Monday, December 12, 2011

Inflated Dreams

Thought for the day: We don't stop laughing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop laughing.

No telling how many years this wreath has graced our front door.
We never made a huge production out of outdoor decorations, but every year, our kids made the same proclamation after we cruised our decorated-out-the-wazoo neighborhood.

"AAAH, the best one of all!" they'd say as we pulled into our driveway.

They weren't really lying through their teeth. Anticipation of presents (with their names on them) hiding somewhere in that house may have added a certain luster to their perception.

Anyhow, I'd say decorating styles can pretty much be divvied into three categories: traditional, enlightening, and inflated. Us? We're traditional. That means, except for an occasional new acquisition, I've pretty much used the same decorations every year. For a LOT of years. Like the ornaments that hung on my parents' tree when they were first married, some of which are now paper thin, and considerably faded with age. And a slew of decades-old goodies fashioned by our children with copious quantities of felt, glue and glitter, construction paper, walnut shells, clothespins, eyeglass lenses, and even a Mason jar lid. A black spider in a golden web and a huge decorated crab shell, both made my by sister-in-law. Boxes of tinsel painstakingly applied, strand by strand, and then painstakingly removed to store in a box for yet another year. Like I said, traditional. Well, to be more accurate, I suppose we've become more traditional cum lazy, because each year, I use less and less decorations, and some of them don't even make it down out of our attic anymore. For sure, our formerly traditional tree is considerably NOT traditional these days. (I'll give you a peek at it next week.)

These singers once belonged to my grandmother.

Everybody knows the enlightening type of decorator. They're the ones with so many lights blazing in their front yards, they risk causing a blackout across three states every time they turn 'em on. Very flashy. Sometimes, they even incorporate animation and music, too, and carloads of people stop by every night to ooh and aah over their winter wonderland. It isn't at all unusual for a competition of sorts to begin when multiple enlighteners live in close proximity. (Those neighborhoods can be seen from the space station.)

And then, there's the inflated. This is a fairly recent category. I sure don't remember seeing this sort of display when I was a kid. Nowadays, you can purchase just about any character you can think of ... inflate it ... and stick it on your front lawn. And if you can't find a particular character, for the right price, you can probably have someone make one for you. Then, all those characters can weave and bob all over your yard.

Now then, to the point of today's post. Time for a tale about a Christmas inflatable of an entirely different ilk. This story originated in 1999, and was alleged to be the winning entry to a Louisville Sentinel contest about the wildest Christmas dinner. Turns out, no such newspaper ever existed, and the writer remains unknown, but the story lives on, thanks to the good ol' Internet. (WARNING: Better put your drink down before you read it.) Now here, after a bit of minor editing on my part, is that story:

As a joke, my brother Jay used to hang a pair of pantyhose over his fireplace every Christmas Eve. He said the only thing he wanted was for Santa to fill them, but what they say about Santa checking his list twice must be true, because every Christmas morning,  the other stockings would all be bulging with treats, but Jay's poor pitiful pantyhose were still dangling empty.

So one year, I decided to make his dream come true. I put on sunglasses, a fake nose, and a ski cap, and went in search of an inflatable love doll.

Know what? They don't sell those things at Wal-Mart. I had to go to an adult bookstore. By the way, if you've never been in an X-rated store before, two words: don't go. You'll only confuse yourself. I was there for an hour saying things like, "What does this do?" "You're kidding me!" and  "Who would buy that?" 

So anyway, I finally made it to the inflatable doll section. I wanted to buy a standard, uncomplicated doll that could also substitute as a passenger in my truck so I could use the car pool lane, but finding what I wanted was difficult. Love dolls come in many different models. The top of the line, according to the side of the box, could do things I'd only seen in a book on animal husbandry, but I settled for the bottom of the price scale: Lovable Louise. To call her a doll took a huge leap of imagination.

On Christmas Eve, with the help of an old bicycle pump, Louise came to life. My sister-in-law was in on the plan, and let me in during the wee morning hours. Long after Santa had come and gone, I filled Jay's pantyhose with Louise's pliant legs and bottom. I also ate some cookies and drank what remained of a glass of milk on a nearby tray. Then I went home, and giggled for a couple of hours.

The next morning my brother called to say that Santa had been to his house and left a present that had made him VERY happy but had left the dog confused. She would bark, start to walk away, then come back and bark some more. We agreed that Louise should remain in her pantyhose so the rest of the family could admire her when they came over for the traditional Christmas dinner.

My grandmother noticed Louise the moment she walked in the door. "What the hell is that?" she asked.

My brother quickly explained, "It's a doll."

"Who would play with something like that?" she snapped.

 I had several candidates in mind, but kept my mouth shut.

"Where are her clothes?" she continued.

"Boy, that turkey sure smells nice, Gran," Jay said, trying to steer her into the dining room.

 But Granny was relentless. "Why doesn't she have any teeth?"

Again, I could have answered, but why risk it? It was Christmas, and nobody wanted to spend it in the back of an ambulance saying, "Hang on, Granny, hang on!"

My grandfather, a delightful old man with poor eyesight, sidled up to me, waggled his eyebrows, and said, "Hey, who's the naked gal by the fireplace?"

I told him she was Jay's friend, and a few minutes later, noticed Grandpa standing by the mantel, talking to Louise. And not just talking. He was actually flirting. It was then we realized this might be Grandpa's last Christmas at home.

The dinner went well. We made the usual small talk about who had died, who was dying, and who should be killed, when suddenly Louise made a noise that sounded a lot like my father in the bathroom in the morning. Then she lurched from the pantyhose, flew around the room twice, and fell in a heap in front of the sofa. The cat screamed. I passed cranberry sauce through my nose, and Grandpa ran across the room, fell to his knees, and began administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. My brother fell back over his chair and wet his pants, and Granny threw down her napkin, and stomped outside to sit in the car.

It was indeed a Christmas to treasure and remember. Later in my brother's garage, we conducted a thorough examination to decide the cause of Louise's collapse. We discovered that Louise had suffered from a hot ember to the back of her right thigh. Fortunately, thanks to a wonder drug called duct tape, we restored her to perfect health.

After that, Louise went on to star in several bachelor party movies, and I'm pretty sure Grandpa still calls her whenever he can get out of the house.

                                                May all your dreams come true.

                                Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. This is excellent material for a Christmas movie! One of the Kardashian's could even play Lovable Louise! I love the "small talk," between who's dead, dying and "who should be killed!" A holiday classic!

  2. And once again I have spit all over my computer screen thanks to your hilarity so early in the morning.

    So love Grandpa! Great story. Great story.

  3. This story made me laugh so hard I cried. Thanks, Susan! I needed this today!

  4. I love that old story about still makes me laugh.

  5. I love the traditional decorations. We have those too. It's so fun to pull them out, year after year, and you think about all the stories and memories attached to them.

  6. Love the idea of a gun over the mantle, in case Santa gets out of line.

  7. EXCELLENT story!! That is hilarious! What a Christmas!

  8. I think Chevy Chase should star in a movie about Louise and her Pantyhose. As a matter of fact, they can rehire the whole cast of Christmas Vacation, as those characters would fit nicely into your story.

    I have so much to do today but I am so glad that I took the time to sit down to read your post. Super-Funny!

  9. LMAO! This is now my favorite of your stories. Thanks, Susan! :D

  10. ROF,L! The anonymous writer may suffer from an over-inflated imagination, but I laughed anyway. Thanks for sharing! :)

  11. We're traditional too - and I cannot stand the front yard inflatables. They look like they belong in a department store display and when people have more than one...just looks silly to me. And I am no grinch.

    Silly story. Cute tho'.

  12. Hi, y'all. As always, thanks for your comments. Glad to start your week off with a chuckle.

    Julie- Glad ya liked it. You're right; it would make for some hilarious scenes in a movie. Let's see ... who could we get to play the grandfather? Walter Matthau or Jack Lemon, maybe? And Betty White for the grandma.

    Anne- Sorry ... I TOLD ya to put your drink down!

    Dianne- Glad to jump start your day with a laugh.

    Delores- Me, too. No matter how many times I've seen it.

    Mr. C- Yeah, a misbehaving Santa wouldn't have a chance around here.

    Sarah- Thanks. Glad ya liked it.

    Jennifer- Glad you liked it, too.

    Arleen- Always time to laugh! Yeah, Chevy Chase should play Jay ...

    Austan- My pleasure. Glad it made ya smile.

    Linda- You're welcome. Glad you liked it.

    Skippy- I knew you were traditional, and heavy on adorable snowmen.

    Take care, y'all.

  13. Oh! My! God! That is the funniest thing I've read in ages! Thanks for the laugh!

  14. Ooops, darn it, I left Liz out. Sorry about that. (Not intentional!) That's exactly the reason I like the old traditional decorations so much, Liz. Who cares that our son is grown and has a huge family of his own now? When I pull out the ornament he made when he was in kindergarten ... showing his smiling picture glued into a decorated Mason jar lid ... I'm transported, and relive the moment he gave it to us all over again.

  15. Hi, Kara. Super. Always glad to share a laugh. Take care, dear lady.

  16. Well that's a winner for sure. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Bah, wah, wah, wah!!!

    Oh Grandpa.

  18. Hi, MG- Glad ya liked it, dear sir.

    Tina- Glad to make ya laugh. (And I've known some "grandpas" a lot like him, haven't you?)

  19. you left me with a smile today1 NOT EASY AFTER MY RAT INCIDENT xxx

  20. Hi, John. So glad I could take your mind off that bloody (literally...) rat for a few minutes. Take care.

  21. That is such a funny story. I'm not decorating this year. No special reason. So I'm enjoying decorations around my neighborhood and the photos on blogs, such as yours. Last year some people on my street put a number of huge inflatables in their front yard. They all collapsed, blew over, looked meek and exhausted. I'd much rather have a Louise . . . no, wait, that's not what I meant.


  22. Hi, Lola. We decorate less and less each year, and I'm kinda glad we didn't go all out this year. With a new baby, it's too hard for the kids and grandkids to come here this year, so we're going to them. Take care. And again, welcome aboard.