St. Nick's Outlaws
By Jim Colombo
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Copyright 2001 Jim Colombo
It was Tuesday morning, and Jim and his parents were accustomed to waking up early
on Christmas Day, going to nine o’clock mass, and then going somewhere for Christmas
breakfast. Sleeping in on Christmas morning was a new experience for them. Some
cultures have a late dinner when returning from midnight mass. That was a meal that Jim
and his parents would decline. They were settled in their routine of life with dinner at six.
Jim’s day began at ten when Lupe called. She thanked Jim once again for the gold
bracelet with pearls that matched the pearl ring that Jim had given her for her birthday.
Jim thanked Lupe for the red wool cap she had knitted. He appreciated the effort and love
she gave making the cap that was a simple, but meaningful symbol that was priceless.
Lupe and Rosa arrived at three o'clock for an early dinner with Jim and his
parents. Mary slow roasted a leg of lamb, made gravy with the pan drippings, and served
the lamb with mint jelly and homemade biscuits. A salad and a vegetable were served.
The adults drank red wine, and Jim and Lupe drank Coke. Rosa had brought an
assortment of Mexican cookie she had baked for desert. Gifts were exchanged and all
were pleased with what they received. Jim and his parents gave Rosa three aluminum
cooking pans that Rosa had admired the Christmas before. Lupe and Rosa gave Jim’s
parents sweaters. Joe and Mary thanked Rosa and Lupe.
After dinner Jim and Lupe went for a walk to 24th and Castro Streets to Bud’s Ice
Cream to buy a hand packed quart of chocolate. Bud was in his forties, had gray hair, and
wore glasses. He had an old Dumont television that had a four-inch screen with a
magnifying lens attached so that the figures on the screen could be seen. Bud was an ex
Navy man who made his own ice cream in the back of his tiny store on the corner. Bud
sold ten flavors and had a new treat to offer, a frozen banana on a stick that was dipped
in melted chocolate that became hard like candy. Bud wasn’t married and his life was the
ice cream store. He was open on Christmas day from noon to five. Lupe liked the frozen
banana dipped in chocolate, and Jim liked Bud's strawberry ice cream that had big chucks
of strawberries. They quickly walked home so that the ice cream wouldn't melt. Jim’s
parents had a Crosley refrigerator that had a small freezer that held one tray of ice cubes
and a quart of ice cream. Later coffee was served with Rosa’s Mexican cookies and ice
cream. Most of the conversation was about how President Johnson would do as a leader.
Concern was growing over America’s involvement in Southeast Asia. Where we really
threatened. Why were we there?
More next week...