Sunday, December 22, 2013


      I don't know about you, but for me Christmas was the best day of the year (the last day of school before summer vacation comes in a close second).
     Christmas morning was always great fun for my brother Steve and me. I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was seven or eight years old, but I still believed in getting presents no matter who or what the source.
    My parents were happy to oblige us. They were always generous in their gift giving, and never failed to keep us busy, in the early hours of December 25th, opening presents.
     I don't mind saying that nowadays, though still exciting, Christmas is a lot less the event it was back then. These Christmas mornings my wife and I usually sleep in then enjoy a cup of coffee before opening up our gifts.
     There happens to be one Christmas I remember quite  fondly. My parents lacked adequate storage areas in our row home. This particular holiday my brother and I received a couple of larger items, a pool table and a couple of bikes. One morning, about five days before Christmas, we saw that there was a sign on the basement door. It read 'KEEP OUT'. Because our basement door did not lock, keeping us out of there would have probably required an armed guard. About thirty seconds  after reading the note, we snuck down there and were overjoyed with what we saw.
     Of course on Christmas morning we acted surprised as hell when we tore down the basement steps and once again laid eyes on our goodies.
     One quick note about the pool table. It was not one of the fancier models. In fact, it was somewhat cheap. We had to keep putting stuff under the legs to keep it level (eventually it became about a foot higher then when purchased). Then to top it off, the surface beneath the felt was some type of plywood, which didn't hesitate to warp in our humid basement. After a while, Steve and I became rather adept at playing on the crooked thing and supplemented our allowances playing against friends unfamiliar with plywood surfaced pool tables.

     Warps and all, my brother and I loved that pool table, and, once they were able to conquer the tricks of its stubbornly uneven surface, our friends did too.