When I was growing up, Christmas morning involved a knife. This was because of the packages my grandmother, my mother's mother, would ship from Ocala, Florida. Because she usually forwent wrapping paper, the brown shipping boxes themselves would be plunked under our tree as they arrived. These were no ordinary shipping boxes, however. No, these boxes were reinforced to withstand civil uprisings, encounters with wild boars, and the United States Postal Service, which my grandmother didn't overly trust.
Her primary weapon against the violence she believed a package would encounter along its harrowing journey to our cul-de-sac was That Tape. You know, the one with strings and the odd glue that chemically bonded with whatever surface it was affixed to, so that even if you ever even got a corner up, rather then the entire piece neatly coming off, it just shredded and left a residue.
So every Christmas morning, as we worked our way to the back of the tree where my mother hid the ugly, brown shipping box, at some point someone would say, "Get the knife," and we would know it was time to open the package from my grandmother. And whichever one of us went - my brother or I, it really didn't matter - we would bring back THE BIGGEST KNIFE IN THE HOUSE, like we were going to butcher a whole cow or something. And then we would spend the next thirty minutes watching my mother struggle not to curse her own mother while cutting through no less than ten layers of the tape with strings. At least ten layers, our grandmother's distrust apparently extending to the tape makers as well.
Eventually my mother would stop sawing away and declare the box "open". We would all expectantly gather around as she folded the box tabs out. Inside, there would be thick layers of protective, old newspapers. We'd paw through them and eventually find an irregularly shaped item wrapped in butcher's paper affixed with more of the tape with string. The knife would come back out. Finally, we'd reach our goal, and it would be something like tube socks for the whole family. With stripes of orange and brown. In 1984. Why? Because my grandmother had bought them at some massive, post-Christmas sale event some ten years earlier, then put them away and only now found them. And so year after year we'd spend forty-five Christmas morning minutes in pursuit of tube socks, bulk underwear, and, one memorable year, a shopping bag of stiff, denim knee patches.
And now, in 2009, I reallyreallyreally wish I still had those tube socks from twenty-five Christmases ago. But mostly I wish I wasn't tied up on a particular weekend. Because those tube socks would be an amazing look at an amazing-looking event:
Kernersville Parks and Recreation