A Christmas To Remember

By B.L.Cunningham

Where it concerned his wife and child, only the best would do; so lenny had contacted the Real Estate office in the middle of August to find the perfect cabin for Christmas Week and Big Bear lake was just a two hour drive from the Los Angeles area"Proper preparation prevents poor performance" he hummed to himself as he mentally went over what was needed for the surprise trip for his family "map to the cabin, keys..? check !" Lenny had double checked to make certain that neither Linny or Laverne had any pressing engagements for this week and Lenny patiently waited until Laverne was at her Modern dance class and Linny was at school, to implement the final part of his plan;
Like a sneak thief, he moved through the house, seizing Laverne's warmest sweaters and her one heavy coat and flannel lined jeans (Not much needed in balmy Southern California) and then he ransacked his own closet, grabbing whatever clothes would be warm & suitable for a week in the snowy mountains and this time he remembered clean underwear.
In Linny's room Lenny was puzzled as there was almost nothing suitable for romping through the snow and strolling around an ice covered lake"No matter " lenny thought to himself as he packed the rest of the gear into his orange VW Vanagon "There's always K-mart"
Full of the Holiday spirit, Lenny drove toward their local K-mart and made a pit-stop at a Salvation Army Thrift store, finding waterproof boots in his size with plenty of life left to them and a cheerful blue and white striped scarf as well as a matching knitted cap.
In K-mart, Lenny found a puffy pink parka that appeared to be just the right size for Linny as well as gloves and a long pink & white knitted toboggan cap topped off with a rather horrific pink & white pom-pom ball.
As lenny pushed his cart through the crowds of holiday shoppers he loaded up his cart with a Scrabble game as well as the family favorite, Monopoly
and a dozen pair of socks and loaded up on new toothbrushes and toothpaste and several cassette tapes featuring Christmas Classics performed by minor Country artists and a bottle of shower gel that he had serious plans for with Laverne...
At the other end of the shopping center, Lenny was once again a man on a mission and loaded up his cart with everything he thought Linny & Laverne would enjoy; he knew there had to be grocery stores in Big Bear, but why take chances ? Lenny grabbed bread and hamburger buns, several pounds of hamburger, sliced cheese, bacon, link sausages and a ham"Makin' a pig out of myself" lenny thought to himself and giggled, an entire case of M & M's dropped into the cart as well as milk, apple juice and a bottle of Champagne with a distinguished label, several bottles of beer and then mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise... and not one leafy green vegetable made an appearance .
Finally, finally lenny had the van packed to the limit, the perishable food packed in a cooler with ice, and the remaining cargo area with barely enough room to stuff in an 11 year old child.
That evening, Lenny showered and hopped into bed, and waited until Laverne was washing her face and brushing her teeth to re-set the alarm clock to 3 Am. and was asleep with a very innocent look on his face by the time Lavern slid into bed next to him.
The alarm clock bleeped noisily in the middle of the night and Lenny woke at once and silenced it; all to eager to implement the next part of his ingenious plan."Whaaaa....?" Laverne blearily muttered at the sound "What.. what time is it?" Lenny was wide awake and slid over, covering his wife's body with his own "It is deep in the night's darkness.. and our inquisitive child shall not waken... " Lenny's talented fingers quickly let Lavern know he meant business and she happily succumbed to his caresses and kisses and his...
An hour later a very wide awake and satisfied laverne hummed happily as she filled the coffee maker and Lenny entered his daughter's room and scooped her out of bed, blankets and all "Dad...what are you doing ?" Lenny grinned "Ah it is time for the fair Princess to go on a journey !" Lenny exclaimed "It's the middle of the night " grumbled Linny "Indeed, the journey must be under the cover of darkness, lest all the villagers discover that the lovely Princess' father is actually... a frog !" Linny giggled.
lenny sat down on the sofa next to Laverne and linny and unveiled his surprise "I've rented a cabin at Big Bear lake... and the van's packed, including your clothes and toothbrushes, we leave in twenty minutes !"
Laverne shook her head and just had to smile; whatever else you might say about Lenny, being married to him was never dull.
Laverne quickly braided Linny's hair, washed her own face applied a touch of lipstick and they were soon out the door, with Lenny grabbing his guitar case
The normal driving time from Glendale to Big Bear was about two hours or so, but with Lenny driving you'd better stretch that time to nearly four hours, as he refused to go faster that 35 miles an hour; when Laverne began to grumble about his driving like an old lady , Lenny just grinned and patted her knee and said "I'm carrying the most precious things on earth, best to take it slow and careful"
The trip itself was scenic with twisting mountain roads and deep valleys and snow capped vistas in the distance and Lenny and Laverne & Linny warbling along to "Grandma got run over by a reindeer" and "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth "
Once in the vicinity of Big Bear, Lenny made a slight mistake and it was another twenty minutes after getting directions from the local Sheriff that Lenny pulled up to the cabin and the early morning light showed the property off to it's very best; wood shingles just starting to gray from the seasons, a steeply pitched roof and sparkling windows that seemed to reflect the blue sky.
Unlocking the door; Lenny saw at once it was everything the Realtor had promised and more; the main living area was spacious and with a two-story ceiling, a large leather sofa and a smaller loveseat that folded out to a sleeper, and a heavy wooden table ideal for meals or marathon Scrabble games. a tidy kitchen equipped with all the modern appliances as well as dishes and a basic set of pots and pans (Laverne was pleased at the sight of the dishwasher ) One end of the living room had a massive stone fireplace and doors on either side let out to a small balcony with a view of the lake and a spiral staircase led the way to a sleeping loft with a king sized bed and small skylights flooded the area with sunlight.
"This is.. fan tastic !" puffed Linny as she helped unload the van , and Laverne showed her appreciation with several kisses in the kitchen and the unspoken promise of more, much more to follow.
Lenny disappeared for ten minutes until Laverne heard her husband loudly calling for her from the bathroom "Uhmm.. Laverne... there's no toilet paper in here !" Laverne stifled a giggle and quickly found a handful of napkins from their breakfast stop at a McDonalds
A minute later , Lenny was back in good humor "I guess it's time to take a stroll around the town and see what's what" Linny cast a look of mock horror at the pink parka but put it on and lenny adjusted his blue & white scarf as if it were the very model of winter time Couture.
"And let's not forget the toilet paper" Laverne said as they exited the cabin.
The weather definitely had the feel of Christmas in it, Linny was enchanted at the shapes and variety of the snowflakes, as well as the squirrels that scampered from tree to tree Walking past a lot selling Christmas trees Laverne and lenny debated over the financial wisdom of purchasing one for a cabin that was to be home for just a week
"Oh it just wouldn't be Christmas without a tree..." Laverne said wistfully .The owner of the tree lot was happy to arrange delivery of the tree once he heard they were from out of town "Gotta keep up our reputation as a small & friendly town " he said as they made their final selection of a five foot tall Blue Spruce that had a few awkward places and might otherwise remain an orphan " There, that's gonna be a fine tree and you'll provide it a good home now I'm sure !"
With the tree joining them at the cabin; Laverne spotted a Woolworth's and Lenny was the first to find what decorations were left at this late date; some were mis-matched sets of glass balls and other sets had one ornament that was broken and went unsold; Linny scooped up a Tree-Top Angel, her gown a bit shopworn but still lovely and Laverne found tinsel garlands and undecided over Silver or Gold; both lenny & Linny voted for Gold, and the best was found last, a set of twelve wood toy Soldiers painted in lovely shades of blue and red & gold
Trudging to the cabin with their treasures, lenny hurried into a Convenience Store and returned with a six pack of Ultra Soft Bathroom Tissue, a small jar of Vaseline and a big smile.
Lenny's smile grew bigger yet as they approached the cabin they saw two men waiting; One was the man from the tree lot and the other man wore a black leather jacket, a jaunty red scarf and a plush Santa hat "Uncle Fonzie !" shrieked Linnie and rushed into his arms "Ayyy my Snowflake Princess ..missed you !" Fonz said as he planted a kiss on her head
The man from the tree lot shyly accepted the tip Lenny handed him and wished them all a Happy Holiday and hopped into his truck.
Once in the cabin, Lenny started a fire"Uhmm lenny did you remember to open the flue...?" Laverne asked suddenly, recalling the last time her husband decided on a romantic fire and instead filled the room with smoke & ash "Yes sweetheart, got it !" Lenny said as Fonzie pawed thru the ornaments & tinsel, as excited as a child .
The tree was set on the wooden table and each person took turns placing a decoration on the tree. Lenny was filled with contentment as he sat back and admired the tree and a few minutes later Laverne brought out a platter of ham & cheese sandwiches, with beer for the grownups and a coke for Linny ; meanwhile outside the cabin, the wind picked up and brought heavier snowfalls but all was warm & bright inside
Fonzie finished one sandwich and was sharing some of lenny's M & M's and said "Great sandwiches.. so glad it wasn't turkey " Lenny looked a bit puzzled and said "But Fonz, you like turkey.." "aww, yes, yes I did.. I did like turkey " Fonz said sadly "That was until......"
The turkey shot out of the oven
and rocketed into the air
it knocked every plate off the table
and partly demolished a chair
It ricocheted into a corner
and burst with a deafening boom
then splattered all over the kitchen
completely obscuring the room
It stuck to the walls and the windows
it totally coated the floor
There was turkey attached to the ceiling
where there'd never been turkey before
It blanketed every appliance
it smeared every saucer and bowl
there wasn't a way I could stop it
that turkey was out of control !
I scraped and I scrubbed with displeasure
and thought with chagrin as I mopped
that I'd never again stuff a turkey
with popcorn that hadn't been popped

Both lenny and Laverne howled with laughter, until tears streamed down their faces and linnie made a mad dash to the bathroom, lest she have an accident .
"Ohhh Fonz, that was the best gift of all; the gift of laughter" Laverne said still gasping for air and leaned over to give him a friendly kiss.
Lenny, not one to be left out gave Fonz an identical kiss right on the lips, much to Fonzie's surprise and laverne's amusement .
While the cabin had a television, it went largely ignored as lenny & Laverne challenged Fonz and Linnie to marathon games of Monopoly & Scrabble
with Linnie winning nine Scrabble games out of ten.
Fonz's idea of relaxing lounge wear consisted of a immaculate white t-shirt and sky blue flannel pajama pants decorated allover with white rabbits and a pair of outrageously fluffy bunny slippers on his feet.(Fonz had explained to a giggling Lenny that they had been a birthday gift from Linny, "And anyways they are real comfy !" he added defiantly )
"Perhaps we can play "Pet the bunny " later" Lenny whispered as Linny returned to the living room.
Fonz was also very considerate and made sure Lenny & Laverne had a few hours on their own "taking my best girl out to explore this Winter Wonderland " he announced the next morning after breakfast.
Linny and Fonz bundled up against the snow and set out on foot to explore the town of Big Bear and Linnie was delighted to find a used book store that kept her occupied for better than an hour until Fonz dropped subtle hints of imminent starvation( While she was engrossed in various books, Fonz had found an ideal gift for her & had the clerk wrap it up )
After consuming huge hamburgers dripping in cheese & onions, Linny led the way down the street and Fonz invented a game "Name that Squirrel !" which had both of them laughing their heads off " Nicholas Nutcatcher.. Mavis Maypole... Eunice Shriver !"
Back at the cabin, Lenny and Laverne were also filled with joy and laughter
and having quite a celebration of their own; two hours later Fonz made a pretext of calling Lenny to see if they needed anything at the local store, in reality to let Lenny & Laverne know that he'd be returning with Linny shortly.
Although Lenny, Laverne, Fonz & Linnie opened their various gifts from one another on Christmas morning; the best gift of all was the love & care & sharing of their time together in the cabin near the lake and it truly was a Christmas to remember.
(The Turkey Shot Out Of The Oven written by Jack Prelutsky)


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