Oh Little Town of Crispy Sheets


I remember a lot about my early years, probably because Dad was a professional photographer and my life was chronicled in pictures from my birth right on up until I was 12 or 13 years old. Then my parents went their separate ways.

My mother was
the display manager at the JCPenney store in our little town. Together, she and my dad made the family
Christmas cards by hand. There are early black and whites of me gazing out the window with the Christmas tree in the background, my face and eyes turned upward as if to see Mr. Claus making his descent.

Shepherd boys Richard (left) and
Mike Wright in story

They also created costumes for
my brother, Richard, and me to wear
in the photos. In one, we were shepherds
turning our faces skyward
to scan the heavens for the brightest
star as we stood barefoot in the
snow’ — actually a crispy white
sheet draped across the bed.

Accompanying the photos were
greetings written meticulously in
colored pencil by my Dad, who’d
been trained in architectural drawing.
Christmas season also meant the annual drive to Cincinnati to see the animated figures in Shillito’s store windows. Shillito’s was Cincinnati’s first department store and no other store had such fabulous displays.

Christmas carols were abundant but a little confusing back then. One of my favorites was Good King Winkle Sauce. I had no clue as to whom or what
winkle sauce” was 
since no one had ever served it during meals.

Then there’s the song where reindeer are assigned feline and canine attributes with the lyrics “Up on the housetop, reindeer paws…” Really?

For many years, my wife’s email address was Ms.PossumBrown@ (whatever.com). When I asked her where she came up with that name she responded, “You know! It’s from that song: ‘In the meadow we can
build a snowman; and pretend that he is Possum Brown…’”

Time passes by. The Shillito’s building has been converted to upscale apartments. Christmas carols have become earworms of prematurely- played background “muzak” made to get us into the buying mood. And I never receive any handmade
Christmas cards.


Michael B Wright is a house-husband, chauffer and gopher
who leads an existence fraught with guilt from living in a 55+ community
while still being an adolescent on-the-inside.




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