Jon Dawson: Ghosts of Christmas past with Tax Deductions 1 & 2

Photo by Marta Wave on

It looks like we’re about to experience a cold Christmas with some form of precipitation in tow – which is exactly how it’s supposed to be. 

The upcoming blizzard has been the main topic of conversation in every office, restaurant, and prison bridge club for days. Whether you’re chatting with coworkers in the breakroom, having breakfast at your favorite diner, or being shivved in the prison cafeteria, you’ve heard at least one wingnut say they’d love to have warm weather at Christmas.

For everyone whining about the seasonally appropriate weather, just remember that about five years ago it was 80 degrees on Christmas day, and it was horrifying.

Nothing says Christmas like the hum of the air conditioner and the sight of your Uncle Earl handing out presents in Bermuda shorts and white knee-high socks. Don Ho’s Christmas album finally made sense.

Blizzard Building Supply is located at 405 Walston Ave, Kinston.

Human beings in the 21st century are already confused enough without traditionally cold weather holidays taking place during what feels like spring break at the equator. The humidity was such that after a few days the Christmas cards on display in our home were reduced to the consistency of a Kraft cheese single, unable to be propped no matter how you bent them. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, thousands of gingerbread houses succumbed to the weltering mugginess, causing more insurance claims to be filed since the Tater Gun Riots of 1847.

Luckily Santa didn’t leave anything for our two Tax Deductions that year that required intricate assembly. That being said, it’s now nearly impossible to install batteries into a toy without the use of a screwdriver. A couple of candy bars left in the kid’s stockings required they download an app before being opened. On Christmas Eve Santa Claus woke me up and asked me to sign a liability waiver that would ensure he wouldn’t be sued for damages if our beloved TD#2 hurt herself while using the roller skates he left her. Upon further inspection, I discovered the document I signed also ropes me into a 3-year subscription to Sports Illustrated. I guess those reindeer vet bills can add up.

While Tax Deduction #1 mostly received gift cards to her two favorite stores (Michael’s and Paramilitary Direct), Tax Deduction #2 was big on the movie “Frozen” that year. She received “Frozen” dolls, hair brushes, fingernail clippers, lighter fluid, and chewing tobacco. One person gave TD#2 Elsa and Anna dolls from “Frozen” that sing that infernal “Let It Go” song, which is almost tolerable until she cranks both of them up for an out-of-sync duet that sounds like Bob Dylan and Keith Richards trying to sing “Silver Bells” after splitting a gallon of Sterno.

Bannister’s Fine Gifts is GOING OUT OF BUSINESS! For massive savings visit 106 West Railroad Street in La Grange.

Before figuring out a way for the Anna and Elsa dolls to mysteriously come down with laryngitis, they had to be removed from their packaging. If movies, TV shows, and advertising have taught us anything over the last decade it’s that there is allegedly nothing dumber than an adult male. At one time I thought this might have been social engineering run amok, but after spending what felt like an eternity trying to dislodge a plastic doll from a cardboard box it caused me to reconsider my position. 

In this day and age, there are fewer harnesses and restraints in Bill Clinton’s presidential library than there are in the packaging of a simple toy.

On Christmas day I was told the story of the year my dad and his two brothers received a pony for Christmas. Turns out my grandfather got the pony (which they named Prince) on a deal because it was blind in one eye.

For whatever reason, my uncle Wiley was given the honor of being the first person to ride Prince. Sadly, someone tried to pet Prince on his blind side which made him take off like a rocket across several fields, ditches, streams, highways, and briar patches. At some point during the great skedaddle Wiley was thrown from Prince and landed on his head, which according to family lore explains much of his behavior later in life. To this day if anyone snorts like a horse or sings the opening lines from “Little Red Corvette” Wiley hits the deck.

A couple of old friends — Correai Moore and Jode Haskins — were in town for Christmas that year and it was great being able to spend time with them. Correai and I traditionally enter the fray on Dec. 26 in search of a deal, and this year he knocked it out of the park with the purchase of a new duster and some discounted wrapping paper. Calm down, ladies, Correai is spoken for. I’ll throw myself under the bus also and confess to buying some Christmas lights that were on sale. Sounds like the plot of an overrated Tarantino movie, doesn’t it? Ice-T and The Rock are rumored to be connected to the project.

When we arrived back at the house after a manly morning of shopping we saw TD#2 easing around the carport on her new skates – which came with a pink helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, etc. The Wife nor TD#1 had called an ambulance yet so all seemed to be going well. Having never been on skates before she did very well, and the few times she did fall she landed on her tuckus — which would be fine if it weren’t the size of a 50-cent hamburger. The next day her skating improved a bit and by then she’d learned to fall forward and catch herself, thus protecting the ‘ol horn section.

Even though TD#2 tried to split the pavement a few times she never got upset or so much as whimpered. However, later that evening while eating something salty she realized that at some point during the day she’d gotten herself a paper cut. A teeny, tiny, barely noticeable to the naked eye paper cut. The repeated collisions with the concrete earlier in the day were no problem, but this little paper cut the width of an anorexic butterfly’s wing causing her to lose her marbles like Col. Tom’s accountant at Elvis’s funeral.

Tears the size of butter beans popped out of her head as if she were hooked up to a sprinkler system. The cries of pain were so great I thought the smoke detectors were going off. She wanted a Band-Aid even though there was no blood. Normally I’d make her tough it out, but since she was going to be around lots of people during Christmas and I didn’t want her to tell them I denied her medical attention I caved. In fact, to make sure she had all the protection she needed I put an entire box of — you guessed it — “Frozen”-themed Band-Aids on that little paper cut. There were so many bandages on that little hand that by the time I finished she couldn’t even lift it; she had to drag it around on the floor like it was a pet.

Merry Christmas everybody. Let’s do it again in 12 months.

Jon Dawson’s books are available at

The entire archive of shows can be found at

The Bryan Hanks Show airs on 960-AM in Kinston and daily at 7 a.m. & 3 p.m. It also airs on the suite of stations in New Bern and Greenville (107.5-FM) at 6 p.m.

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