Ghost of a Christmas Past with Bubble Lights
My dad’s big family who all lived within two blocks, gathered at Grandma and Grandad’s on Christmas Eve for dinner and gift exchange. My Grandma apparently really liked chocolate covered cherries. Or her family thought she did, because every gift-giving occasion Grandma ended up with an armload of Brach’s Chocolate Covered Cherry Cordial boxes.
That Christmas, my cousin Joann and I were lying on our tummies by the tree, keeping an eye on the baby for my aunt, and coloring in my new Christmas coloring book. The bubbling tree lights burbled magical color around us. Joann climbed up on the piano bench and helped herself to a chocolate covered cherry. Want one? Sure. She brought the box. We colored. We noshed. She left. I colored. I finished my picture, and the box of cordials. When I stood up, I didn’t feel very good.
I wretched and heaved. I threw up on my new velvet dress and Grandma’s carpet. I threw up on the Christmas tree. I threw up on my sleeping baby cousin. I threw up in my new box of 64 crayons. I couldn’t stop heaving long enough to call for my mom. I hit the wall, the piano and the bubbling lights. Baby Jesus in His manger under the tree was buried in cherry slime and so was my new coloring book. Joann’s older brothers thought it was hilarious! My mom, not so much.
To this day I can’t look at a box of chocolate covered cherries without having an unpleasant reaction. Talking about them sets my teeth on edge like nails on a blackboard. Smelling them, or seeing a picture of the runny middles…I start to salivate and get squeamish. Sometimes I gag. And I relive that Christmas. I have never ever eaten another one of them and have no intention of ever doing so. And I’m telling all my grandchildren, don’t ever, under any circumstances, give your grandma a chocolate covered cherry. Especially not at Christmas.
(I was going to use a picture of the Brach’s box of you-know-whats, but the picture was making me ill. So, you got old-timey bubble lights instead.)