A SNEAKY Christmas Story
One of my love languages is "gifts". I love to think about gifts, buy gifts, wrap gifts, give gifts, and of course, receive gifts. ;) As a child, looking forward to Christmas also meant looking forward to the gifts I would get from my mom and dad plus all the other relatives and close friends.
Every year my brother and I would pour over the Sears and J.C.Penney
"wishbooks" as we pondered the top things we'd put on our wishlists. Mine almost always included dolls while my brothers was filled with violent things such as soldiers, toy weapons, and books about war...pretty funny considering he's one of the most gentle people I know....rather prophetic when you consider the fact that he is now a doctor at a veteran's hospital.
We always HOPED we'd figure out what we were getting for Christmas, and I look for clues even now, but deep down I really DON'T want to know as I truly DO enjoy the surprise involved when the wrappers are torn off and the gift is revealed.
One homeschool pal of mine, Sheri, not only dreamed about what she'd receive one Christmas, but she took matters into her own hands (and the hands of her brother) to discover EXACTLY what they'd be getting one year. Here is Sheri's story:
It was an accident...really and truly.
See, I had been at my friend Tammy's house a few days earlier and she introduced me to the art of snooping. It was Christmas break, all of our parents were at work, and armed with a razor blade and a roll of tape we went into her parents room trying to stifle our giggles. She dropped to the floor and army crawled under their bed where she pulled out a huge box, in that box were a multitude of presents. She smiled and handed me a blade and we set to work. Ever so gingerly I would slice the tape under Tammy's watchful eye, we would gently pull back the wrapping paper and exclaim "It's the Rick Springfield Cassette!!" or "It's a Strawberry Shortcake doll." at each exclamation she would promise I could come over the day after Christmas to listen to Rick on her new cassette player (yeah, we found that too) or play with her new dolls. Once we had opened every present we set to work rewrapping them, ever so carefully refolding the wrap around the boxes and measuring the tape to alarming exactness. Eventually all of the presents were rewrapped and placed back where they belonged...and it was time for me to go home. Tammy went to sleep dreaming of Christmas in a mere week...and I went home jealous as all get out over the fact that she knew what she was getting.
So the next day I did the only logical thing. "Hey Ken...wanna do something really cool?" I asked my brother impishly. He knew that grin already. Being around me for 10 years my brothers knew I could come up with some pretty hare brained schemes, but they were usually willing participants. After all, Ken and I dreamed of one day being on American Bandstand and it was MY dance moves that were gonna get us there! He looked up from his Louis L'amour book and eyed me as I danced around the living room. "What?"
He looked at me, "Why? So you can tell mom and get me in trouble?"
"Geesh Ken no!!! So we can play with our toys early!!!"
He looked back at his book, "If you want to snoop go ahead, but I will have no part of it," he called over the top of the paperback.
I grinned, not allowing myself to be deterred and headed down the hall anxious to see what I could find. I walked into my parents room and was met with a blast of cold air. I held my breath, there was something about there room was that forbidden. Possibly it was the fact that we weren't allowed to enter it. I slowed my paces and tiptoed past the bed. I stepped quickly to my dads dresser and opened the top drawer. This was their typical hiding place for small things. I shifted his underwear and socks around and was disappointed that there was nothing at the bottom of the walnut drawer. Quietly I closed the drawer and turned to my moms closet.
The doors slid easily as I scanned her top shelves, nothing looked out of place and nothing stood out as if it had been recently moved. I was really upset now, I slammed her closet door and thought. I was not allowed to open my dad's closet, I knew that. So I reopened moms door and stepped through the opening into dad's closet, there on the top shelf was a large Montgomery Ward bag I hadn't seen in the past. I stretched as far as my 10 year old body would allow me to but I couldn't quite reach, forgetting the rules and opening dad's closet door I ran down the hall "Kenny!! Kenny!! Come here quick!! I found 'em!"
Kenny was now in the kitchen pouring himself some orange juice. "I told you I want no part of it."
I thought quickly, "But the one I found is really big and says "to Kenny" on it!"
That did the trick. Ken dropped his cup of juice in the sink and followed me. I ran ahead and circled back "Come on!! Come on!!" I whispered.
He stopped at the doorway to our parents room. "You know we aren't allowed in here!"
I stuck my tongue out at him. "Are you gonna tell because I'm not!"
We stepped into the room and I led him to the closet. "LOOK!!" I pointed at the bag on the top shelf.
"I thought you said my name was on it." he mumbled.
"Kenny! I had to get you in here! Now get it down for me!"
He hesitantly reached up and pulled the heavy bag down. There were a few presents wrapped in the bag. "They're wrapped Sher...put 'em back we'll find out what they are on Christmas."
I smiled and reached into my pocket to pull out a roll of tape and a set of scissors. "Stand back! I know what I'm doing."
I grabbed the first package and gingerly cut it open while Kenny gasped in horror. "Don't worry!!" I shushed him. I pulled the wrapping paper away. "Berzerk? What's that?"
"It's an Atari game!" Ken answered, you could hear the excitement in his voice now.
He handed me another gift "OPEN IT!!" I smiled and sliced the tape. "OH MY GOSH! It's DONKEY KONG!" Ken jumped up, "There's got to be an Atari in here somewhere!" he started digging through the bottom of dad's closet and finally pulled from the depths a very large wrapped box, shoving it at me he practically screeched "OPEN IT SHER!!"
I took the box and fairly shook with excitement. Gingerly I cut the tape and pulled the paper back, we both began to scream. "AN Atari!! OH MY GOSH!"
I looked up at Ken a light in my eye "Let's play it!" I whispered.
Ken thought for a minute, and being the brilliant one he instantly deduced that we couldn't play the factory sealed games, our parents would notice. I sighed and began to rewrap the Atari and then went on to wrap the two games we had unearthed when Ken interrupted me, "Hey Sher...there's one more gift here, want to open it?"
"It's the same size as the other two, it's another game, one for each of us."
He handed it to me, "at least we can figure out WHICH game it is."
I took the package from his hands and ran the scissors across the tape. "It's Pac Man! How fun!"
Ken picked it up and I watched a grin spread from ear to ear. "And it's NOT factory sealed, LOOK!"
I grabbed the Atari System and untaped it. "Let's go!" I barked out at him.
We ran down the hall giggling and didn't stop until the system was set up. I jumped up and down with glee while Kenny warned me "If you tell we found this we are in BIG trouble Sher, you have to swear right now that you will never tell!" I rolled my eyes, "I can keep a secret!"
I sat on the floor by Ken and smiled at him as he handed me a controller. "You first." I hesitated. "I don't know how...you first." And thus began our Christmas vacation adventure.
Every day we would wake up eagerly, kiss our parents goodbye and sit on the couch giggling over our plans. We would stand at the window and wave goodbye. I am sure our parents thought we were so loving and caring, kissing them goodbye, carrying their items to the car for them...sometimes we would even start it so it would be warm...but in reality we were just waiting for the brakelights to go around the corner...at which point it would become a maneuver General Patton would be proud of. Ken would yell "GO TIME!" and run to our parents room, I would slide of the kitchen counter and grab the scissor and tape, rushing to meet him on the floor of their bedroom. Quickly and quietly we continued daily to unwrap the system and play games for 8 hours straight, then half an hour before they were due home we would fold the system back up and rewrap it. They were none the wiser.
We even began having friends over to play. I remember Tammy playing. We were getting away with the ultimate con. We were on a complete drug free high. Ken prayed every night that I would keep up my end of the bargain and not tell. In the end...I didn't.
On Christmas morning we all ran out excited over the prospect of a new Atari that didn't have to be wrapped up each day. We quickly located it and unwrapped it. Our father sat back in awe at how professional we were at hooking it up. I realize now we should have at least looked at the directions. He made a comment about how technical we obviously were. I felt guilt bubbling up in my chest. We weren't technical, we'd been doing it for 14 days straight!
Then we popped in PacMan...We instantly beat several levels. My mom was heard saying "Oh my gosh...they are SO good at this!" and the guilt worked its way up to my jaw.
I wavered back and forth, I had promised Ken I wouldn't tell but I felt so guilty. Our parents were sitting on the couch completely oblivious to our devious ways and were prepared to tell everyone how enormously talented we were...but we really weren't. I stood up, "Mom, dad...I have to tell you something."
And with that Ken's head snapped to the left. "SHERI NOOOOOOOOOOOOO" he screamed out.
I started crying.
"DANG YOU!!! YOU PROMISED!"
Mom looked questioningly at Ken then at me, then at Ken. Charles sat in the corner wondering what in the world his little brother and sister had done this time. When I blurted out "We've been playing the game every day of Christmas break, we unwrap it every morning when you leave for work and re wrap it before you get home."
My mom sat there with her eyes wide open, her chin hanging to her chest in stunned silence while my dad held a pillow over his face to stifle his laughter.
"I'm so sorry," I muttered.
"You BRAT!" Ken yelled.
"You guys are brilliant," Charles high fived Ken.
"Oh...and Charles," I started to say.
Kenny started yelling again, "Sheri...you promised"
"Ken let me play with the stuffed Garfield you got me in exchange for letting him read the book you got him."
You know it's funny...ever since that day my parents kept their gifts at my Aunts house in Cottonwood, a good 20 miles away and Charles never told anyone what he got someone for gifts again. And to this day...Ken won't trust me with a secret.
I can't understand why.
Kinda puts a new meaning to the concept of "home alone", doesn't it? ;)
For more of Sheri's witty writings, you can visit her blog at http://homeschoolblogger.com/sherilynn .