Sunday, December 25, 2011

A True Story of Christmas

In 1964, when I was ten, I was attending my third different grade school within two years.  That Christmas, at Manitoba Grade School, I made what I now call my first assemblage.  This simple construction, made from Elmer's glue, wire, fingernail polish and broken glass, was the culminating Christmas class project completed just before school let out for the Christmas holiday.  Although still drying, we were allowed to take it home that day, wrapped in waxed paper, to present to our families as our Christmas ornament gift. 

That afternoon, as I walked home through high snow banks on the tree curb (what little boy is going to walk home on the actual sidewalk during a snow storm?), somehow--I dropped my Christmas ornament out of the waxed paper.  When I got home and all I had was the waxed paper and I could not show my mother my gift.

I cried.

My mother had the solution, though.  She got bundled up and we retraced my footprints back through the neighborhood until we discovered the Christmas ornament laying in a snow bank, waiting to be recovered, taken home and presented to the family as a Christmas gift. 

This ornament, known in the family as THE GHOST, has hung in our Christmas trees for 47 years--first in the family tree, then my parent's, than Denice and mine. 

While my family was big on Christmas, I am not sure when my Christmas obsessions started.  Denice and I always put up our tree (fake!) the day or two after Thanksgiving (my wish) and it stays up well into January (her wish). 

Over the years, our eclectic tastes have added ornaments that represent things to us, especially family vacations but also community theater plays we were in and long gone family pets.  Our tree has many personalities including some rather famous ones. 

Yes, our tree has a plastic Elvis, a tin Elvis, and Eelvis.  Oh, yeah--and a jukebox that plays Elvis' I'll Have a Blue Christmas Without You."

On our many trips, we find ourselves thanking the Spirit Ravens who guide our journeys.  I thought it would be fun to put a Spirit Raven in our tree but Denice refers to it as The Dead Bird. 

Disclaimer:  I have no idea what started my Santa collection.  At some point, I know that a lot of other people got involved so the collection consists of Santas I have purchased and Santas I have received as gifts.  Over the 32 years of marriage, I know Denice has given me multiple Santas for Christmas.  We now have a no Santa rule which only gets broken when we find a really unique one. 

We have so many Santa ornamnets that we have to have a second tree just for all the Santas.

We even get to mix religions with this Ganesha Santa ornament. 

People always ask me which Santa is my favorite.  It is the little two inch tall Hallmark ornament of one of my heroes.  So, I will let him say Merry Christmas to all who still say, "I Believe."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Shield

I had a little scare the other day with a close relative (everything is fine now--thank you for asking).  It left me with an afternoon on my hands where all I could do was wait.  I did not feel like reading, writing or even viewing anything.

So, I went to the one solace that always generates some brain activity:  I rummaged my own basement.

I just need to make something so when I went downstairs I grabbed the first toy figure I could find:  a monster of some sort, not unlike the Creature from the Black Lagoon.  Then it was into my box of small metals for some random pieces (a round piece on a pole for the head, a tin candle reflector, and drawer handle for the shield), grab the Apoxy Clay and some acrylic paint, and back upstairs to the worktable.

Three hours later I got the phone call I was waiting for and could calm down.  I was also half way through this piece.  Next day, after another three hours, after adding one bead and a chain, it was done.

I call it The Shield.  Despite the fact that it is about 8" tall and has some weight to it, I like to think of this as an amulet, or a necklace worn to protect the wearer from evil. 

I know it worked for me.