Memories Of Christmas.


Christmas at my house while I was growing up consisted mostly of four activities. Opening presents with lots of pictures being taken, my playing outside with the new toys. My parents watching a sporting event and becoming completely inebriated , and then trying to cook dinner while being three sheets to the wind.

I always knew when it was time to come home for dinner. The delicate aroma of burning animal flesh wafting down the street was always a clear indication that dinner was about to be served. Later on that night my father lit a fire in the fireplace. A bonfire!

An O'Neal Christmas tradition. A fire on Christmas night in Southern California.

He did stop short of using gasoline to start a fire, as the two pounds of crumpled newspaper would suffice. I remember fondly of throwing in the tattered Christmas wrapping paper and superfluous cardboard boxes into the fire. Stoking the flames to a temperature nearing that of the fires of prediction, all the while I was being cheered on by a very happy drunk.

The majesty of a live Christmas tree with the sweet scent of pine filling the room. The house decorated with soft glowing lights, stockings hung on the mantle, and for one brief moment in the morning while opening presents, the feeling of family.

That's what I will remember.