So many of you have asked me how I spent my Christmas, so I am going to just tell the whole story and hopefully that will make those of you that badger a person until they have to spill the intimate secrets of their sort of joyous holiday happy. You know who you are:
I spent my Christmas in Germany, well I went to France, Italy, England, Mexico, Japan and Canada also, but I ate lunch in Germany, so I spent hours there.
Here is what happened: My father had a heart attack, actually his aorta exploded. Because my dad is like that, he cannot just have a normal heart attack like everyone else...oh no. He has to burst a major artery AND be sent to hospital which says he is so bad off they medivac him to another hospital AND they have to get one of 3 surgeons in the US that can do the special surgery to try to save him, a surgeon who tells me by the way, that is does not look good and I should make preparations for his death AND then he lives. A doctor friend of Pep’s told me that only 2 percent of people who explode their aorta at home survive. So ummm… don’t try this at home.
Anyway, so after flying over 14 hours to get to him I ask him when he was lying there in the hospital bed:
Drama: “Da, is this about me saying I wasn’t going to visit you this year for the holidays?”
Drama’s father: Yes, of course, now shut up Star Trek is on. (Watches hospital TV above his bed)
(Flash Forward) My father is released from the hospital but he can not walk and he can not talk, well it is basically a whisper. I know we all want to spend the Holidays in Europe so I decide to do the next best thing, spend the day seeing “Christmas Around the World” at Disney World Showcase. Close enough, right? So anyway, later, as my father is recovering, I get this brilliant idea to take him to EPCOT, the futuristic adult oriented park in Disneyland. Mainly because I believe that the rides will not bump him around too much and I wanted him to have a happy Noel. So I check the weather forecast for that day we are going to go and it says there is an 80 percent chance of rain. Oh Joy!
Before we are set to drive I look at the weather forecast and it says 100 percent chance of rain. I have never seen a 100 percent chance of rain before so I ask if it is a Christmas joke or something. But apparently it happens in Florida all the time. The park is hours away from where my dad lives so with my complaining father strapped in the seat we take the 4 hour journey to futuristic plastic land. My mother wants to drive so I decide to zone out and read The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore. My dad tries to complain some more but I can not hear his whisper over the 55mph wind hitting his SUV. So I tell him ”I can not hear you, now shut up Star Trek is on.”
It, of course, starts to rain and I wait for everyone to slam on the brakes and then go 5 mph but it does not happen. I realize that I am in Florida not Los Angeles, and people actually can drive in the rain …weird. Later with clear skies the traffic slows down to a near stop. I look around to discover construction closing two lanes. Wot?? Construction during the holidays! Nobody is going to work during the holidays! The flashing orange cones will just sit there for a week! Ughhh, City planning hadn’t planned much! Especially at the busiest time of the year at the busiest tourist attraction in the United States. So we scooted a whopping 7 mph the rest of the way to Epcot Park. Meanwhile, in the book, The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore, zombies attacked the fictitious town. Suddenly the cones didn’t seem that bad in comparison.
We finally arrive at Epcot and my dad waddles to a wheel chair, and then he is transferred to a motorized chair…big mistake! Oddly enough he had a hard time motoring because people at the park did not look where they were walking and ran right into him, ¦literally hundreds of times. This made my father a bit angry so he started mowing down pedestrians. My dad runs his motorized chair like he drives is car. His motto is, “if you don’t like my driving then get off the sidewalk.” When I complained he said, “They started it!...Ya dad, real mature.
It begins to rain cats and dogs and pretty much does not stop the entire day. That is when we head to along with the mad rush to the nearest Disney store to buy the obligatory overpriced official Mickey Mouse mac. We purchased two for my father because the rain was creating a pool in his lap as time went on, so the second raincoat served as a pool liner.
In a matter of hours my mum’s raincoat split up the back. Some of the Epcot rides require your raincoats to come off before you ride so we were taking them off and on often. The combination of her being a bit on the chubby side and the pulling off and on of the mac proved fatal to the poor piece of blinding yellow PVC. As a result my mum walked around with a long wet stripe down her back all day.
It all happened while boarding a ride called “Journey into Imagination.” The ride, a journey through the senses, encourages you to use your sense of smell, taste, etc and is guided by a purple dragon type thing named, Figment. When we got to the “hearing” part of the ride, the ride came to a halt and the precocious fellow stopped talking. Figments lips were moving but no sound was coming out. There was a murmur of complaint that the ride was broken, I exclaimed that I guess we all needed to use our IMAGINATION to hear! So as Figment’s lips moved I shouted things like “Frankly my dear Scarlett I don’t give a damn and “I am a dragon type thingy. Where do you suppose I pee from?”
All in all I enjoyed the rides at Epcot, they were full of history and intelligence, not mindless romps like those other park rides. Later, we headed to the World Showcase side of the park. Seriously, no one does Christmas like Disney. The lights and decorations were lovely. This, I liked the most a Holidays from around the world tree. It reminded me of family. When you are Irish you have loads of cousins and they get exported from Ireland to all over Europe and America, in fact some are even in Hong Kong… poor Hong Kong. So ironically as we walked through the world, I saw one of my cousins. She was surrounded by about 50 other people dressed in velvet Victorian “costume” singing 12 days of Christmas. She was one of the "6 geese a-laying"(don’t ask). I have soooo many cousins and they all sing or play music for a living so finding her “a-laying” was totally normal. Like the classy family we are we shouted her name during the performance and she pretended she did not know us…understandable.
Realizing we were going to be late for lunch we hightailed it towards Germany. I had to stop at France though, because even though I consider myself a sometimes staunch American, I love Paris. The French village was decked out with lights and accoutrement. I had to stop at the pastry shoppe to get an éclair because I had one in Belgium once (the real Belgium) and I have been addicted ever since. It is like those drug stories you hear about when someone tries crack once and they get such a great high they keep smoking crack for years to try to get that high of when they had the first one. It is the same for me, only pastries. I am essentially addicted to éclair crack. So I waited in the enormous queue for crack and then ate my tasty pastry next to Pierre Noel (the French version of Santa Claus) there was a Santa equivalent stationed in every country, except Morocco and China of course.
From there we went to Great Britain. There was a Beatles cover band with a right handed Paul McCartney next to a Father Christmas that left to go “on break” as soon as I asked to take a picture with him…nice. Immediately we ran into the classic UK red telephone box. I jumped into the phone booth, dialed a few numbers and complained when I wasn’t taken to the Ministry of Magic a la Harry Potter. Then I jumped in and said “Dude, everyone get in so we can visit So-crates.” My mum got in but was not amused. She told me to stop messing around. Oy the ONE time you need Pep he isn’t there. So I kicked out my mum, spun around three times in the telephone box and said, “So did I change?” “No.”my dad said. Then realization hit him and my dad shouted, “Oh Superman!” like he was on a quiz show.
“Correct!” I beamed. My mum told him not to encourage me, and gave me a dirty look. She was just upset because she sucks at the game of guess the pop culture reference as your daughter jumps like a baboon in a phone booth. Still cape-less, I realized the telephone box was obviously broken, and moved on.
Germany was fab; the restaurant was a dinning hall nestled in the middle of a Bavarian village. We dragged my waddling father from his motorized vehicle to the dinning table and told him to sit down and be good. He liked that. Grumble, grumble. All the nice young Germans working there said “Frohe Weihnachten!” repeatedly and the whole shebang was rather pleasant. My mum and I tucked in to a German Buffet. The issue was that half of the items in the buffet were not marked as to what they were. Germans eat a lot of meat so really it was a series of plates of mystery meat, mystery meat with spice, mystery meat with crème, mystery meat with mustard etc. As I piled on the mystery meat, I could see out of the corner of my eye the young Germans taking turns riding my father’s motorized assistance vehicle around the dessert cart. You would think it was a scooter and this was Italy. Mmm…Italian food.
I brought a plate back to my father and he exclaimed “What is all that?” To which I responded, “Really you don’t want to know.”
Anyway, the mystery meat was good and we were just about to leave when another young German announced the show was about to start. A very colourful band in lederhosen played traditional German folk songs. After dancing around to German polkas like Annaleise, everyone sat down for the lighting of the Christmas tree and a joyous chorus of “O Tannenbaum” The tree was as tall as the ceiling and had twinkling lights with gorgeous Victorian era ornaments. It was lovely and I felt the Christmas spirit surround my grumpy father. He actually smiled. A man dressed as a nutcracker (I swear I did not make one comment but it was hard) gave all the children gold coins. I took a few, and felt better about the fact that I was not going to be able to celebrate Channakah this year, as I am bi-spiritual. Then the evening wound down as the German folk band played Christmas Carols. We retrieved the electric wheelchair from the slightly put out young Germans and headed out of Deutschland. As we left Germany, I heard “Silent Night” being played on Tuba. Wot??!!
My feet were so blistered my dad and I had matching waddles as we walked from the wheelchair depot to the car.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night
Nollaig Shona Dhuit,
~taste the rainbow~