Christmas certainly brings back many fond memories; going out with family to a tree farm in the cold Ohio snow to find that just right one, and hauling it back home to set it up and put on tinsel, lights and decorations. The aroma of a freshly cut tree in the living room was wonderful. You knew Christmas had arrived.
I was thinking the other day, it's hard to believe, Dad has been gone for 12 years now. Gone... but certainly not forgotten. He was bigger than life, had boat loads of charisma, and enjoyed a good joke and cigar. He possessed mad, pro-level bowling skills (Once bowled a 299 in league competition! The alley gave him the pin that refused to fall) and despite all efforts, I could never beat him at pool. He was a master of the bank shot and showed no mercy to his opponents.
Years ago, his brothers, sisters, and cousins, started a family tradition of getting together at Christmas time and having a nighttime "party for grownups." In other words, no children allowed. A big part of that was Dad's funny tape recording where he would mercilessly roast all those in attendance with bawdy, inside, family humor. He worked all year on recording funny bits, then played it at the party. (Think Dean Martin celebrity roast and you're on the right track). It drew big laughs, and those in attendance couldn't wait to hear what he had drummed up that year, even if the cringe factor was off the charts. I'm sure it was kind of an honor to have him roast you.
He had one of those old reel to reel tape recorders and a microphone set up year round in the bedroom, and when the inspiration hit him, he'd fire it up and use homemade sound effects, and his own devilish vocal delivery, to tell a funny story or joke about some unsuspecting family member. I remember him laughing hysterically as he put the whole thing together at home, and I could tell he truly enjoyed creating that year's comical masterpiece. It was, as they say, a labor of love.
These days when we need a sound effect for a production, we can instantly find it online with the click of a mouse. Dad did it the old school way. And had a helluva good time doing it.