Teetotally Christmas memories

Published 8:29 am Wednesday, December 24, 2008

By By MaryClaire Foster
As a writer, you are sometimes challenged whether by yourself or someone else to try to liven up your style, which can mean writing in a wholly unfamiliar way.
In my column last week, I tried to not write in first person, and in my opinion I failed miserably. I hate what I wrote, but I like the challenge it presented me. It might be hard to think outside of the box, but it’s always worth having a challenge and trying your hand at it. I learned some things and hope to try it again with better results, just not today.
Another challenge I’ve been presented lately is spicing up senior living. It had gotten a little mundane so I’ve begun just speaking with the person and asking them questions based on what they tell me, instead of running down a list. So far I think it’s proven to be more enjoyable, and even though I’ve always enjoyed the interviews they’ve become even better in my mind too.
One of my recent favorite questions is what are your favorite holiday traditions and/or memories? It’s had me thinking of my own traditions and memories and had me chuckling as I was driving around the other day.
Growing up, my parents were dedicated in making sure my brothers and I believed in all of the mythical holiday figures. Of course they did the usual, leaving the half drunk milk and half eaten cookies and reindeer’s carrots, but they would go the extra mile too.
One of my favorite Christmas memories is about our elf, Teetotallyterrific.
Teetotally, as I liked to call him, was our assigned Christmas elf. Teetotally was one of the many elves in the world sent by Santa to spy on children for his naughty and nice list. Teetotally was actually a stuffed elf that came alive when you weren’t looking and that’s how he knew if we’d been bad or good.
We still have Teetotally and just this past weekend when I went by him on the stairs I gave him a little pat on the head and said hello.
Another Christmas memory I’ll never forget is going to visit my aunt and uncle in Savannah, Ga.
We would all pile in what was for many years a station wagon and drive the 8 hours to see them with all of our belongings strapped to the top of the car long before those luggage shells were popular.
One Christmas when I was 11, I hit the jackpot with gifts getting way too many clothes from my favorite store and on the return trip we loaded everything in bulging suitcases to the top of the car.
There we are driving down I-20 close to Atlanta, and we hear a flapping. I swear before my mom could even say, “Phil, what’s that?” we heard a suitcase fly off the roof.
Yes, my suitcase packed with all my new Christmas clothes, and as I look out the back window, I watch them all scatter across three lanes of traffic.
Next thing I know we’re pulled over on the side of the road and my dad has entered into a real life version of the arcade game Frogger, but instead of just trying to get across the road dodging traffic he’s picking up my clothes and dodging traffic.
All the while, my mother is trying to scream at my father over the 18-wheelers whizzing by when he goes back for one last measly sock.
It was the first time I ever heard my mom cuss, and I have never laughed so hard in my laugh.
Even though most of my clothes ended up with tire tracks on them, it is still one of my favorite Christmas memories.
MaryClaire Foster is news editor for the Atmore Advance. She can be reached at 368-2123 or via email at lifestyles@atmoreadvance.com

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