Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope you are making some amazing family memories.
The Sears family Christmas story happened the year we spent Christmas with my grandparents in Texas. They used to winter down there in a mobile home park with a bunch of other oldies. We may have Christmased down there a couple times, so my memories of the place are all mushed together. My favorite memories are some of the most swirly and twisty, and that’s of our visits to Mexico. The worst is of a Mexican Kmart or something like it. Just like an American Kmart or Walmart, but more of everything that’s unpleasant and about those places, especially to a a kid–people I couldn’t understand, being their forever while the adults looked for whatever it was they needed, impatient and tired parents and grandparents, like a nightmare. The best is also very dreamlike, but pleasant. It was some kind of big indoor/outdoor shopping center, in the evening I think. I remember the smells of street food and leather, incense and aftershave, dad’s cigarettes and mom’s vanilla. And all the leather crafts and carved stone animals, bandito marionettes and swinging bamboo snakes, and the pottery–plates and cups and smiling suns. And the smiling Mexicans in the shops and my folks bargaining with them, and no you can’t get a bullwhip, and keeping and eye on us, afraid we’ll wander off and then be snatched away, so stand right there and pick out a carved donkey, and one of the shopkeepers switching out the little donkey I’d picked out and wrapping up a broken one in newspaper instead. And the sounds of piped in music in the shops and real music in the street, and Spanish Spanish Spanish bring spoken everywhere. And despite the discomfort at all the foreignness my folks may have been feeling, I was with them and I felt safe.
It’s no wonder that during a Christmas like this Santa might not realize that he dropped a G.I. Joe white tiger action set on the porch roof back in Abilene, only to be discovered by two amazed kids upon our return.