Dad loved Christmas. The very first thing he asked my husband-to-be was
Will you be coming home for Christmas?
Promise me you’ll be at our house for Christmas.
Yes, Dad wanted everyone at home for Christmas.
Once we all arrived home safely and December 24th rolled around, it was time to shop at Main Street Liquors for our annual party. Dad would usually work on the morning of the 24th (if it occurred on a weekday); however, once noon rolled around he took us out for lunch and then our shopping trip began.
At the liquor store, Dad had certain things he always bought. He wanted to make sure that everyone – family, friends, and visitors – would have a good time and enjoy the hospitality of Christmas Eve. While we were at the liquor store, Dad would ask,
Is there anything special you want?
That was our cue to grab the latest special premixed cocktails or, in Lindy’s case since she was under-age at the time, a special non-alcoholic carbonated beverage.
Once home, we would bring in the liquor as well as the deli tray we reserved every year. Our menu never varied. We had a giant deli tray and lots of mixed drinks. The guests began to arrive any time after 5. Sometimes people went to church and came to our house, and sometimes people came to our house and then went to church. On one occasion, a friend of Sissy and Lindy’s came to our house and then met his parents in church. When the family arrived back at our house, the mother announced in a rather annoyed voice
Someone in that church had been drinking!
Little did she suspect it was her own son!
The father in that same family always entered our home in the same way on Christmas Eve. He would ring the doorbell and when Lindy or Sissy or I answered, he would sing, “I’m dreaming of a white mistress.” He must have sung that every year on Christmas Eve for more than twenty years, and each year we giggled as though we had never heard it before.
The three of us used to say, “It isn’t Christmas until Mr. Loman sings I’m Dreaming of a White Mistress.” He was the same sort of guy who, full of the holiday spirit (and some other spirits as well) would cheerfully exclaim “Greetings and Hallucinations!” instead of “Greetings and Saltuations!” on seeing you in his neighborhood.
The Christmas Eve parties at Dad’s house were legendary, with rolling groups of people gathering throughout the night. All were welcome, and a good time was had by all.