a re-print of my classic 2004 Christmas memories…..
The Great Christmas Weenie Incident
Apparently in a small little town in northern Indiana, someone thought it would be a good idea to parade Santa Clause up and down the main thoroughfare in a giant weenie shaped car (a.k.a. the Oscar Meyer wiener mobile). Not only was he riding the weenie, proudly waving from the sun roof (I almost used bun roof, but thought it was a little too punny), but he was being led by not one or two but three police cars. Lights and sirens blaring announcing the arrival of Santa and the giant weenie. The even had set up a “Hot Dog Enforcement Zone” with giant orange hazard signs.
We happened to be next to the “Hot Dog Enforcement Zone” at the largely uninteresting Taco Bell on one of those fine Baughn family adventure’s we seem to get ourselves into from time to time. Santa and Weenie caused quite a fuss. There were four teen-aged girls in the Taco Bell and when they pulled into the pharmacy parking lot next to us the girls went squealing out the door to meet him, and get a free hot dog. Of course once Santa arrived – about the same time we got our food – neither of our children wanted to eat.
Then the fidgeting started. Shuffling food around, finding excuses to get up from the table, making faces at the people in the drive thru, crying for no apparent reason and the ever popular trips to the bathroom. During all of this it occurs to me that it is impossible to have a quiet uninterrupted meal with my family. After the fourth or fifth time or telling one or the other to “stop it,” “turn around and sit down,” and “no” I was at the end of my rope. Barely clinging on, and silently cursing Santa and the giant weenie is when it happened. On a trip back from the bathroom Dawson tripped and fell while getting into the booth and in embarrassment started crying. Not quietly, but the heaving, sobbing type. Everyone inside Taco Bell turned to look of course – and what did they see? A sobbing 6 year old, a perplexed 2 year old, a dad trying desperately to quiet the sobbing and a mom hysterical with laughter and tears running down her cheeks.
Several people in Taco Bell I’m sure saw a heartless mom. I simply couldn’t help it. I was at the point where I was either going to be carted off in an ambulance with the men in the white coats, or I had to laugh. It just all became so overwhelming, the crying, the Santa, the giant weenie, the seatbelt enforcement zone signs modified to say hot dog enforcement, the lights, the sirens and the giant Spongebob on top of the Burger King next door. I was actually waiting on locusts, or a blizzard or hurricane or flood to make it all complete.
In my lifetime I’ve only seen the Oscar Meyer Weiner-mobile on TV or in pictures. What were the odds that it would be 40 miles from no-where (toting Santa Clause no less) the same day and same time as the Baughn family on their trip to Chicago? I’ve learned not to ask these questions because the answer frightens me. If it is at all possible for the impossible to happen it will happen to us.
We gave up on our tacos. We piled back into the trusty minivan and drove over to see Santa and the Weenie, and just about everyone who lived in town getting a free hot dog. I took a picture, so one day I can re-live the experience of seeing the Weenie-mobile and Santa.
On my way to work today it happened, an Oscar-Mayer wiener commercial on the radio. As the children joyfully sang “Oh I wish I were an Oscar-Mayer wiener…” I got the vision. The vision of Santa Clause proudly waving from atop the weenie while being led by fully lit police cars with sirens blaring. It stared as a chuckle but as I drove down I465 it turned into an all out, pee your pants type of laugh.
How will you remember Christmas 2004? Christmas carols, hot chocolate and wonderful candy canes. Not me! I will only see Santa riding the Giant Weenie. And now, you will too.