Monday, December 26, 2011
We were just like every other kid in the world, is what I'm saying.
Kids who celebrate Christmas, that is.
And like most families, we had a few time-honored traditions that made the holiday season even more special. For example, after opening our presents and enjoying them for at least a couple hours, Mom and Dad would take us across town to our grandma's house where the routine would start all over again. Another round of spectacular games and toys -- and one Foot Fixer by Clairol, on that Christmas That Will Live in Infamy -- followed by a nice dinner of turkey or ham with all the trimmings. Most Christmases, we would then head down to Florida for a week or so to visit my mom's family.
In addition to these fine traditions, there has always been one other small-but-significant detail that has made every Christmas complete. I am of course referring to the Pillsbury Orange Sweet Rolls.
For as long as I can remember, Mom would diligently prepare a pan of those scrumptious danish with the orange frosting, and we'd munch away as we opened our presents. It just wasn't Christmas without them. In fact, for the past several years, my wife Theresa has whipped up a batch for us to enjoy on Christmas morning, before heading down to my parents' house.
Pillsbury Orange Sweet Rolls are to Christmas morning what turkey is to Thanksgiving, trick-or-treating is to Halloween, and getting totally rip-roaring drunk is to New Years' Eve. The orange-flavored icing on the cake, so to speak.
Until this year.
Before I continue with the story, I have to share with you my mother's opinion that in many of my stories, I tend to make her look like "the bad guy," that I'm unfairly harsh in my retelling of events. Personally, I call this "responsible and accurate reporting," but in the interest of fairness, I thought it best if I make you aware of an opposing viewpoint. Of course, this "opposing viewpoint" is held by a grown woman who would, on more than one occasion, chase her pre-adolescent sons down the upstairs hallway, wielding a stretch of plastic track from a Hot Wheels set yelling, "Come back here right this minute, or you're getting this across your butt!"
So I leave it to you to judge her credibility as we proceed.
Since our kids are older and therefore do not pounce on us anymore, Theresa and I woke up this Christmas morning at around ten o'clock. At least that's when I woke up. Theresa was already up and around at this point, so to be honest, she could've risen at dawn for all I know. Since we had planned on heading to my parents' at noon, there was no urgent need for breakfast. Theresa hadn't prepared the orange danish, but I didn't figure this would be a problem since my mother was sure to have taken care of it.
Little did I know.
So we arrived at my folks' where Mom was busily preparing dinner for the houseload of people that would arrive shortly. Turkey, ham, three different kinds of stuffing, various pies, almost everything one could hope for on Christmas day.
I do not mean to sound ungrateful here, but somehow my mother had forgotten all about the traditional Pillsbury orange danish. To make matters worse, if that is even possible, when I politely brought this egregious oversight to her attention, she didn't seem to know what I was talking about.
"What do you mean, where are the orange danish?" she asked.
"You know, the Pillsbury orange danish that we've had every single Christmas since I was a little kid."
She seemed incredulous. I guess overwhelming pangs of guilt can cause one to feign surprise. "I haven't made those in years."
"You're joking, right? Where are they?"
"Chris, why would I make orange danish?"
"Why WOULDN'T you?"
We went back and forth like that for several minutes, so to bolster my argument (which really shouldn't have been necessary when you stop to think about it) I turned to my brother Eric and asked, "You remember the orange danish don't you? That we have every year?"
I guess he didn't want to hurt Mom's feelings or something, because he said, "I remember having them, but not that it was some kind of tradition."
So then I asked our other brother Bobby. His reply?
"I don't know what you're talking about."
At this point I must have been carrying on a bit, maybe acting like a baby about all this, because Theresa said, "You know, you're acting like a baby about all this."
Easy for her to say. She hadn't been looking forward to orange danish for 364 days.
Aside from that (which is sort of like the old question "Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"), our Christmas was very nice and dinner was outstanding. Mom did a wonderful job as always, which is why we all love her so much. One of the reasons, anyway.
But next year, Mom?
Don't forget the danish, please.