Holiday Memories
by Matthew Chase

So, I was out shopping with my guy the other day closing out my seasonal shopping, when I was upset to see that though I was in a good mood, no one else seemed to be. I was all smiles and happiness, and even the lady at the register was a sour puss. What is it with people not smiling anymore? How completely frustrating! I was just getting into the car, and this guy was idly watching me from his car. (I’m assuming his compatriot was in the store.) So I looked right back at him and smiled. I didn’t think it was possible, but the man actually frowned MORE. It looked as though he had a rotten egg under his nose. What the hell is up with that? I wanted to scream at him, “What’s wrong with happy people in this world???”

christmassmiles.jpgMust we all make others miserable for no reason? I work in a very stressful environment, with upset guests unhappy because we don’t carry any jacuzzi tubs in any of the rooms, or if there isn’t any snow on the mountain. (My imaginary response to the latter is “I’m sorry, I left my wand and wings in my other pants, but as soon as I get home I’ll do a snow dance for you.”) You really can’t say that sort of thing in my field of work, but there are days… Anyway, smiling and being the pleasant person, is kind of my job. It falls under the whole performance aspect of my personality, because no matter how upset I am with the world, when I come into work, I smile and act as though everything is right as rain and perfectly marvelous! I know that for some people this is really a chore. However I suppose I am glad that I’m not swamped with fake happiness during the season, I feel that there should be at least a little real happiness during this season. When I’m shopping for my family, I’m trying to find things they will like, which makes me remember fond times, and naturally, I’m smiling as I look about. I know that the lines can get long, and that sometimes the store is out of stock in the things that we might have wanted to purchase, but is that a reason to treat our fellow shoppers as though it is all their fault? Start smiling people. No matter what anyone says, it IS contagious and sooner or later, someone will smile back. It only has to start with one person.

Well Ok, that’s enough of a rant on that subject, how about some memories? Christmas morning has always been a time that I look forward to. Though over the years it has changed from wanting to open presents; to looking forward to the annual big breakfast with the family. (My mother makes some mean pancakes, without cheating with bisquick.) I used to have the hardest time actually sleeping on Christmas Eve, one year I remember spending the entire night looking out the window, scanning for Rudolph’s red nose, I never saw it, but sure enough Santa had visited, and all was right with the world. I remember one year I had been particularly mischievous, and got two lumps of coal in my
stocking, with a small 3x5 card explaining that Santa was disappointed with me, but didn’t feel I was bad enough to warrant a removal of all of my gifts. I recall being upset and I fob.jpegthink I might have cried. But the impact was there. I remember that was the same time I got FOB. Fob is a creature from the land of “Teddy Ruxbin” that kind of creepy talking bear with the cassettes. Fob was an orange and brown oddity with a round head with antennae, a beak and a squat body with flippers and a tail. (Can we find a picture of this thing???) It worked as a sock puppet, with a sock style sleeve that served as the neck, enabling it to look elongated or squat, kind of like the neck on some E.T. figures. I was surprised and happy to get it and that year I also received one of those “SNO- tubes”. Another great invention! Anyway I recall that particular year I was playing at being “Santa” and placed all my gifts into the sno-tube and was trying to drag everything up into my room, when everything fell down the stairs and landed in a heap on the floor. I recall running down and though nothing seemed wrong, I had broken the mechanism that worked my poor new friend’s mouth. Fob would always speak in a whisper from that day forward because his mouth would only open about an eighth of its potential. That was a particularly rough year for our budding fairy. But I still have Fob, and I recall that Christmas every time I hold him.

Another year I can recall from my youth, occurred about a year after the great Cabbage Patch Kid craze of the 80’s. My brothers and I all wanted one, and because of the outrageous price and low availability, Santa had passed our house over. But I recall waking up Christmas morning before anyone else, (A Matthew tradition broken only by my nephew Ethan just a few years ago.) coming downstairs, and seeing three of the popular toys in front of the tree. Mine; was named “Gary Hugh” and I still have his original outfit. (Sans the shoes, and those odd diapers they came with.) Gary and I had a lot of fun that year playing with my other toys, including one of the lions from the popular cabbagepatch.jpg“Voltron” cartoon show. I also received a Pogo stick from Santa that year. Boy did I ever suck at using it, but I can tell you now, I learned! I recall one year eating enough of that flavored popcorn to make myself quite ill.

One of the things that I used to look forward to every year as a kid, was a box of books. This was probably one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. Every year I could rely on a large selection of books. I can only assume that my folks spent all year collecting different books for this particular gift, and with three children, that is no small feat! However, every year I would find one large package containing a vast number of books for me to read. Many of these titles are in my collection for my children to one day read. I remember One in particular called: “13 Shadow Lane” I can’t recall the author, but it’s sitting on my bookshelf at home. It was advanced for my age, but not my reading level. I was reading young adult books for the eighth and ninth grade reading level when I was in first grade, so “13 Shadow Lane” was a cake walk. (Where did that phrase come from???) It was the first scary story I had ever read, and though it terrified me I recall reading it more than once a week for a while. A story I can also recall very well was a two part book called “The House On Hackmans Hill” It was something that my older brother had received, that I adopted. To this day that book gives me the willies. I enjoy being scared all year round, and that year was no exception.

tinwoodsman.jpgNow, as an adult I look forward to other things during the season. In my adult years, I have taken to collecting wooden nutcrackers, which are on display year round at my house. Every year I look forward to receiving at least one new nutcracker for my collection. Tragically due to a flood a couple years ago, my collection was ruined and I had to start from scratch. However once my friends and family heard that I was upset about loosing them, I was assaulted by nutcrackers from all sides. Last year I received a large glitter covered one, and four small ones from my family, and from Ms. J.W. Carbonell herself, I received a very rare “Wizard of Oz” Tin Woodsman nutcracker. I don’t have a clue if it was a limited edition or if it was even endorsed by MGM or the people who own the rights to the characters. But it is one of my favorites and I will take care not to let anything unfortunate happen to it. This past year also marks the first time I was ever given diamonds. My friend Nick, of whom I have spoken of in subsequent articles, bought me a stainless steel, gold, and diamond bracelet. It contains seven small diamonds in a neat row. It is simple, and tasteful, and I have worn it every day since I received it. I have never actually had anyone get me something with diamonds in it, and Nick said that after ten years I deserved them. I don’t know if he’s right, but the sentiment touched my heart and I will never forget that morning either. So as a closing, I would like to give a heartfelt thank you to my readers for bothering to go so far as to read my dribble, and a thanks to my friends for their unfailing generosity, and most important of all, to my folks for giving me one of the greatest gifts ever, the love of reading!

Until next week, I hope you find happiness in the days to come, joy in the coming holiday parties, and responsible enjoyment of friends, family, food, and beverage. Please remember to play safely in the coming weeks! I know I will! Happy Holidays from your resident Drag Queen!

Matthew doesn't always need his wand and wings for a snow dance.


Nice article, Matt. I want to know what you did to get TWO lumps of coal!


Last year I gave Matthew a Princess style phone in purples and pinks that told you you're daily horiscope. Within a few months, he killed it.

He didn't tell me he was gunna kill it!

But always the sentamentalist, Matthew still has it. ;)


including one of the lions from the popular “Voltron” cartoon show.

Voltron was cool. I forgot about those.


I loved this column, Matthew. You brought back a lot of really good memories.

But that Fob thing is creepy. Then again, so are Cabbage Patch kids.


My cabbage patch kid name was...

Glorina Faye

My sister's was worse...

Magneta Fernard.

Fun times...


my mom got a cabbage patch doll.

that was balls out creepy


What was even creepier was that it was named...

Turtle Rooster Sauce

I'm here all week


that actually sounds kinda good


Cabbage Patch Kids brought me a new best friend when I was a kid. I had just moved to FL from VT when I was 8 y/o. My cousin tried to cancell going to her best friend's 10th birthday because she had to hang out with me. Angie, my cousin's BF invited me to come along. When I arrived she had twin CPDolls. They had blonde hair and blue dresses and my mommy couldn't afford to get me one, so I fell in love with these dolls and wouldn't let them go throughout the party. Angie came up to me and started talking to me about her dolls. We chatted it up and laughed and that day Angie and I became best friends and my cousin kinda faded into the background and made other friends. This December 31st will be the 20th anniversary of our friendship. I'm the godmother to her son, and we still laugh about those stupid dolls, which I think she still has somewhere.


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