By Michael Wright
I recently woke up one morning and lay there reflecting on my memories of Christmas past — about when I was just a little boy celebrating Christmas – back when my main source of transportation was a tricycle. Funny how we start out with tricycles, and then many of us in retirement communities end up with tricycles again. I won’t even mention diapers. Oops! Never mind, I digress!
My primary childhood memory of Christmas past was the decorating of the tree, of course. Some of the decorations, aside from the requisite electric train circling the base, included plastic icicles that glowed in the dark. Anything that glowed in the dark was a fascinating toy for me.
Then, there was the tinsel, which made cool sparks and smells when “accidentally” dropped across the tracks of said electric train. (Mine was an American Flyer… The cool kids had Lionel’s.)
But my primary fascination was the tubular, upright bubble lights. I would watch the bubbles rise from the base to the top of the bulb for hours on end. It was my seasonal temporary baby-sitter, replaced later by my first record player.
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I recall the pain of having my fingers pricked by my mom’s sewing needles as we engaged in the annual stringing of popcorn, creating long chains to be draped among the branches of the tree. I suppose it was meant to resemble snow. By the time Dad took the tree down, the popcorn had grown too stale to enjoy as a snack and got thrown out.
Christmas also taught me about disappointment, such as when I would eagerly tear the colorful wrapping paper from boxes marked with my name, then open them up to find, instead of the hoped-for toys, clothes: socks, underpants, undershirts, pajamas and the occasional tie (a clip-on bow tie more often than not).
How times have changed. The grown-up me now appreciates clothing, and I also like ties, as long as they don’t come matched with the shirt because everyone knows instantly if what you’re wearing came as a matched set. I enjoy making my own matches. It’s an opportunity to express my own individuality. (I currently own just one Jerry Garcia tie, which is an expression of how cool I am.)
As far as knots go, I’ve never cared for the asymmetry of the Half-Windsor. Is it laziness, ineptitude or what? Why just go halfway? Half knots! Bah! Humbug!
Mike recently realized that his sartorial style closely resembles that of his late father. Jeans with colored T-shirts beneath sports jackets. If you’d like to send him a Jerry Garcia tie, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.