Everyone agreed they wanted to watch a movie, the problem was agreeing on which one. And the grandchildren were divided along family lines.
Brothers Anderson and Alexander (the Double A’s, a nickname that refers as much to their energy as to the fact both their names start with an “A”) wanted Home Alone 2.
Jack, age 9, and his sister Emma, age 6, wanted to see what they called Home Alone 1, which in reality is just called Home Alone and was the first in the series of wildly popular Christmas-themed movies.
In the movie, Macaulay Culkin plays Kevin McCallister, a young boy who is accidently left behind when his parents, brothers and sisters, cousins, even his uncle and aunt, all fly off to Paris for a Christmas vacation. The first two movies in the series have become Christmas classics and are much loved by both young and old.
After some delicate negotiations during their Dec. 14 visit, the grandkids agreed on Home Alone and off we headed to the room with the “big TV”. It was time for the movie.
“The cop is a really a bad guy,” said Alexander, age 7, playing the spoiler role only minutes into the movie. He was referring to the Joe Pesci character Harry, one of the film’s bumbling burglars.
Speaking of police and lawbreakers, Emma wondered if anyone could be sent to jail on Christmas Eve. One of the surrounding three wise men, or wise guys, remarked: “Only if you rob a tree.”
In one scene in the movie the lead actor says “family sucks.” Emma quickly disagreed.
“No they don’t, he will get a lump of coal for saying that.”
Just for emphasis she decided to spell coal.
“That’s C-O-O-L. No, that’s not right, C-O-O-L-L.”
In another part of the movie Kevin gets to live out a fantasy when he rides his toboggan down the staircase and out the front door.
“I would do that,” exclaimed Anderson, age 8. I thought to myself, he definitely would if given even the slightest opportunity.
In another scene, a pet tarantula gets loose.
“I touched one once,” piped up Emma, living up to her reputation as a chatterbox.
Then, out of the blue a few minutes later, she asked: “Do they have their ears pierced?”
“I like this part,” said Emma, referring to another particular scene.
“You’ve never seen this movie Emma,” brother Jack observed dryly.
Such was the banter back and forth as the youngsters both watched, and commented on, the movie.
The furnace scene prompted a caution from Alexander. In the movie, Kevin is terrified of it, and in his imagination the furnace takes on the appearance of a monster.
In a very earnest tone, Alexander pointed out that furnaces can’t be trusted.
“The furnace actually talks. It does creepy stuff. The creepy eyes are actually real. He’s not imagining.”
“Ya, ya that’s good,” Jack said, referring to a long-winded explanation from Alexander, as he is known to do.
During a movie break, while I dashed off to pick up a pizza, a small Christmas miracle occurred. The North River Fire Department’s two brightly coloured fire trucks drove by and stopped at a nearby seniors’ facility. Santa and Mrs. Claus went inside to visit the residents, with the grandkids hot in pursuit.
Speaking of Santa Claus and his many imitations, Emma clarified that she knows sometimes people dress up as Santa.
“But they’re not the real Santa that comes at Christmas,” she added.
Later on, after the film was over, the Sandman started to make his presence known. Jack and Emma’s father arrived to take them home to their comfy beds.
It was then bedtime for the double A’s. Alexander went meekly to his while brother Anderson went to his bed upstairs.
I tucked Anderson in and reassured him I would be in the nearby room if he needed anything. It wasn’t long before he called out.
“How many days is it until Christmas?”
I told him Christmas Eve was only 10 days away.
“So tomorrow there will only be nine days until Christmas Eve?”
“Good,” he said as he drifted off to that dreamy, wondrous place inhabited only by the minds of children, a place where all dreams and all things are possible.
On behalf of Jack, Anderson, Alexander and Emma, and speaking in the spirit of the beloved Charles Dickens character Tiny Tim, I say “God bless us, everyone!”
Gary MacDougall is managing editor of The Guardian. He can be reached by telephone at (902) 629-6039; by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or Twitter.com/GaryGuardian.