Hot Dogs for Christmas

The lights on the Christmas tree have not received the news, as they are still blinking wildly.  For all practical purposes Christmas is over.  A nap is being taken by the youngest of our bunch, and the only noise I hear in the house is the heat pump humming its pleasant tune.  Well, there is one more sound.  The fresh air delivery system, or better known as the stinky fan, is running in the bathroom, evidence that all of those wonderful Christmas goodies that we just had to have are doomed to the same place as the food we eat the rest of the year.  All of those pies and cakes, cookies and candies, things slaved away over, are down the drain, gone forever.

Paper is strewn everywhere.  I’m wondering if anyone received a bulldozer for Christmas and if we can get it moving quickly so as to restore our abode back to some sense of normalcy.  A bicycle sits idle parked next to the battery powered four-wheeler.  Soon these two ride-on wonders will likely bring loads of noise, I mean joy, to happy riders later on today.  One of our lovely daughters received enough beads to make a necklace for every citizen in our county, but for some reason, each one of those microscopic jewels is imbedded in our carpet.  I can already hear that thumping sound as they continue to work loose and shoot through the vacuum cleaner six months from now.

As my wife Katrina and I were discussing the activities of Christmas several weeks ago I made a mistake and opened my mouth.  By now I should have learned to be a bit more clever, but I am still on the learning curve.  That blunder cost me dearly.  You see, every year up until last year, Katrina has been sure to hang (handmade) stockings over the fireplace for each of our little blessings.  Last year however, in the Christmas rush, Katrina was unable to get a stocking made for our little Olivia, who was only one year old at the time, so we hoodwinked the kids into skipping the stocking ritual, to which they were none the wiser.  Well, stupid me.  I had to open my mouth this year and remind her of our blunder, so she went out of her way to sew Olivia’s stocking this year.  Not only did it cost me several trips to multiple stores hunting for stocking stuffers, but it also impeded my sleep as “Mrs. Clause” stuffed the enlarged socks for an hour.

Speaking of hoodwinked, we sure enough pulled a good one on the younger kids this year.  Back when the heat was on the outside of our walls, Katrina envisioned the children playing in their very own playhouse, to which I objected immensely.  My objection was mainly due to the large amount of time that would be invested in creating such a structure, especially built to the standards of my Katrina.  Eventually I got my mind right and came around, and a few days before October’s end I commenced to building a floor for our “building”.

The kids were all excited to see me working on a building project, and I just worked away at it, even incorporating there help at times through the process.  Knowing that I already had a storage building, their curiosity would get the best of them, and they would ask me why I was building another shed.  I quickly established the common answer that this was a “building to put things in”.  They never knew all along that this building was to put their things in.  Most of the kids pretty much just went along with it, but Bradley was a tough sell through the whole event over the past several weeks.  He just couldn’t quite understand why we needed another “building to put things in.”

As the building project progressed, windows were mounted, including quite a fancy one in the shape of a heart.  Flower boxes were added, along with a nice set of shutters on either side of the windows.  When the outside was pretty much completed and I moved to the inside, the children were kept away while Daddy worked on the “big secret” in the building.  Little did they know that I was building a nice loft and ladder on the inside that would make a cozy place for them to sleep in their new little residence, their little home away from home.

We saved the best for last this morning.  Yes, after the roaring tornados ripped open package upon package, they were still none the wiser.  They had not suspected a thing all along.  After the dust of the wrapping paper settled late this morning, we got them all dressed and walked them out to their big surprise.  They burst in the door expecting to see some object that I had been working on, and instead, they were actually in the object that I had been working on.  They were excited and amazed with their fancy little house complete with its upstairs loft.  Mommy had done quite a job on Christmas Eve rolling out a carpet and moving several items of kids’ furniture from their bedrooms to their new play place.  They were sure enough surprised!

Bradley seemed to be the most thankful of all.  After we had finished our Christmas lunch and they had played out in there playhouse for awhile, Bradley came into the house, and all on his own came up to me, gave me a big hug, looked me in the eye, and said, “Thank you Daddy for our new playhouse!”  What a nice blessing.

For just a moment in the quiet of the afternoon, Joshua and I were sitting in the living room enjoying the silence when Joshua asked me what we were having for dinner.  I couldn’t imagine why he could be thinking of food, but he looked at me so serious and said, “Can we have hot dogs for dinner?”  I told him we’d see, and then I thought back to all of the gifts and all of the fuss, and then remembered about Joshua and his candy bar.  He had told Katrina that he wanted a candy bar for Christmas.  That’s all, just a candy bar.

Well, Santa’s helper made sure that Joshua got a very large Hershey bar in his stocking, and I believe that he was more excited about that hunk of chocolate than just about anything else opened all day.  Just a simple little boy with his simple little candy bar.  All of that fancy food, turkey and dressing, cakes and pies, and all he desired was to have a candy bar and perhaps a hot dog for dinner.

I believe I like Joshua’s idea.  Let’s get back to normal and have some plain ole food.  Maybe we could even make up a song while we cook dinner tonight:

“Hot dogs roasting on an open fire…”

Written by David Steen, with God smiling, December 25, 2010.

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