Christmas 1975, Blaine, Minnesota
I had a few older cousins who were pretty hardcore city kids. The two I saw most often were Carrie and Chad, who lived with my Aunt Beverley Gstohl in Grandma and Grandpa Anderson’s house. We normally spent Christmas Eve at their place and then went to one of the Anderson clan households for Xmas Day, rotating each year. We all lived within an hour of each other, so it wasn’t like we never saw each other, they always came to visit us at the lake.
After opening presents, we separated from the adults and went down to the basement. Down there was Grandpa’s rumpus room, complete with full bar and card table, the smell of tobacco juice coming from the empty Ten High Whisky bottles he used as a spittoon. We went through the laundry room to Carrie’s little room.
A big poster of Ozzy Osbourne adorned her wall, and she had written I Love Ozzy in big black marker letters across his pants. The lyrics of Mother’s Little Helper in calligraphy on onion paper hung from a hook, and the big three foot red bong eeked out the smoke of a recent toke. In the corner, a life sized cardboard cut out of Bootsy Collins. She slipped a record on the turntable.
Parliament Mothership Connection. It was like some psychedelic black power comic book from the first opening radio monologue to the last chariot ride home. Our second generation Norwegian grandparents were singing Sue City Sioux around Grandpa’s organ while we were entering the pyramid, the wisdom of ancient Egypt coming down on the ONE.