The day before Christmas is a big day in my family. It’s usually the one day where the entire family is in one place, and there was one year long ago that included myself and my older brother, mother, and father.
While we were sitting around, the doorbell rang. Dad quickly responded by bounding out of his La-Z-Boy to greet our unknown caller. We watched with curiosity as he spoke to a FedEx deliveryman and came away with a medium-sized package. Dad took it into the kitchen and we followed. Soon enough, he had released the gift, a Bose WaveRadio personal stereo.
The smile on my father’s face was not enough to dissipate her curiosity. She began the conversation with him as follows:
“Who bought this for us?”
“I bought it.”
“I thought we weren’t buying things for ourselves this Christmas.”
“I’ve always wanted a radio of my own that I could listen to while reading the morning paper.
“I’ve seen those things in magazine ads and they look expensive. How much was it?
“It wasn’t bad–”
“How. Much. Was. It?!”
“I thought we agreed to discuss major purchases!”
“I don’t consider this a major purchase.”
The night was downhill for my parents from that point.
Later that evening came our traditional Christmas Eve dinner, where we gather around and share brotherhood and fondue. The meal was mostly quiet, as we were busy digesting both dinner and the earlier conflict.
Our local Satan affiliate KVIL 103.7 FM does well the evil deceiver’s bidding by playing nothing but Christmas songs from midnight Thanksgiving until long past the birthday of Christ. My father broke the silence by cheerfully offering, “Hey, I love Christmas music. We should listen to some songs while we eat dinner.” It is at this point that my father reaches into his shirt’s breast pocket and whips out the Bose’s slim remote control, barely bigger than a baby’s hand but packed with the power of Hercules. He pointed it over his left shoulder, and with a quick click, the pre-tuned radio came to life with dark, catchy holiday melodies.
And so dinner went, the night filled with music that was interrupted only by the occasional sounds of chewing–or my deeply annoyed mother harshly grinding her knife and fork just as deep into her fine wedding china.
Years later, the very radio which united our family so stressfully was stolen by a contractor working on my dad’s new house. Since they didn’t manufacture that particular unit anymore, he decided to replace it with a newer model — and a 67″ rear-projection HDTV. No news yet on what my mom thought of it.
God, I love my dad.