Throughout my late teens and early 20’s, I avoided my family during the holidays. Sgt. Mom’s rigorous holiday schedule made Christmas seem more like boot camp than a joyous occasion and I can count on one hand the number of conversations I had with my dad during that time. Instead, I usually spent the holidays in a bar with like-minded people, desperate to mask my loneliness with contempt for my parents. Though not all of my holidays were lonely, the apostasy of my adolescence led to more holes than it filled.
My predilection for self-reflection has made the Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, a holiday favorite of mine. Whether it’s Mickey and Scrooge McDuck, The Muppets and Michael Caine or even the divine Vanessa Williams in A Diva’s Christmas Carol, the thought of being visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come has always fascinated me.
My Ghost of Christmas Past would likely be some forgotten trick and my journey into the past would likely land me in 2002 (or at least I’d like it to).
It was a snowy Christmas Eve in Savannah, GA- the kind of snow that doesn’t fall from the sky. Around last call someone suggested Christmas in Charleston, South Carolina. A friend of a friend booked an employee rate at some hotel and in the middle of the night we fueled up and made our way to Charleston listening to Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow’s Picture the entire way.
The sun came up, we went down and woke up early that afternoon wondering just why the hell we decided to go to Charleston and what the hell we were going to do now that we were there. Maid in Manhattan (oh J.Lo) and triple cheeseburger platters at the Huddle House turned out to be one of the answers; I’m still searching for the other.
While not the greatest reflection of the Christmas Spirit, these holiday celebrations were the ones I identified with for a large part of my 20’s.They say you have to know where you’ve been to see where you’re going; maybe that’s the key to enjoying Christmas Present. Bring on the ghosts, Jacob Marley.