It was Christmas Eve, 1979. Kara, Melissa and I, were enjoying the night at our grandparent‘s home. Every Christmas, we loved lying under the Christmas tree while looking up from the trunk, admiring the lights from an unusual angle in which only the smaller family members had the privilege to observe. Each year, our grandparents decorated their Christmas tree with several small candy canes, which would taunt us girls like ripened fruit, dangling from its branches. My siblings and I had a predictable habit of slinking around the inside of the tree and stealing the candy; therefore, it was common for us to get into trouble for it. But this time it was the last straw and our grandmother told us we wouldn’t get Christmas if we had taken one more candy cane from the tree!
I decided to “be good” by lying on the living room floor and watching a Christmas special instead of tormenting myself under the tree, when Kara had approached me regarding our youngest sister Melissa, who was hiding in the stairwell. I was led to Melissa who was in tears, when Kara explained to me that they had gotten into the candy canes, and like greedy little squirrels preparing for a long winter, both of my sisters had shoved as many candy canes into their mouths as they could make off with; however, Melissa had gotten one of the candy canes stuck painfully across the roof of her mouth. In an effort to avoid having their shenanigans exposed to any older relatives who would enforce our grandmother’s threat of revoking our Christmas, I formed a hook with my fore finger and bravely risked being bitten by placing it into Melissa’s sticky, drooly, trap, then I pulled the candy from her face.
And that my friends, is one of the few memories I have of Melissa, and how I saved Christmas.