel unwound from the tree which is unceremoniously stuffed into a box. Packed and put away so that by the time the actual clock and calendar Eve had arrived it was already subject to memory.
After this endeavor, with a kiss and merry wishes, the Lady Saw retires for the night. Logically speaking — being half the size of her husband, she must work twice as hard to match his pace. Ergo many a nap is needed. Bidding her a long winter’s nap, the others lingered a bit longer over coffee and casual conversation. But all too soon each departed for their designated destinations.
Frank, a.k.a. the Angel of Death, was the first to go. An unwilling participant of the pandemic, his time of celebration was short. He bade them a silent adieu, bummed a cigarette, and vanished into wisps of blackness carried away by the chill of the north wind…destination unknown.
John Que, the small yellow bear, followed suit. After multiple hugs, gathered his pet lobster William and loaded his scuba gear into a waiting cab. They would be catching an early flight and spending the holidays with William’s family… somewhere in the Pacific.
Oddly enough the last to be on their way was the column’s secretary. A rather prim, proper, prudent young woman whose name matched her title — Thee Secretary. Adjusting the hem of her overly modest skirt she glanced around nervously and spoke to her employer in whispers. Would he be alright? Should she call anyone? His reply was a raised brow accompanied by a curt nod and a dismissive wave of the hand. Something mumbled about it not being his first rodeo.
Satisfied, she rose, gathered her briefcase and file box and was professionally escorted to the door. She then drove away in her ‘86 Volvo sedan, beginning the 17 hour trek to the Secretary residence in Oklahoma.
Once she was out of sight, his brow furrowed and cast a cursory glance around. Then he disappeared swiftly back inside. Perhaps he went to embrace a forlorn sense of loneliness. Perhaps he sought to enjoy a moment alone. “Hey man…” Or perhaps he snuck around the house to find me? “You’ve been hiding out here all day…what gives?”
Surprisingly there was no anger only curious kindness in his face as I turned. “I…I was just observing your family’s Christmas activities to better understand the holidays.” I stammered. “Hmmm kind of like National Geographic but with people?” he pondered. “Something like that,” I replied nervously. “It’s cold out here, why don’t you finish up inside… coffee?” he offered.
We sat in the living room, me sipping coffee, he reading over my work. “This isn’t half bad!” he stated, “could you email this to me? It’d make an interesting column and I could use a day off.”
“Sure,” I said beaming, “but… how should it end?”
“It ends,” he said wryly, “with me wishing you a happy new year and not calling the cops.”
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