News staffers share Christmas memories: Revenge is a dish best served at Christmas

During my high school years every Christmas arrived with the same horrifying revelation.

I was a teenager, given a blissful two-week break from school and just wanting to do the first thing every teenager wants to do when on a break from school: Sleep.

Every Christmas Eve I would curl up snuggled in my bed, to dream of sugar plums dancing in my head.

Then at some absolutely horrific hour in the pre-dawn blackness there would arise such a clatter that I would burrow deeper into the sheets and mumble: “It’s not even light yet!”

This was not a gift from St. Nick; oh no, it was my younger brother and sister lunging out of the gloom to pounce on me with the ferocity of jungle cats in an attempt to roust me into going downstairs to open presents.

I would fling pillows at them, but this only encouraged them to rip the sheets off the bed and turn on the light, ending the battle before it even began.

I tried saying Santa would leave them coal for making me get up so early, but they cleverly countered by telling me he had already come and dragging me downstairs in the cold house to shiver and smile as presents were unwrapped.

But this year, oh, this year will be different. See, I have grown accustomed to waking up while it is still dark (OK, at least before 9 a.m.). My youngest brother, now a teen himself, routinely sleeps until lunchtime.

I fully intend to return the pre-dawn awaking horrors inflicted on me no less than sevenfold.

I only have so many more chances, as my brother graduates from high school this year, my sister has an apartment and a job and with my first kid on the way in the spring, it won’t be too long before I am again subjected to being dragged out of bed far too early on Christmas.

But for this one year, with everyone home for the holidays, I shall have my comeuppance.

Besides, it’s not like Santa can give me coal when I get my revenge; he will have already come and gone, making the inky blackness of Christmas morn the perfect time to strike for the honor of early awakened older brothers everywhere.


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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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