To back fill a bit - I need to describe to you the physical attributes of the Shipley women. I have and under developed bosom, where my sister has (had -they are gone since she began running) an over developed bosom, and my mother had one bosom – the other removed in an attempt to eradicate breast cancer.
It was tradition now for me to crow like a rooster to wake the family to gather for Christmas morning festivities. But on this particular Christmas morning I did not crow to call the family to Christmas. It just did not seem appropriate. Mom had been in the hospital undergoing another round of Christmas Chemo so she was feeling pretty punchy. We the Shipley’s are quietly nestled in the living room opening our stockings well past the 7 AM usual time in fact it was erring on 11 am before Christmas morning was underway. Sue and I were feasting on a Christmas tradition of the Christmas Eve party’s left over chips and dip for breakfast while drinking coffee and Bailey’s. Christmas stockings were being passed around and we were all feeling less than jovial.
Taking the lead I dove into my stocking and pulled out a pair of socks and a magazine then my sister says:
Put your hand back in there.
Sue: Another Lime?
Dad: Shell what have you got.
Another grape fruit!
Carolyn what’s in your sock?
A Florida Orange?
Dad what’s going on?
Dad just sits there with a straight face. We all exchange glances and then look back at Dad. His face contorts, he grunts and then erupts into laughter. We all stare at the crazy person who is clearly breaking down in the strain of the holidays and the hospital visits in the past month. Finally he regains his composure long enough to say:
Well Santa thought you could all use a little help to fill your brassieres!
Then dad bursts out laughing again. The kind of laughter that turns his whole face red, the kind of laughter that takes his breathe away and makes him have to leave the room to blow his nose making the off key high school symphony trumpets section sound, the kind of laughter that no one in their right mind could hear and not join in on. But before he leaves the room in search of a Kleenex he fires his hand into his own stocking drawing back to reveal two lumps of coal and a banana. And just like that normalcy is restored to the Shipley Family Christmas.