Recalling Christmas gifts past
One of my favorite Christmases was when I was in elementary school, and my brother and I unwrapped the NCAA Basketball game for Super Nintendo. Santa also brought us a voice recorder machine of some sort that we used to commentate our games with the alias of announcer ‘Bob Tonight.’ With most video games, we’d each take a controller and go at it competing against each other. But, for some reason, with NCAA Basketball, we picked a team and went through the regular season and tournament together: one at the helm with the controller, the other with microphone in hand calling the play-by-play action.
The only real problem with the game is it only had about 32 teams available from the major conferences. So, our team, Louisville (which was in the Metro Conference at the time), was nowhere to be found. And people wonder why Louisville fans sometimes feel they don’t get the respect they deserve. It’s real.
Eric and I decided to cast our lot with the University of North Carolina, and what a good choice it was. The Tar Heels had a couple shooters who flat-out could not miss. I only remember losing one game, when nothing would fall. Bob Tonight was at a loss for words, and the fans couldn’t believe it either. The fans who were heard and not seen, since the games were played on a court revolving in the middle of a big blue mass somewhere in space, it appeared.
What a fun Christmas break that was.
I chuckled after reading about NCAA Basketball and the battles Ross would have, as, in my youth, my brother and I would duke it out as Kentucky (his favorite team) and Missouri (the Big 10 wasn’t in the game, and Missouri’s logo was close to Michigan’s at the time).
Keeping in line with electronics, one of my more interesting gifts was receiving a TI-99/4A home computer for Christmas. The year was 1984 and ‘WarGames’ ‘ a movie starring Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy in which a hacker cracked into a United States military supercomputer and used it to run a nuclear war simulation, nearly starting World War III ‘ had been on a near-constant loop on HBO. I was convinced I could do the same thing, if I only had a computer. Upon opening the box and seeing the brushed aluminum exterior, I just knew I was moments away from running my own ‘WarGames’ with global thermonuclear war.
Not so much.
It was a cool gift from my parents as computers were just starting to come into vogue. I was able to turn my television screen various shades of primary colors and wrote simple programs that would have a user enter their name and what kind of day they were having. But there were no ‘WarGames’ unless you count Texas Instruments’ TI-Invaders (a knock off of Space Invaders).
It was Christmas 2007. I asked Sara to marry me and, the awesome person she is, said yes. It was fun going around telling family and friends the news. Eight years later, she still holds my hand.
One of my favorite gifts to ask for are tickets to whichever football bowl game Louisville participates in around New Year’s. My first bowl experience was in 1993 at the Liberty Bowl (sheets of ice blanketed the concrete steps) and my favorite was the 2012 Sugar Bowl (Teddy Bridgewater is legend).
I’ve experienced numerous Christmas presents in my lifetime. Some were from my wish lists; others were surprises. Some were enjoyed long after the holidays; others, let’s say, not so much.
There is one gift ‘ a totally unexpected one ‘ that continues to bring joy to my life 30 years later.
It was December 1985. I was pregnant with my second child, which was due to arrive about mid-January. The Christmas tree was up, presents were wrapped and ready for giving and everything else was in order.
Then, three days before the big day, during the early morning hours, I sensed the need to go to Harrison County Hospital. A baby was about to be born.
The birth of a baby, to me, has always been a miracle, but, as I attended my church’s candlelight Christmas Eve service with my newborn daughter, listening to the story of Jesus’ birth, I was filled with a new sense of awe.
That was one gift that keeps bringing joy year after year. In 2014, my daughter, Kimberly, blessed me with my first grandchild, a girl. My second grandchild, a boy, is due in February.
These are gifts I’ll cherish forever.
–Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor
We hope your Christmas memories bring joy to you, and may you continue to make new memories this year.
Merry Christmas from The Corydon Democrat newsroom staff.