Holiday Road.

by Serge Bielanko

Yesterday at work I thought maybe I was having a heart attack. My chest got all tight and there was pain. I kept going though, John Henry mofo that I am...I kept mortaring tiles up on the scuzzy bathroom wall. All the while I waited for the legendary tingling of the arm or the blurred vision. Didn't happen. I did stop once for a sec to do a Fred Sanford chest pound with my fist. Insult to injury, that was. Anyhow, my not-so-near death morning got me to thinking about Violet and how much it would suck to croak now, before we've had any Christmases together.

Back in December, when Monica would just puke in a plastic bag in the car as breezily as if she were enjoying a snack cake, I tried to buy unborn Violet a Santa Claus outfit. But my wife put her swollen foot down on that one. Up til then I'd been allowed to indulge myself whenever we had a couple bucks. I picked up some cool duds at Old Navy, last year's fashions I guess. Whatever. And then one Sunday afternoon we were at Crazy Wal-Mart, where children are free to open shit up and ride it like lightning down the aisles, when I spotted a bumble-bee outfit. Oh no they dih-int!, I said to myself.

I had to have it. It cost 9 dollars. And the way I look at the world is through hourly-paid eyes so it didn't take me long to configure that almost one whole hour of dusty hard labor in my life was now about to add up to a BeeGirl suit for a kid I don't even know yet. Still, I didn't flinch. And I was prepared to argue or even get physical for my wonderful find (yes yes, it's fine to throat-punch your wife here, sir!...that's why we call it CRAZY Wal-Mart, yo.) No need though, as Monica smiled/sighed and I was a proud poppa-to-bee. It is thirty-six sizes to big, of course, but I am feeding her extra baby formula on the sly to fatten her up. Shhh.

Where's this going? I'll tell ya. In between having little heart attacks and and giant panic attacks I have been slowly planning Violet's first Christmas. I have always loved that time of year, chaos and financial hardships aside. There is nostalgia in these nicotined bones; a nearly constant longing for a wintery night and a glowing window with me behind it; for that special "seasonal" red wine buzz and a coffee table heaving with sliced pepperoni and supermarket cheddar on a snowflake dish. And Emmett Otter or Elf on the tube. A tree so high it curls at the ceiling. And presents wrapped up in festive paper. A beer buzz. Ice cream. Antlers on the dogs. I love it, all of it. Need it to live. Need it to sparkle ever so faintly from months and months away like a jolly old eye winking at me from the North Pole. Keep-on-keepin'-on there, Serge. Suck it up and fling off them chest pains, son! There's another Christmas coming 267 days from now!

And now, thanks to Violet I am absolutely insane with Christmas fever. I cannot wait to share with her the Santa story and the baby Jesus story and the Grinch story and how to use a candycane as a pepperminty straw in soda. And, of course, I already got her her first gift. BeeSuit. And yeah, I know, as Monica has so reminded me: this year Violet will be 11 months at the holidays, still slobbering down her pretty little face. Probably won't know how to speak at all. But, whatever. She will love the thing that I love....that unmistakably enchanted time of year
when grown men and women who still believe in little wonders are able to put their stupid petty concerns aside for the sake of the children! And the man-children!

So, here's us practicing our tunes. Its never too early, people. Never ever.