December 18, 2014

Merry Christmas

It was December of 1977 or '78. Mom was working at Sears at the Centre Mall in Hamilton. 

It was all about Dad, me and the apple of my eye, my little brother, Paul. Seriously, no little brother in the history of kids was more loved than this little guy. 

Dad takes us to the mall that night. I think we went to Eatons or maybe Sears to say hi to Mom. 

At that age I was, to put it mildly, obsessed with The Flintstones.  When Dad brought home the fancy new remote for the T.V., the most important information he needed to impart on his beloved first-born was which two channels aired my favourite show.  I knew every episode by heart. 12:00 pm and sometimes even 12:30 (if Agri-News wasn't airing that day), was all about my modern stone-age family. Look out world. I had my grilled cheese and my show. I may have needed a little more ketchup, but other than that...leave me alone, I was good. 

Back to my story. So that Friday night, Dad, me and the babe are at the Mall. 
Dad finds the Holy Grail of Christmas ornaments: The Flinstones ornament set. Fred, Barney, Wilma and Betty; they're all there in their Christmas costumes.  

My ornament form. Whatever the cost, my six year old self needed them. 

Fear not.

Good ol' Sinatra-loving Dad understands my obsession. He gets it. I have nothing to worry about, we're going home with these ornaments tonight. 

I know what you're thinking. What a great man. And he is. He does not disappoint. Over the years I would learn that his discovery of the Flintstone ornaments only scratched the surface of this man's many talents. Cars fixed, dinners made, dogs entertained, you name it, this Dad does it all. Who else drives to Erie, PA and back to watch his son's hockey game in one night?  
He's that guy. 

Have you ever driven through Dunkirk, New York on your way to Erie? Even in July, you're bound to experience lake-effect snow.
My folks are just those kind of devoted parents. 

So we get home. Let's get these babies up on the tree right?  Well, slow down my friend. Dad appreciates that these ornaments are not just any ornaments. These are a big deal. These belong to Patti and she gets to put them up on the tree. 


So what do we do with that adorable little kid. That face that even six year old me couldn't help but love. Those cheeks. Good heavens those cheeks.  When he was born I literally thought to myself, I will kiss those cheeks so much! I was four at the time. How does a four-year old know this?   

Well, that night I learned about a little trick parents have been pulling for years.  
Dad told me to pretend to go to bed so that my adorable little puppy of a brother would be convinced that he too should do the same. And it worked. Big sister Patti trudged off to bed and little brother did the same. 

Ten minutes later, Dad came to get me and I put the ornaments up on the tree while the Ray Conniff Singers provided the soundtrack.

It was glorious.
I bet it was 8:15 pm, but it felt like the middle of the night. 

Special thanks to dear ol' Dad for going the extra mile to
take this photo for me! xo 
I hung my ornaments up on the tree, all on my own.  
My ornaments from my show. 
I got to stay up 'til Mom came home from work. I was living the dream.

Those ornaments go up every year at Mom and Dad's house. They are very well loved. Over the years, they've been used to act out many a Flintstones episode (only at Christmas of course!).

A few years ago, at Christmas, my father, Silvio Colontino, super-hero extraordinaire, hands me a carefully wrapped gift.  

Some things need no explanation. 

My set of ornaments didn't come with Pebbles. I think it's one of the most precious and thoughtful gifts my father has given me. Those ornaments are a special story from my childhood.  

I hope the students in my class receive the kind of gifts this year, and throughout their lives, that bring them the same kind of joyful memories my Flintstone ornaments bring me.  


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