Mountain Musings


So This Is Christmas


With Christmas 2020 only a day or two away, I thought it would be fun to recount some memorable Christmases of my youth. One that stands out is when I awoke on a 1956 Christmas morning to find a Lionel train set encircling the tree. Mom and Dad went all-out on this one, as it included a train station, water tower, trestle, tunnel and a track crossing barrier-arm.


Unfortunately, a few days later, my ruffian brother, who got a new bicycle, destroyed the snow-capped tunnel. Mom and Dad always liked my brother best. But I got even with him by giving his new bike a flat tire.


The next Christmas, my brother got a chemistry set when all I got was Lincoln Logs. Well, guess what? Every time my brother left the house, I got into his chemistry set and made all kinds of stinky concoctions by cooking sulfur with other stinky chemicals and stank up his room…I wonder if he even noticed?


A few Christmases later, I finally got my first new bicycle. I was a little disappointed, though, because it was only a three-speed. But it was a bike and it greatly expanded my range, enabling me to pedal miles away from home and miles farther from my ruffian brother.


But, once again, he outdid me when Mom and Dad awarded him with a fancy, Italian 10-speed bicycle and all I got was a crummy department store bike. Oh, did I mention that Mom and Dad always liked my brother best?


Well, I got the best of my ruffian brother when I sneaked his fancy Italian 10-speed out of the garage for a midnight joy ride and brought it back with a bent aluminum rim. Boy, did Dad ever tan my hide for that little caper.


But I didn’t care ‘cause I got even.


Well, things have calmed down considerably since my misspent youth in the OC. My brother and I have both mellowed out and Mom and Dad are no longer around to like him better. Though he now lives 500 miles away, my formerly ruffian brother and I regularly send each other birthday and Christmas gifts. In fact, he’s probably reading this on our Alpine Mountaineer website. If so, I’m sorry for being such a brat. By the way, a case of fine wine would really be cool… hint, hint. And if it’s only a bottle of some rotgut, I promise not to get even.


“So this is Christmas and what have you done, another year over, a new one just begun. And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun, the near and dear ones, the old and the young. A very merry Christmas and a happy New Year, let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fears. And so happy Christmas for black and for white, for yellow and red ones, let’s stop all the fights. (“Happy Christmas (War Is Over”) – John Lennon & Yoko Ono – 1971)


Keep it flyin’, Uncle Mott