Tossing Salt Presents:
12 (Dougie) Days of Christmas
Day 1: Kansas, Dumpster Diving & Christmas Trees
December 13, 2022
Welcome friends to the start of a new 12-part series, the Twelve (Dougie) Days of Christmas. Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, the Christmas season, and as my gift to you, the loyal readers of this site, both of you, we’re going all Deck The Halls and Ho! Ho! Ho!. Well, that “Ho! Ho! Ho!” part is only for cute guys who want to have some fun. Call me! But the rest of it, a new edition of A Day of Dougie every day, and with a Christmas theme, that’s for everyone. You’re welcome.
As most of you know, the past few days have been rough for me and my family. I want to say thank you to everyone for reaching out with your thoughts and prayers over the loss of my sister, Lynn. Honestly, it really hasn’t hit me yet and I’m more or less just going through the motions, but the love that I’ve received through e-mails, texts, Twitter, and Facebook. It helps. It really does.
But as Freddie Mercury used to sing, the show must go on. And for the next twelve days at least, it will. I’ve got a computer to write on and the Magic Bag to draw topics of discussion from. Now let’s can the chit-chat and in the words of the great wrestler/philosopher Jimmy “The Boogie Woogie Man” Valiant, “Paul Jones is a bald-headed geek!”. Let’s do this.
So we go to the Magic Bag and reach deep inside to see what the topics for today will be. We’ve got Kansas, Dumpster Diving, and our Christmas-themed topic, fresh from the special Magic Christmas Bag, is Christmas Trees. This one should be interesting. And away we go.
One of the United States where Bob Dole came from. Remember him? It’s also the place where that little Minx, Dorothy came from and stayed when she wasn’t hanging out with that Oz gang.
And Kansas was also the name of the great band who came up with the philosophy used by the great wise men on their excellent adventure when Bill S. Preston, Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan, wanted to talk to Socrates. Who can forget that moment when Ted explained to Socrates that “all we are is dust in the wind, dude!”. A great moment in time and history.
And is Kansas famous for anything else? Well, they have a lot of cows, but I can’t remember much else. I think that’s enough anyhow, after all, all we are is dust in the wind, dude. Let’s move on.
This may be considered low-brow and tacky, but it’s also fun. When the local college used to get out at the end of the semester, many of the students, rather than packing up their stuff to ship across the country and take home, would just throw everything away. Clothes, lamps, computers, dishes, stereos, and just about anything you can imagine. Still practically new and in great shape, but it was just easier to put in the trash and then replace them than take them with them.
And what do we locals do? We going out there and doing some plundering. It’s just like going by an apartment complex at the end of the month. You never know what you’ll find and if it’s something cool or that you need, just take it, clean it up, and be happy. And it’s fun too because as I said, you never know what you’ll find. Don’t knock it until you try it. Truth!
As soon as I saw this topic come up, two images quickly formed in my head. We’ve all had Christmas trees in our homes over the years and the memories of some stand out better than others and I’m no exception. I’ve been alive for 56 years and until maybe the past seven or eight years or so, I’ve always made sure to have a tree each year to help celebrate Christmas. I don’t do it anymore because my Mom lives here with me and she’s become a total scrooge about the whole Christmas idea. She spent several years “studying” with the Jehovah’s Witnesses and while they’re some nice people and I liked most of them that I met, their ideas on Christmas and holidays (and voting) are kind of whacked. They don’t do it.
And Mom, who changed big time after the death of my brother many many years ago, seems to have embraced their feelings towards the holidays and Christmas. I could put up a tree, but she would piss and moan and grouch about it and I’d rather not hear it or argue about it so I don’t. I just go to be with my friends and enjoy the holidays with them instead before coming back here to the Grinch household.
But all of that is a story for another day. Right now, I want to talk about two trees that I had in my past, my younger and wilder days when I lived on my own.
The first one was a tree that my roomie at the time, Jack, and I had when I lived in my first apartment over at Briarwood Apartments, now known as Blue Farm Estates. We had this big old live tree that took up half the room. And it was awesome. But we didn’t have decorations, at least not the typical ones. We were two guys, both in our early 20’s, and all we did was drink, work, drink, and occasionally party. Yes, it was a crazy time to be sure. And we had this big tree and it needed some decorations so we used beer cans. Natural Light cans to be specific.
The blue and silver of the cans, mixed with the fake icicles and fake snow. There may have even been a string of clear lights on the tree, but I can’t remember for sure about that. Too many brain cells had been killed by all the beer, both during and since that time, but I think there were lights. Anyhow, a big live-green Christmas tree with blue and silver cans, silver icicles, and fake snow.
It was incredible and awesome by any standards and for the two of us, it was pretty damn impressive. I wish we had taken pictures of it, but this was way before cell phones and all of that. We didn’t have a camera available and thus, the pictures only exist in our memories. But what a memory… and a tree it was. And what a roomie Jack was too. It was a crazy time and he drove me crazy back then, but looking back, I miss them days. And him. A helluva guy and a good friend. ‘Nuff said!
And the other tree that stands out most in my mind was my own version of the “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree”, but for real and fixed up “Dougie Style!”. I was living on my own in a trailer over in Glen Acres and I wanted a Christmas tree. But I had no money and could barely buy food or beer so going out and buying a tree was definitely out of the question. So I did the next best thing and went to the wood and found a tree.
Did I say a tree? It was actually just a big ass branch off a pine tree which looked like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree on steroids. I found it, cut it off the tree, and with a lot of hard work and props to make it stand up, I had a tree (sort of). I added a few icicles and maybe ten ornaments and there you go, my own tree. It was so different and unique and I loved it.
And my cat at the time, Stinky, who was a kitten and had just come to live with me, the start of a loving 19-year cat–human relationship, loved it too. He loved to climb it, to the top and would just sit there and stare at me while I sat and drank my adult beverages and made mixed tapes and audio letters for my bestest friend, Theresa. A good time and memories that bring smiles to my face. I didn’t have much then, but it was a good life and that tree was making something out of nothing at its best. Charlie Brown would be so proud.
And there you go. Not too shabby, I think. I’ll be back on Wednesday with Day 2 of the Twelve Dougie Days of Christmas so be sure to watch out for it. I also have a few of the Ultimate Wrestling Q&A’s coming up as well so don’t miss those either.
And with that, I guess it’s time to call it a night. My thanks for reading. Any comments, thoughts, questions, or Christmas memories that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them. Until the next time, take care and be well, my friends. I’ll see you at the bar and we can do some Christmas karaoke. I’ll buy the first round. See you later.