Christmas movies begin playing at our house Thanksgiving Day, usually with Little Women. That one is my favorite. I’ve watched it three times since Thanksgiving and I’ll watch it at least twice before the end of the year.
I asked my kids what their favorite movies are. Z said Polar Express. I thought he liked it for the visual mastery, but that wasn’t it. He loves the soundtrack. The soundtrack.
F chose a movie that I’ve never seen, Tom and Jerry’s Nutcracker. Her favorite part is when Tom scoops a little toy soldier into the toy box after being frightened by the soldier’s toy gun.
G’s favorite movie is It’s a Wonderful Life. She doesn’t have a favorite part. It’s the feeling at the end of the movie that she likes. That’s my Idealist for ya.
My husband Tim’s favorite Christmas show is A Charlie Brown Christmas because it’s a classic. He grew up watching Charlie Brown struggle with the meaning of Christmas, and it just wouldn’t be Christmas without watching it at least once.
This year I introduced F and Z to The Christmas Story. There are many parts of the movie I love, and much of it is reminiscent of my childhood. My favorite part is when Ralphie’s family has to eat Christmas dinner at the Chop Suey Palace and the waiter hacks off the ducks head right in front of the family. Fra, ra, ra, ra, ra!
The hardest part to watch, partly because I have a weak stomach and partly because it brings back memories, is the scene when Flick dares Schwartz to stick his tongue to the flag pole.
That scene is a constant reminder of the time my nephew, Zep (who was in kindergarten at the time), stuck his tongue to the book return outside the town’s library.
**Names have been changed to protect the nincompoops in this story**
I am the youngest of a family of 10 children whose ages span 25 years from oldest to youngest. My sister, the oldest and who I refer to as #1, and her family lived up the hill from us, and her kids were about the same age as #9 and me. #1’s kids were really more like our cousins, and needless to say, nincompoopery reigned for many years.
Mon, my niece, and I were in elementary school, #9 was in Jr. High, and Zep was close to Kindergarten the winter day we were horsing around in the empty lot next to the Carnegie library across the street from our house.
We had been out all morning and were resting on the library’s stoop when #9 started explaining that if a person touches his or her tongue to the flag pole with lightning-fast speed, the tongue will not stick to the pole. I thought it sounded stupid, and after the half a gazillion other nincompoop ideas he has talked me into, I didn’t quite trust him. Since he couldn’t get Mon or I to try it, #9 walks over to the flag pole and quickly touches the tip of his tongue to the pole just enough to feel a tacky stick before pulling it off. Feeling successful, he challenges us again, but we both pass. #9 pulled out the big guns, daring and double-dog daring us to try. As Mon and I vocally rejected his idiotic dares, we hear a scream from the other side of the library book return. It’s Zep. His tongue is firmly stuck to the metal book return, and he couldn’t remove it.
Screaming for us to help him, Mon and I try blowing on the spot where his tongue attached to the metal book drop. That didn’t help, so we started freaking out. #9 told us to run home (across the street) and get Dad (Grandpa to Mon and Zep). We took off, and during our short little journey across the street, we predicted that Dad was going to be so angry that he just may swear.That was something to be avoided at all cost.
We burst into the house and started yelling for Dad. When he appeared, we both began screaming at a fevered pitch about Zep and his tongue being affixed to the book drop that Dad couldn’t understand a word of what we were saying. We told him to look out the living room window.
And then we heard him swear.
He grabbed a glass of tap water before marching out of the house and across the street with Mon and I at his heels. We knew his silence was the calm before the storm and once Zep was successfully removed from the book drop we would all be in a world of hurt.
But that didn’t happen.
Once we arrived at the scene, Zep was no longer attached to the book drop. Mon and I were stunned. Dad asked what the heck was going on? Mon and #10 (me) told him Zep was stuck to the drop box. #9 told Dad that Zep was stuck on the metal box, but before he knew it, Zep had ripped his tongue off the box with one big pull.
Everyone looked at Zep who stood with his brutalized and bloodied tongue hanging out of his mouth. My stomach started to churn, when someone point out rather loudly that part of Zep’s tongue was still attached to book drop!
I wish we hadn’t looked. But we did, and we then we gave a collective “Ewwwwwwwwe…”
Dad grabbed Zep and marched him to our house while letting the rest of us know that we were all a bunch of jackasses, and didn’t we know better than to go around sticking our tongues to metal in the winter?
Well… yeah… kinda.