Saturday, January 10, 2015

“Last Roofsit of 2014”

            ROOFTOP – For the past 31 years, there has been a last-rooftop-article of the year. This is 2014’s. It’s cold and breezy and dark as can be. It’s a new moon night. Fewer werewolves out during new moon. I’m not crazy about normal wolves, but the wolves that are “were” are the worst. I’ve seen the movies.

            I’ve gotta ask, how was your Christmas? Did you get what you wanted? Were your gifts well received? Let me ask you a really tough question – Do you remember what you got for Christmas last year?

            Last week on the ol’ Mark and Cindy Show (, Cindy walked around downtown Conroe and asked people to tell her what they got for Christmas last year? Only one person could remember. Obviously, it was not a man. Only one out of a billion people could remember what they got last Christmas. (There were a lot of people out that day.)

            I could come much closer to telling you what I got for Christmas when I was 10 then I could what I got last year. I got a heavy metal double barreled stopper gun. When I lost all the stoppers I tried shooting marbles. Then pencils. Eventually, I got my gun taken away from me. Mom had seven kids, so it took her a while to figure out what was going on
The Hayter kids at Mom's house years backLt to rt: Larry, Jill, Al, Lynda, Mark, Susan and Dennis

            This year, I got nothing for Christmas, and I was perfectly pleased, ‘cause Kay got the same thing. I didn’t get Kay, or the rest of the family or the Plilers or Cindy or anyone else gifts. Do you know how much pressure that takes off of you if you don’t have to buy gifts? It’s like 63 pounds…. According to a survey at Loyola University. I think there was a survey.

            Yes, the ol’ gift giving tradition has bitten the dust, yet this big blue marble still keeps on turnin’ and “Proud Mary keeps on burnin’.” There are few traditions remaining in our family. Wait a minute. I can’t think of a one. -- No traditions remain. Which must mean that Gozilla and Mothra fight it out tomorrow. (No idea,)

              When Elsie Hayter left us in 2006, she took the family glue with her. It took us about two years to realize that Mom was pretty much the only thing that kept us in contact with one another. Without her, it’s harder to find an excuse to meet. Too many grandkids, too much stuff going on.  And, when we do get together, there’s no one to police us. Mom was a great cop. -- “Mark, you’re 52 years-old, for heaven’s sake! What does it matter if Dennis won’t stop staring at you? Let it go, son. And, Dennis, quit pestering your brother.”

            After all that, I suppose I should tell you that a week ago Saturday, Kay and I had the family over for an early Christmas. No gifts, no games, no talent show. Just food, and a discussion about how we don’t have many traditions left. No traditions, you ask me.

            We did have some good eats, though. It was one of the nicest get-togethers we’ve had since Mom’s passing. The kiddos were at their best behavior, and the adults talked nonstop, retelling old stories for the first time. The ones where the nieces and nephews leave the room ‘cause they’re sick of hearing them.

            I fully expect one of kids to say, “News Flash! We’ve heard all your stories. Anything about your jobs, your childhood, your school days, your sport’s moments… we’ve heard it. In fact, we remember it all better than you do, which is obvious because you keep changing the way things happened.  There is nothing you can tell us about yourselves, about our grandpa or John Wayne or Johnny Unitas that will surprise us.  So, please, just… just don’t.”

            Wouldn’t that be cool? Whoa! Another contest moment. Young men and women out there, please come up with a different way to let your parents, grandparents, uncles... know that they repeat the same stories at every gathering. Don’t tell, ‘em, just write how it might be done.  The approach that is the funniest will win, uh, let’s see—one of you will win my 1948 copy of “The Whispering Box Mystery.” It’s like The Hardy Boys, only better. (I’m trying to find homes for some of my old stuff.)

            Speaking of which, the winner of the use-the-word-CREDULITY-in-a-conversation contest mentioned a couple of articles back is – Ed H. In my article I mentioned about Dylan making a CD of Frank Sinatra songs. Ed wrote: "Crazy thing is, however foolish in their 'credulity', people will buy the dang thing!" Ed won for uniqueness. “Foolish in their ‘credulity?” I’ve never thought to use the word in that way. I think Ed stretched the garter on that one. (I wouldn’t have used the word “garter” had Mom been around.) 

            Readers, have a Happy New Year, and remember:  2015 is an odd numbered year, but let’s not add to the oddness... unless it’s a good thing. -- Next time.

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