Tim Lacy

Since the season is upon us, I thought it fitting that I share some of my more memorable Christmas moments with you.

I guess it is worth repeating a tale I shared with you in an earlier publication.  When I was around 8 years old, most of my buddies wanted to be Superman, Batman, and even John Wayne, who, for us, was bigger than life.  I wanted to be Robin Hood.  I am sure you can imagine my joy when I awoke Christmas morning to find a bow and a quiver of arrows under the tree.  I was at the age when I was on the verge of dismissing the Santa Clause myth, but whatever it took to allow me to realize a dream like this, I was willing to believe.  There was a sour note attached to my celebration.  When I attempted to string the bow, it just wasn’t happening.  I called on my dad, the solver of all problems.  He applied a little brute strength and all of a sudden the grin on my face disappeared.  I heard this crack and put my attention on Pop holding this bow in two parts.  Pop was not a cussing man, but as he exited the house his mumbling vocabulary would have made any sailor proud.  He returned a little later with a new bow, and made it clear I was on my own.  Either he mugged Santa Clause or he found an open store.

A few years later I received my first two-wheel bicycle.  I spent most of Christmas day getting up off of the ground.  My cousin, Ramon, was like my older brother.  He saw my frustration and stepped in to lend a hand.  We pushed the bike over to Howard University and I was able to ride around the quad with no obstacles.  By the time we left, I was pretty cocky and decided to ride the bike home.  He showed me how to jump the bike over the curb, and off I went.  When I approached my first curb, I was going at a pretty good clip, and when I jumped, it was a bit too soon.  I hit the curb and the next thing I remember was flying over the handle bars.  I pushed the bike the rest of the way home and it was a few days before I ventured out again.  I learned to love my bike.  It was the only bike I had as a kid, and I painted it so many times that if I had a major accident the paint would hold it together.

Fast forward to my early days in the military.  I was stationed in New York and, every Saturday, it seemed like they were having a parade for some dignitary.  Christmas fell on a Sunday, and a few of us parked at the end of the parade route so we could make a quick getaway after it was over.  When the parade ended, I hopped in the car and headed down the road.  When I got home, there was no one there. Mom was at work clearing up some kind of snafu with the military payroll.  No problem; I had keys so I entered the house and headed to my room to get a little rest.  Come evening, I ventured out to join my gang for a little pre-Christmas mischief.  When I returned home, I found the storm door locked.  Mom didn’t know I was home and she had locked up before she went to bed.  I had no key for the storm door, but I did have a screw driver in the glove compartment.  I grabbed my trusty screwdriver and a bottle of scotch from the car.  After a little surgery, I had all of the doors open and decided I would sit on the doorstep and take a few sips of my scotch.  I fell asleep, and was sitting in the open doorway on Christmas Sunday morning with a bottle of booze in my hand for all of my church-going neighbors to see.  Mom came downstairs for her morning coffee and saw me sitting there.  She had a few choice words to share with me, and none of them were “Merry Christmas.”