A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
We are rapidly approaching that time of year when our thoughts turn to the joys of the Christmas season and where we can dig up enough cash to buy a can of turkey flakes for dinner and a bottle of grain alcohol to set ablaze to warm the traditional pudding.
Last year, if you can remember, the jug without a label you found behind the furnace was a tad over-proof and the resulting conflagration set fire to the tablecloth, the centerpiece, and Uncle Louie who had passed out and was face-down in the gravy boat. As usual two cruisers, an ambulance, a fire truck complete with aerial ladder, and a CTV news team showed up within minutes to add to the yuletide atmosphere. The fire persons dragged Louie out in the snow and hosed him down. He thanked them politely, shook their hands as drunks often do and said, “That last Caesar had quite a bite to it. Best put a little less nitroglycerin in the next one.”
Since the fire was mostly confined to the tabletop and a few sparks on the dog Roscoe, I have no idea why the other fire persons pumped 5,000 gallons of ice-cold into the dining room, washing what was left of the Christmas turkey (and, thank God, those dreadful Brussels sprouts) down the stairs and into the basement, but what do I know about firefighting or anything else for that matter. Fortunately, the children had their noses buried in their cell phones and only looked up when the chandelier exploded, but even then only long enough to see if there was a wineglass they could drain when no one was looking.
In retrospect, leaving Uncle Louis alone with the CTV lady was perhaps a mistake, but she handled his advances quite efficiently. He was only in intensive care until March and by July was able to open both eyes although not at the same time.
It is November 24 and almost time for my helpful advice column to assist the befuddled in the confusing but ever-so important task of choosing just the right gift for a loved one and even one for your spouse. I am chagrined to admit in the past some of my suggestions were given without much thought on my part, and even less on yours. Some ideas were even stupid and others admittedly mean spirited and hardly meant to enhance the love we so long for at this joyous season.
The mustache cup for the woman worrying about unwanted facial hair certainly got a laugh on Christmas morning, but the resulting painful removal of same from her husband’s nether orifice took the humour out of the situation somewhat. I had no idea how expensive rubber ring cushions were and suspect the manufacturers are guilty of taking advantage of those people suffering from prolonged bleeding and what sounds like wind chimes on a blustery day. As for the nose hair trimmer, enough said. Therefore, I may or may not, offer my timely suggestions this year, at least until after my psychiatric assessment.
Nor will I be offering the recipe for my world-famous Charles Dickens Punch after the unfortunate poisoning. It was an unintentional blunder, a misprint actually. What was supposed to be six shots of Metaxa Greek Brandy was listed as six scoop shovels of Metamucil, an easy mistake to make if you have already tried the Metaxa and are weaving in front of a computer.
The Dickens punch itself is simply excellent and if you can ever get your hands on an unexpurgated edition of A Christmas Carol it is what Ebenezer had been drinking before he showed up at his nephew Fred’s house for Christmas dinner stark naked.
Before I get into more serious matters, let me say a word or several about the consumption of alcoholic beverages. I don’t suppose many of you have ever been to a liquor store, nor could I recommend it, having never been inside one, but from what I understand the LCBO in December is a wino’s dream come true. There are rare vintages imported all the way from Niagara on the Lake and other exotic places. There are Single Malt Scotches on the shelves and some under lock and key, one or two for less than a month’s groceries. They have rums so delightful that you have to dress up like a pirate and lift your leg in the air. Anything you have ever wanted to try to eat away what’s left of your brain cells is on display and all are gift wrapped and offered at a price any Indian Rajah can afford – as for the rest of us, maybe not.
Next week, a Christmas story, the Little Match-Girl Person – you’ll need a hanky.