For a change, I didn’t have any weirdness going on at Christmas. Nikki hadn’t dropped by, I hadn’t seen the kid, and Nick was staying far away for all I could tell. It was just me and Cassie on the couch watching Christmas specials. The tree twinkled merrily with gifts underneath, and we had hot cocoa, made from Ma’s special powdered mix. I need to make sure we called Florida in the morning. Hopefully we could get the video working, though sometimes Ma and Dad had difficulty with the tech. Heck, sometimes I had problems with the tech.
I picked up the remote, ready to select the next film, highlighting The Santa Clause, but Cassie shook her head.
“Not that one, Uncle Matt. We used to watch that one all the time, but now. . . .” she trailed off.
“Okay, Cassie. We don’t have to watch that one. How do you feel about National Lampoons?”
She nodded slowly, but as the intro to the selected flick started up, she wasn’t really seeing it. I put an arm around her shoulders, and she leaned into me.
“I miss them, Uncle Matt.”
“Me, too, Kiddo. Now, your dad and I, we loved this movie, because your grandpa, well, he kept trying to do the same thing with the lights, only your dad and I were the ones to do all the real work. He was the supervisor, you know? Anyway, even though we were working at it, we still made some fun out of it. Did you know that a strand of Christmas lights is strong enough to support a ten year-old’s body weight?”
“What?” she looked up at me.
“True story. We were scared of sliding off the icy room so we used extra light strands as safety ropes.”
“Oh yeah. See, the lights in those days were big and needed a lot of juice, not like the skinny strands of lights they have, now. And for all that your grandma worried about us doing crazy things, she never once had a problem with grandpa sending us onto an icy room. Guess she thought we were safe as long as we were ‘supervised.’”
Cassie chuckled at that.
“One time your dad slipped and went over the eave. And there I was up at the top, making sure to belay him. But grandpa, all he says is, ‘You dropped the staple gun. I’ll toss it back up to you.’”
“Oh, yeah, to you they’re nice grandparents who give you stuff. To your dad and I, they were slavedrivers, though we did get hot chocolate once inside, and your grandma’s cinnamon ring.”
“That sounds good, can we have some, now?”
“Sure thing, but don’t tell Grandma, tomorrow morning. She wanted us to save it.”