Back home in Zambia and South Africa, we call Santa Claus, Father Christmas. In Laguna Beach, there’s his wife, Mother Christmas, also known as Halloween Ghoulady. And part-time Party Officiator. Oh, and come to think of it, she could turn out to be the perfect Date Deterrent, or should I say Date Sorter-Outer, if it comes to that?
I’m talking about this heavy-duty foam woman’s head peering down from the back of the basketball hoop above my garage that just this year I’ve taken to decorating. The only action she had before this was watching the occasional basketball game and officiating at my neighborhood’s block party three years earlier when I propped her up against a neighbor’s fence halfway down the block, sans any decoration, just that open-mouthed, wide-eyed stare that watched me dance my ass off in the middle of the street until 1 o’clock in the morning.
I’m not sure where she came from in the first place before she showed up in the vacant lot next to my house seventeen years earlier, abandoned in the dirt. The Pageant of the Masters, is just down the street, so perhaps she was a showgirl and got too old for the job. My ex, who has a soft heart, and an unerring instinct for the weird, rescued her and propped her above what at the time was his basketball hoop (it’s mine now), and there she lolled, scaring the crap out of the neighborhood kids and sparking half-amused WTF looks from passersby over the years.
I got the idea to jazz her up because of Sebastian, a two-year-old boy who had moved in down the street earlier in the year. His parents told me that whenever they passed my house, which is the first one on the block, he insisted on stopping to coo and point at The Head, a huge smile on his face.
So in honor of Sebastian, I bought this fakey bloodied roll of bandages and wrapped it around the old girl’s face, best idea I could come up with. One of the guys down the street suggested I embed a little chainsaw in her cheek and bloody up her cheek. I couldn’t do that to her. She’d never recover. She’s getting on in years, lost some of her lustre and vibrancy as well as a couple of chunks out of her dark brown helmet hair.
So, seeing as how I’m not getting a Christmas tree–the dogs don’t care, besides I’m joining my son and his extended family down in San Diego where they’re renting a house for Christmas week–I decided to throw all my Christmas enthusiasm into decorating my lady friend. Along with a little birdy on the gate. And a partridge in a pear tree.