We'd review everyone's name in the car and it was like reciting Santa's reindeer with a country twist: Aunt Tootsie, Aunt Dixie, Aunt Fredda, Aunt Emmer, Aunt NeeNee, Aunt Sarah, Aunt Frances, Uncle Ernest, Uncle Frank and Uncle Skeeter. And then all of the cousins: Wayne, Kay, Shannon, Brent, P.D., Larry, Rebecca, and Neil. To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall, now dash away, dash away, dash away all.
And like jolly old elves the aunts and uncles were lively and merry and lavished us with food, drink, and gifts. The cousins would run around Aunt NeeNee's house like animals let loose from their cages (one of my mother's favorite phrases) or head out to play with Aunt NeeNee's three-legged dog, Moose.
And it was great. Until . . .
Someone would give me and my little sister see-through pajamas or a see-through nightie as our Christmas gift. Did they not realize that we were little kids? Oh, the mortification! I'd hold up the embarrassing item; it would always look more like something a grown woman would wear than a little girl. Of course, the aunts were all much older than my dad and he was in his late 30s. But still, how hard is it to pick age-appropriate gifts for children?
"Try it on!" the aunts and uncles would holler. "We want to see if it fits." They'd roar with laughter and I'd shake my head no. No way was I trying on see-through stuff in front of everyone. Ick! Triple ick! They were probably all kidding, but still, I just wanted to melt into the area rug.
These garments were also always made of flammable material. It said so right on the tag. FLAMMABLE. And considering I set my plastic trash can on fire for kicks once, the last thing I needed was flammable, see-through sleepwear.
Ah, the ghosts of Christmas Gifts Past...gotta love 'em.