Not a Proud Christmas Moment But A Memorable One

Wrote this for my Writers’ Group Christmas Party tonight–an unusual memory perhaps, but a memory nonetheless:

71 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

71 Chevrolet Monte Carlo (Photo credit: DVS1mn)

What was I thinking? My conscious has been niggling at me lately and it is about an adventure I had in fourth year at university. I have not always been the lovely person you are accustomed to, and every now and then a flash of that earlier feisty, perhaps a little selfish and superficial personality shows its rather unlovely self…. but not too often.

I remember the days when life was about me, me, me. And many of my friends were the same. It was not like we were horrible people—we were just single kids in our early twenties who had to find an outlet for our energy after studying our brains out for mid-terms.

We lived in residence but since we were seniors we got to live in the residence that had apartments—with four room-mates sharing accommodations. And it was boys and girls living down the hall from each other—which was a real change from separate residences, where the boys had to be “signed in” at the front desk before being allowed upstairs.

In real life, we were no longer boys and girls, we were men and women—but being at school we were not challenged by the responsibilities of mortgages, and keeping our homes respectable, and paying bills other than our tuition, books and housing. Many of us were still supported somewhat by parents, loans, and summer jobs. So maybe we can be forgiven for our dastardly deed.

It was Christmas and we were in the midst of finishing up final papers and studying for finals. The guys down the hall had a Christmas tree, and I and my roommates thought that having one would brighten up our spirits and apartment. So we asked them where they got their tree. They told us they had swiped it from a mall a couple of miles away. Someone had set up a tree kiosk and was selling the trees in the parking lot. They had all piled into an old 71 Chevy and secured a tree—but really what they had done was stalk the lot after midnight and stolen the tree when no one was there to see them.

There was a process to the whole adventure. They had driven to the lot, turned their lights off, run to the where trees were kept and taken a tree as opposed to choosing a tree with deliberation and thought. They then peeled out of the lot with four wheels barely on the pavement and raced home. Well, this sounded like quite an adventure to my roommates and me. The guys offered to take us to the lot and procure a tree for us—but we had to come along. So eight of us piled into the big brown Chevy and we nonchalantly made our way to the lot.

We entered the lot, turned off the car’s headlights, and three guys piled out of the car to get us our tree while the driver waited in anticipation of taking off like a wild man. They got the tree—stuffed it in the trunk and got back in the car. The car doors were barely closed when we were peeling out of the driveway, tossed around in the back seat of the car like rag dolls. And of course we were laughing and having a merry old time. There may have been some grain or grape beverages involved—I am not sure.

A grower in Waterloo, Nova Scotia prunes Balsa...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We got back to residence—jubilant in our success. We did not think about the fact that we were stealing. We did not think about the fact that the trees we had stolen were the basis for someone’s livelihood—we just basked in the glory of our escapade. We took the tree into our apartment and decorated with strings of popcorn and paper snowflakes. Such a lovely centrepiece to our Christmas celebrations—untainted by any feelings of regret.

Today I wonder what we were thinking.  We probably knew it was wrong but were too high on the adventure to let that bother us. This Christmas memory is not one that I regret, as it makes me think about the fact that good people sometimes do questionable things. We learn from those things and it becomes part and parcel of who we are. Despite the fact that it still niggles at me—I still remember the rush of excitement, the camaraderie in the devilish deed, and the fun we had.

Have you ever done something that you regret or should regret?

Published in: on December 6, 2013 at 9:14 pm  Comments (30)  
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30 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. More things than I could even mention in a response… One thing I should regret but don’t – sneaking into Shea Stadium one night with two of my friends, running the bases and singing ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ on home plate before the security guys ran us out of there.

    • I would love to have been there–but I would have been belting out O Canada (but not the French version).

      • Laughing – we could have stood there together and pretended we were doing “Dueling Banjos” but with national anthems….and our voices…Ok, lousy analogy, but you should have been there.

      • That would have been great–a little naughty but who did it hurt?

  2. haha…. stole watermelons, once and climbed the fence to the local swimming pool at midnight on hot summer night and went skinny dipping.
    I think its an important rite of passage to do things like that. And no, I didn’t consider how my actions affected others. I tried to remember this when my own children did some wild and crazy things. But my perspective was sooooo different!
    Loved reading this story and the memories it brought back to me.


  4. I think we’ve all done something immature and thoughtless like this. I remember having a party with my best friend. Afterward, we bagged up all the trash and then dumped it on the lawn of her old boyfriend, who was grounded, and got in trouble for it. Not my proudest moment, though I would have argued differently back then.

    • we all had those moments–we learned from them but at the time we could justify them somehow

  5. I have a couple of memories like that, but if you want stories that will curl your hair you need to talk to my hubby LOL!! He was a badddd boy :).

  6. The one thing that stands out as a regret is not having my sister (5 years older than me) as my matron of honor at our wedding. I asked a girlfriend of my husband’s best man to be my maid of honor. I barely knew her but because she was the ‘girlfriend’ .. I thought I should ask her. But that decision I found out really hurt my sister. She was married and had a baby just before we were married… and I guess I didn’t think of her actually wanting to be… I PLAIN just didn’t think… and I hurt my very dear sister …Diane

    • Just had to comment Diane because I really felt for you when I read that comment! I get the impression it was a long time ago but you’ve never really forgiven yourself, it still sounds raw. I read on someone else’s blog recently something about turning things around and thinking about what advice you would give to one of your children, like if it was one of your children that was in your position here, would you say to them, “Well yes, you hurt your sister, and even though you didn’t mean to, you must berate yourself and feel bad about it for ever more.”? Of course you wouldn’t, and so if that advice wouldn’t be good enough for one of your children, then it isn’t good enough for you. Sorry for sticking my nose in, but your comment just touched me!

      • You’re right you know….because it has come up from time to time and somehow I still think my sister feels the hurt and so I take it back. She doesn’t mean to make me feel bad…. she says it kind of jokingly…… but I really do still feel bad. But you’re also right that I’ve got to let it go somehow…. I know I have to. but until you said that I didn’t really realize it…. So don’t feel bad … you’ve motivated me to give the ‘guilt’ to God and ask Him to take it for good…. Thank you for caring enough to make the comment…. Diane

      • Well if I’ve helped in some way, I’m glad. I do hope you find a way to let it go because guilt is so destructive and you don’t deserve to keep carrying that around.

    • we can be forgiven for oversights though–getting married is such a stressful time and I am sure you have made it up to your sis over the years

  7. Very naughty!

  8. Oh gosh we’ve all done crazy things in our youth haven’t we! I understand how you feel though, as much as we try and tell ourselves that we were young and foolish and everyone does those things, we still find it quite difficult to forgive ourselves for what we did! When I was 5 or 6, and living in France, me and a couple of friends stole ice-creams a few times from outside a cafe – they had one of those chest freezers for ice creams, and you were meant to make your choice and then take it inside to pay, and we just took them and ran off. I still feel bad even though I was so young! I’ve got plenty of other things I regret too!

  9. Living in a university residence must cause a certain level of craziness! I remember walking out of a bar with my rather tipsy friend/roommate. When she accidentally dropped her rather large purse, all the beer glasses hidden inside it broke! Then, on Valentine’s Day, the residence cafeteria was given several very large & beautifully decorated cakes to serve at dinner. A group of us decided to steal one and have our own party. While a few students created a diversion, the rest of us walked out carrying a whole cake and actually got away with it! I can’t say I’m proud of memories like these ones but at the time, they seemed pretty funny.

  10. For my friend’s birthday, seven of us decided to go to Santa Barbara and spend a night there. Given that the hotel only allowed a maximum capacity of four people, we ended up sneaking through the back and cramming ourselves into one room. I remember this escapade involved an air mattress, a deck of cards, and some mysterious bottles of drink. Definitely memorable and I honestly can’t say I regret it! Not proud of it, but not regretful either. 😉

  11. We humans can close down our minds to so many different facets of awareness–like the fact that someone is trying to make a living selling Christmas trees. I think we’ve all had moments like these. I stole some orange vodka from my parent’s store at age 15. OK, I put money anonymously in the till, but this was not good behavior, oh no, not at all…

    • so, is orange vodka good?

      • I don’t remember! It was way too long ago. Ha ha ha !

  12. Loved this story and the thoughts and memories that came with it. Rites of passage indeed! I was 40 something before I confessed to my parents. Now my own kids are nearing 40, I wonder what they will confess to! 🙂

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