A CHRISTMAS STORY
“Taco John and ‘Ole’ Tannenbaum”
Since my son John is coming home for Christmas with Alyson Pitzer (Steve Smith’s daughter) and they are bringing their new son Smith Errington who was born in October, I would like to tell you a story about my son John that I wrote in 1983 when he was one year old. Since Christmas is a time for stories, this is what I wrote in 1983. He has probably never read it.
“Taco John” who turned one year old this month and was formerly known as little “Johnny One-note” (for his lack of creativity in his speech) discovered something new and different these past couple of weeks – “Ole Tannenbaum”, or more commonly referred to as the Christmas Tree. It seemed to me and “Taco John” that the Biblical story of creation and Adam in the garden of Eden was once again being re-enacted. Do you remember the story?
“And the LORD GOD planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD GOD made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the gar-den, and the (here it comes) tree of the KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL.”
(Now this is a free rendering – and rendering may be the best description) “And the Lord God talked to the man saying, “Now, look here, Adam my boy! You can eat anything you want out of this garden. In fact, you can roll it and smoke it, or chew it, or do whatever! You can make tacos out of it, if you want. You can cut them down and make kayaks. I really don’t care, BUT ( and that’s a big but) you see that tree over there – don’t touch it — don’t even look at it funny, because if you do,! Well, let’s just put it this way — I made you and I can make another one just like you. Comprende?”
It seems to me that this story is very similar to “Taco John’s” problem. Here he is, in his house, in his garden of Eden, with all these toys that he has, and yet, that “TREE” oh that “TREE” is such a great temptation. The “Father who stands in the heavens” has told him about it, and that he should leave it alone, but “Golllll-llleeee Dad!” I’m just “1” year old. Sure would be nice to just brush up against one of those baubles or touch one of those blinking “fruits” just once!!!!!!!!
So, there we were, negotiating over this Christmas tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “Taco John” tried his best to make us see that this really wasn’t a Christmas tree at all, but (are you ready for this) an “Infant-tree”, and we said, “No!” He looked at Berta and said, “geometry” — “gee-mom-a-tree.” He had heard it somewhere. Then he said let’s see if we can’t “try-a-gnome-tree” (trigonometry).
I looked at Berta and said, “I think he is using “psy-chi-a-tree” on us. She agreed, as “Taco John” raised his hands to the heavens and showed us he wanted a “big-o-try”, because this one was too small. We weren’t fooled for a minute. We knew that he couldn’t wait to get his hands on all that “pagean-tree” and “circuit-tree.” I had decided by now that my son, was becoming a fallen man just like Adam. He had begun to worship other gods, and the Christmas tree had become in his mind an “I-doll-a-tree.” (idolatry)
I knew that if “Taco John” had been like his father and a dentist’s son, instead of a minister’s son, we wouldn’t have to worry about “Idol-a-tree”, but he would only think in terms of “dentis-trees”. We were worried that if “Taco John” did not give up this obsession soon, he might just “pine” away and we would have to deal with a “Po-dia-tree” ( poor diet tree).
At last, I KNEW what I would have to do – if “Taco John” didn’t straighten up. I would just have to become more “holy” and show him the “way”. To save my son from this “Idol-a-tree” I would just have to go back to seminary and become (I can’t believe I am actually writing this!) a DOCTOR OF MINIS-TREE!!!!!!!!
See you in church John Boy and the rest of you.
From 1983, we remember the past – for all of you parents with toddlers this year and who have to battle the temptation of a Christmas tree.
50 Years of Holiday Memories
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Remember: Bob Hope perform-ing for the troops
Kitchen smelled like: Julia Child’s beef bourguignon
On the hi-fi: Nat King Cole “The Christmas Song”
On the tube: Charlie Brown, Ru-dolph, Frosty, and the Grinch specials
In theaters: Babes in Toyland, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
Under the (flocked) tree: Hot Wheels, Easy Bake Oven, Etch a Sketch
Remember: Waiting for our Po-laroid photos to de-velop
Kitchen smelled like: Butterball turkey
On the 8-track play-er: Jackson 5 Christmas Album
On the tube: The Walton’s: The Homecoming
In theaters: Scrooge with Albert Finney and Alec Guinness
Under the tree: Pet Rocks, Legos, Won-der Woman dolls, Atari 2600
Remember: Cutting down your own tree
Kitchen smelled like: Honey baked ham
On the cassette player: “Do they Know It’s Christ-mas?” by Band Aid
On the tube: Roots: The Gift, Johnny Car-son’s fruitcake jokes
In theaters: Nation-al Lampoon’s Christ-mas Vacation, Scrooged
Under the tree: Transformers, Cab-bage Patch Kids, Ru-bik’s Cube
Remember: “Merry Christmas” gives way to the secular “Happy Holidays”
Kitchen smelled like: Organic, free-range turkey
On the CD player: “These Are Special Times” by Celine Dion
On the tube: Sein-field’s “Festivus for the rest of us” epi-sode, “Elmo Saves Christmas”
In the theaters: Home Alone, The Santa Clause
Under the tree: Beanie Babies, Poké-mon, Furbies
Remember? Mull-ing whether to get a greener—or is it? – artificial tree
Kitchen smelled like: Turducken
On the iPod dock: Harry for the Holi-days by Harry Con-nick Jr.
On the flat screen: Marathons of A Christmas Story and 007 movies
In theaters: Elf, The Polar Express, Bad Santa, Harry Potter movies