Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I Believe in Oscar the Grouch

Today is my little sister's birthday. She was born on Dec. 22, 1972, and she was a planned C-Section so my mom could bring the baby home for Christmas. However, the best laid plans (Ha! No pun intended, Mom!) went awry, and instead Mom and the baby were in the hospital for Christmas Day, too.

And that's the first time I felt I got screwed by having a sibling.

I wasn't that impressed with the baby. Yeah, yeah, curly brown hair, chocolate brown eyes, little pink chubby cheeks and rosebud mouth, I get it that she's cute, but hello! She has no teeth! I knew from my grandparent's farm that even baby pigs have teeth. This baby was defunct and should be returned. But no one would listen, so she stayed with us.

She was always funny, with her little outfits and dolls and her obsession with Ace bandages (she always had some fake injury wrapped - it's a miracle my parents didn't get any visits from the DHS), and she would sneak out of bed with me in the middle of the night to make a fort in the house to sleep in. We would build sand castles together on our beach and swim, and we often only had each other to play with because there weren't many kids on the lake where we lived. Until I was in Junior High and turned into The Most Evil Older Sister on the Planet, she was my best friend. But the best thing about my sister as a kid was that instead of believing in Santa, she believed in Oscar the Grouch. We actually had the song playing now on a 45 and listened to it as one of our Christmas songs for the holidays.

It's not that she didn't believe in Santa; she did. But to her, no mystical creature came alive like Oscar the Grouch. He was real, right down to his smelly garbage can and pet worm. Some parents try to get people to dress up as Santa and come over to freak the kids out. I think I've mentioned before that my parents were drinkers, so on Christmas Eve, they staged a visit from Oscar the Grouch.

I think it started with a bottle (or box) of Rossi wine and some classy beer, like Red, White and Blue or Old Milwaukee's Best Light, and next thing you know, a bunch of giggling adults are on our patio. Soon, my mom comes in and calls for my sister. She runs downstairs in her flannel two piece pajamas, looks out the door, and screams. Oscar the Grouch is on our patio.

Apparently the tipsy adults crammed our Italian neighbor into a metal garbage can, put a green wig or tablecloth or fur over his head, and covered the trash can with Christmas lights. He barely opened the top of the garbage can, and talked to my sister.

OG: "Hey! Is that Natalie!?!"
OG: "I hate Christmas!!"
OG: "I hope Santa brings me some trash!"
OG: "Why aren't you in bed, little girl!?"
N: "You smell bad, Oscar."
OG: (laugh/choking) "What do you want, I live in a garbage can!"
(Suspicious amount of smoke coming out of garbage can, and the pop of a beer can.)
MOM: "Okay, Natalie, it's time to come in..."
N: "Mom, what's wrong with Oscar?"
MOM: "Come in or Santa won't be able to come."
N: "Goodbye Oscar!"
OG: "Goodbye Little Girl! I hate Christmas!"

(Laughing adults leave drunk Oscar stuck in garbage can. Loud clanging noise on patio later. Parents tell us it was Santa. Did Santa also throw up in the yard?)

And thus, another normal family memory is created. Because we did put the Fun in Dysfunctional. I have a picture of this event, but I don't know if I can find it. If I do, I will post.

Happy Birthday Natalie! I hope you got gifts and they weren't wrapped in Christmas paper! Because this lovely birthday memory has Christmas all over it. It's enough to turn you into Oscar the Grouch, no?



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