Thursday, December 12, 2019

Apocalyptic Christmas Gift

How To Survive The Zombie Apocalypse: The Complete Guide To Urban Survival, Prepping and Zombie Defense. by [Jackson, Ben]
2016 was a momentous time for us. After my husband's mother died, we felt a tie being broken. That was when we decided we could move. We had been in our house for 27 years, our children were adults far away, and we needed to be in a community where we could settle for our (hopefully long) senior years.

Box after box, Goodwill trips, trash bins were all part of the experience until we handed our life over to the moving company. Soon our new house was a wall of boxes.

Finding another box to unpack had become routine in our new house. At first there would be a "OhLookatThis!" then there would be a moment of discovery and/or disappointment.  With big sighs or sadness, the box was either unpacked OR closed up to be pitched out.  When will  this stop, I had asked.  When. Will. This. Stop.


This was one of the many strange boxes, one that had been hidden in garage rafters, where dust and mites had settled.  Movers had followed blind orders and brought this one to here. On the lid of a battered cardboard box  were words written in our son’s peculiar handwriting, with his peculiar humor. This was a Christmas present for his father.

“If Zombies or commies or Red Chinese attack or Christmas 2013 comes first: Break the seals and open.  Open and prepare your body for Thunder Dome (That is probably the new law).”

I did open the lid, but all the warnings did not come to fruition. Written upside down (for the unfortunate opener) were directions:

(on one side) “These are for laundry, tourniquets, and needless hangings” with an arrow pointing down.

(next side) “Done cleaning? Make your broom do double duty to kill zombies.” Arrow pointing down.

(Last side) “ Instrumental CD which was a combination of music from Jaws + Dune + 1812 Overture.

Strangely, the only contents of the box missing were only the broom (s), but included two pair of binoculars.  And it did include some awesome knives, which were apparently the real present for his father that Christmas.  

Our son has grown to have a successful life and career, become a husband and father. and has maintained his peculiar sense of humor. 

Do we still have some boxes? I know that we do, but it may take a while to find them.  And then what, I ask. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

December Winter and Our Old House

Our old house
“An old house is a cold house” and all farming families knew this to be true.  Cold seeped through every crack and crevice, between lathing and ancient plaster, around windows, even through the electric outlets, and our own old house was no exception.

Vacant since before electricity and plumbing, our old house was barely livable, but we would be moving in the second day of September.  After tremendous effort, only the first floor would barely meet our needs, with the second floor having only one bulb.

Winter was brutal that year.  Deep snow surrounded our house, challenging every board and window. Non-insulated water pipes froze along with the newly laid septic line. Now that 1958-59 winter was called the "mini-ice age".

It took our strong parents who had lived in other old houses to stoke coal and oil in kitchen and front room heaters, cover every bed with elderly wool quilts, and surround us five children with warmth and family.

In evenings, we all gathered together in the front room with books, blankets and sweaters, and an ancient black and white television. Nothing was different to us children.  This was life as we knew it. 
Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people sitting, people standing and child
Robert, Mary, Don, Bill, and me 1959
Even though upstairs was bitter cold enough to freeze a glass of water solid, our house sheltered us while layers of wool warmth covered three older children sleeping there. Below, our parents, with toddlers, slept in the darkness of a December winter.

Image may contain: 7 people, people smiling, people sitting, child and indoor
At Grandma's house
front: Robert, Bill, me
back: Don, Mary, Dad, Mom

I confess that my eyes are tearing up as this is being written.  Images sharp as the day our lives were lived out in this old house linger before me.  The wool quilts, heaters where we stood, and the laughter echoing in hollow walls surround me.


Sunday, December 8, 2019

Santa! Oh, Santa, you rascal!

Santa and Satan
The year 1959 was a year of change for my family.  We moved onto a farm where we would live until 1995.  So many adventures and so many memories arise from that time.

But, here is one memory that we were fortunate to miss.  I never knew that side of Santa Claus’ life, which apparently originated from Mexico. “Santa Claus”, produced in 1959, and translated into English.  


Santa is preparing for his yearly journey at his Toyland Castle in space.  While children helpers from all over the world sing,

Santa plays the organ while leering at the screen. 

Merlin the Wizard does a little hop-dance to check stuff out at his magical telescope, fitted with a creepy blue eye.

Santa and Merlin the Wizard

Mechanical reindeer
When he needs help, Merlin the Wizard gives Santa a special powder to induce sleep and a magic key to open any door. Vulcan provides Santa with mechanical reindeers.

Nothing goes well or holds a modicum of possible logic.

YouTube trailer

YouTube in its entirety. 1 hour and 34 min. 

The movie is thoroughly ridiculous, Santa Claus is totally creepy, to the level that it feels like someone should report him.  You may watch the film in its entirety on YouTube if you are a glutton for punishment.  Fast-forward would be essential here.

So why did I post this?

We saw this at the theater in RiffTrax presentation. Movies of this lack of quality are narrated by the three guys from Mystery Space Science 3000. They bring a level of satire to this movie.  This is why I pulled this one out of my vault of Christmas movies.

Plus, Alex Cavanaugh recommended the RiffTrax movies generally because they are ludicrous.  I trust his judgment implicitly. 

P.S. On-screen text narrated immediately before "The End":

Blessed are those who believe
For they shall see God...

Go figure.