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Ross Murray's Border Report
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Ross Murray
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is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at ross_murray@sympatico.ca
Posted 12.24.12
Stanstead, Quebec

ROSS MURRAY

The twelve hours of Christmas

On the first hour of Christmas, my true love gave to me a kick right in the back of the thigh to nudge me out of bed and start the coffee, because she could tell from the smell -- or lack of smell, to be precise -- that I must have set the alarm wrong.

That's easy to do because, does the little red dot mean the coffee alarm is set or does that mean a.m.? Or maybe it's p.m. Anyway, it wasn't a hard kick but she got me just right, and my true love gave to me a charley horse. I limped downstairs and turned on the coffee, our favourite brand: Partridge & Pear Organic Hazelmochanut.

On the second hour of Christmas, my true love gave to me a look, one of those wide-eyed "look-over-there" nods. The kids had come screaming down the stairs and I was by the stereo putting on that classic psychedelic Christmas CD by The Turtles, "Doves Are All Around Me," when I noticed my true love motioning to the end table where the snack left for Santa was still sitting out, unnibbled!

Whoops! "Look outside, kids!" I said quickly. "Reindeer poop!" I gobbled up the cookies and slurped the milk. Kids: always falling for the reindeer poop con.

On the third hour of Christmas, my true love gave to me a sweater with three adorable hens embroidered on the front. "Thanks, hon!" I said and gave her a kiss -- French. "Gross," said the kids.

On the fourth hour of Christmas, my true love gave to me a few minutes to spend calling my parents while she prepared our favourite Christmas brunchtime treat -- onion rings! I know, we're weird. Our friends think we're for the birds. But I think we're "batter" than that. Get it?

On the fifth hour of Christmas, my true love gave to me -- what else? -- five golden onion rings! "Just five?" I asked. "You didn't set the coffee maker," she said. "Oh."

On the sixth hour of Christmas, my true love gave to me such a fright! I was hauling the discarded giftwrap out to the recycling bin when -- "BWAHH!" -- she leaped out of the bin! Every year she does this! She laughed and laughed. "I spent the last twelve months allaying your fears that I would ever do that again," she hooted, "and I still got you!" So I goosed her. Twice. (Geesed her?)

On the seventh hour of Christmas, my true love gave to me a bath. Well, she didn't give me the bath. I'm an adult. But she did run one for me after I got covered with food scraps (kids in the compost bin, BOO!, leftovers flying -- honestly, I think this family confuses Christmas with April Fool's Day). I was soaking in the tub when the five-year-old came in and noticed her bath toys floating around. "Are those two rubber ducks swimming there?" she asked. "No," I said, "just swan."

On the eighth hour of Christmas, my true love gave to me her cold. This is what happens when you hide in frigid recycling bins and French kiss. If I play it right, I'll be milking this for the rest of the day and have the family serve as my personal maids. Hey, remember that eighties show "We Got It Made"...?

On the ninth hour of Christmas, I napped. That's it, just napped and dreamt of ladies with high hair dancing to an interminable Christmas song. I think my true love gave to me a shake at one point but I slept through it.

On the tenth hour of Christmas, my true love gave to me the Christmas turkey to carve. I hate carving, and my nose was still more stuffed than the bird. "You know what we should do next year?" I said. "We should order in Christmas dinner. Chinese Christmas dinner, from Dragon Lords on Tannenbaum Street. And instead of turkey, we could have Lee Ping Duck. What do you think?" "Good gravy..." muttered my true love.

On the eleventh hour of Christmas, my true love gave to me her blessing to give the blessing. Then we ate. "Pass the vegetables, please," she said, "but watch the peppers; they're piping hot." "Peppy pipers?" I said. (My ears were clogged because of the cold.) "No, hot peppers, not hot pipers," she said, which cleared up the misunderstanding but got her started on hunky Highlanders in those romance books she reads. I stopped paying attention, ate my meal and daydreamed about the dancing ladies.

On the twelfth hour of Christmas, my true love gave to me an Advil. My head was pounding like twelve drummers drumming -- as simple as that. "I'm going to bed," I said to my true love. "Merry Christmas. It was a great day." She pulled me close, put her arms around me, and whispered in my ear: "Did you set the coffee maker?"

Ross Murray's collection, You're Not Going to Eat That, Are You?, is available in Quebec in area book stores and through www.townships.ca. He can be reached at ross_murray@sympatico.ca.

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