Oscar E Moore

From the rear mezzanine theatre, movies and moore

Oscar E Moore header image 2


December 20th, 2023 by Oscar E Moore

There have been many a Christmas tree in my life.  Even a Hanukkah Bush.  But few were chosen.  And so, I take this time to reflect.  A very personal view.

From the ridiculous – does anyone remember EVERGLEAM?  Hard to forget those easy to assemble aluminum monstrosities – rotating color wheel included!  To the sublime – a revelation!  A glowing, aromatic real candle lighted Scotch pine shared in the cozy Upper West Side apartment – Eighty fifth off Central Park West – with my first infatuation and The Pearl Fishers, culminating with a very personal bittersweet remembrance when I was ten.

Humor me.

Thanksgiving has come and gone.  Again.  The overlong, boring and seemingly endless Macy’s parade is now on endless repeat.  Football games overpopulate the airways.  I don’t get that game.  Never did.  And we are being force fed the traditional expectations of that miraculous birth of that poor carpenter who was crucified for all those that believe in such glad tidings.  All to the sound of the cash register.

I remember when all things were simpler.  I remember eagerly anticipating having my father with me tagging along carefully selecting and bringing home a perfect Blue Spruce (the only acceptable) tree to decorate for the Christmas holiday.  Oh, its wonderful smell.  And all that snow.  If we were lucky.  Hundreds of tiny flakes peacefully drifting down into our meager back yard.

Taking out the few dusty cardboard boxes of old fragile glass finely decorated ornaments hidden away in a hallway closet.  Carefully.  Enjoying their glistening beauty.

Look!  A string of colorful plastic lights resembling candles that when untangled (not so easy) and plugged in, their encased liquid would mysteriously start to bubble-up from within.  Magical.

Don’t forget the Tinsel!  Not too much.  Be careful.  Don’t throw it on.  Place it gently and with purpose.  Like icicles.  And my favorite camel.

Part of a Nativity set.  The only survivor.  Made of chalk.  I loved it and still do.  Omar remains close by on view all year long.

Christmas Eve.  I must have been about ten.  Aware but not fully of how things really were between my parents.  Not much communication.  Each of us in our own world.  I was happy enough just to enjoy the beauty of the snow that kept falling all day long and looking forward to decorating the Blue Spruce that was outside in the yard in a bucket of water keeping it fresh.  Awaiting its entry into the living room.  Mom sat in our Christmas tree less living room quietly smoking a cigarette and silently fuming.

The snow kept falling.  Beautiful and peaceful.  It seemed like hours passed as the snow drifted and I kept going down the hallway to look outside for any sign of my father.  What could be keeping him?  Why is he so late?  Where is he?  Who is he with?  So many unanswered questions.  Perhaps it was better not knowing.

I bet it’s Frank.  Well, it’s Friday.  My father’s official night out.  Always arriving home between nine and ten with a roasted chicken that he plopped down on a small folding table and proceeded to eat, down to the bones watching the fights on TV.  The ones between my parents I guess weren’t fulfilling.  Hearty appetite he had.  No talking necessary.  Never an explanation.

So I figured it was Frank.  Who else?  Frank – his demanding stepfather Frank.  An obese, oafish thug-like creature from the Westside waterfront docks and bars.

I have been trying to remember his last name.  Pracht?  Yes.  Pracht.  He made me nervous.  Our personalities clashed.  So I shut up.  However, he was in possession of a Model T Ford that I loved riding in.  It had a grey flannel interior and some small glass vases near each window.  They didn’t seem to go together.  The thug and the car that is.  Anyway…

My father’s original father (I had overheard) was shot dead in a Westside bar.  That’s all I heard.  Not one word more.  Ever.  Oh yes, supposedly he was a boxer!  Sadie the bereaved widow somehow, somewhere met up with Frank.  In a saloon?  They, I suppose, got married (yes I did see a wedding photo of the contented couple) and she soon took to her bed with a never empty glass of whiskey at her bedside.  Ordering Frank to do this and to do that all the while smiling happily with her most recent refill.  She had a nice happy laugh and twinkling eyes.

Across from their Forty Second Street walk up railroad apartment stood an imposing hotel (the name escapes me for the moment – the Harlan Hotel? No, the Hotel Holland) that housed an intriguing assortment of midget wrestlers that I could see out of Frank and Sadie’s not very clean windows just beyond the player piano and a collection of eerie looking dolls dressed in faded lace.  Extremely dead like.

So there I stood.  Once again.  In the doorway.  Like Snoopy faithfully greeting Charlie Brown.  Or should I say like Charlie Brown awaiting his faithful Snoopy?  Shivering and looking and waiting for my father (I seem not to ever remember calling him dad) and enjoying the snowfall along with its accumulating drifts.

He arrived.  Without a word and without his roasted chicken.  Mom smoked another cigarette trying her best to avoid the inevitable battle.

Without removing his coat he slurred, “Well, Butch what are we waiting for?  Let’s get that beauty and put her up and decorate the halls with boughs of holly.”  And so I dutifully followed him out into the yard where we discovered that this year’s beautiful Blue Spruce was frozen stiff.  Stuck in its solid bucket of ice.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Tags: No Comments

Leave A Comment

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.