Christmas in Dorchester was always a special time for me. I have tons of great memories from over the years. Mom used to take us boys down to Bradlees on Morrissey Blvd to scope out the scene and find out what toys we wanted. She would literally fill up 2 or 3 shopping carts right in front of us and explain that she was putting all of it on layaway and “Santa would pick it up” before delivering it to our apartment on the top floor of the triple decker, which was up the street. This lasted about 2 or 3 years before I started asking too many questions. My brothers didn’t give 2 sh*ts because they were getting tons of presents. However, I was that kid who was into science, ripping apart my toys just to see how they worked was pretty common for me. So, I started developing the knack for being very analytical at a young age. I was the kid who asked the hard questions, and the layaway story was not cutting the mustard. My triple decker had a perfect landing zone for the sleigh but how did he get his fat ass into the apartment? We didn’t have a fireplace, so I asked my dad how he got in. He said he came through the stovepipe and out of the oven in the kitchen….I was shocked. A 300 pound man with a 54 inch waist plus 200 pounds of toys trying to get through a 6 inch sheet metal pipe = certain death. Who was I to question my parents though, they had never done me wrong.
Christmas eve comes and I hatch the plan. I set out on my mission to save Santa’s fat ass from his demise. I waited till my folks went to bed and set up camp in front of the stove. Laying on the brown and orange late 70’s linoleum was not ideal but that’s how a hero rolls. Needless to say but, I’m lucky if I lasted an hour before I passed out. When I woke in the morning to my parents laughing at me, I saw the cookies I set out on top of the stove were gone. My dad said Santa woke him up and he gave him a hand. I started firing questions at my dad about how Santa got down the pipe. The response was “shut your pie hole and go open your gifts”. My brothers were already tearing into their gifts but paused to shoot me the death stare. Nothing needed to be said….I understood from that point on to keep my mouth shut….the Christmas code of silence had been established. I never questioned Santa again, even after he got sh*tfaced and forgot to put my gifts under the tree. Turns out….Santa is Irish…..