Back in 1995, one of our local newspapers, The Ottawa Sun, held a contest in which they asked readers to send in their best “Holiday Horror Stories”. Despite the title, they were just looking for lighthearted stories recounting when holiday festivities didn’t go as planned. I knew exactly which story to tell, and that was the holiday of 1992 when Murphy’s Law was alive and well at my apartment! I decided to put my true story to prose to give it a little more of a comedic lilt. Sure enough, I made it to the winner’s circle and the Sun published a few excerps from the poem. My prize was tickets to a fabulously swanky New Year’s Eve bash. Unfortunately, Murphy wasn’t finished with me yet, and I came down with an ear infection and couldn’t go.
I still get a chuckle when I read this one, and I hope you enjoy it too!
A Christmas Story (written in December 1995)
T’was the morning of Christmas in 1992,
When I woke in the morning with a lousy flu,
“What rotten timing, oh please go away”,
I thought to myself as I started the day.
Got out of bed, in my feverish haze,
And checked my list for the plans of the day.
A cake to make, a shower to take,
A shirt to press, and gifts to dress.
With things to do, all due by two,
I downed my Dimetapp and vitamin C, too.
Put on my housecoat since the morning chill
Had frosted the window and adjoining sill.
I wrapped some gifts, but as it would be,
I ran out of tape when I still had three.
So I improvised as best I could do,
And secured the wrap with ribbon and glue.
“A hot shower, I thought, would be sure to help,
To perk me up and feel closer to health”,
Turned on the tap, to gurgles and squeaks
I waited patiently, what seemed like a week.
To no avail, hot water was rare,
Picked up the phone, the super wasn’t there.
They’ve let me down, time in and time out,
Reminded myself, I had to move out.
“This game just got harder,” I plotted away,
As I thought to my list, the plans of the day.
Along with this flu, much care must I take
To not pass germs in the Christmas cake
So sterile pans, I began to prepare
As kettles and pots boiled water with care.
But so much power, was Hydro abuse
The box screamed out, as I blew a fuse.
Where are fuses, on December 25?
I thought to myself, and an aimless drive.
So I switched the fuse with another 15,
From a part of the room, I thought I wouldn’t need.
When this episode had passed, and having such a ball,
The super had rang to return my call,
The boiler is dead, he advised with regret,
A part is missing, won’t be ready yet….
“But how long?” I asked, a shower yet to find,
-“I really don’t know, these things take time.”
So the choice was clear, boil water again,
Or call for help from family or friend.
So I picked up the phone and called my Mom,
And quickly recounted how my morning had gone.
Through motherly love, goodwill and good cheer,
I seized the chance to get the heck outa here!!!
So I packed my clothes, the presents and cake
And ran outside with much much haste
To the rental car which I could not find
Under piles of snow… y’know, the heavy kind!
So I brushed and brushed, til I could no more
Til my reflection appeared in the windows and doors.
I quickly stopped and went a tad insane
The car wasn’t mine, under that freezing rain!
Like panning for gold, I checked the whole lot,
But found my car in the very next spot,
So I cleaned it off as best I could,
And hit the road safely,…. touch wood.
The day wound up so festive and bright,
Our family laughed and sang, what seemed all night,
A perfect Christmas, all the trimmings and bows.
A much better way to bring the day to a close.
So I laugh it off, year after year,
The comedy of errors, the hassle, the tears.
The crappiest Christmas, what else can you do,
Like the one I had, back in 1992!