This story may be a little late in the season, but I thought people would enjoy hearing about Porky and Bess’ Christmas.

Growing up in a small house with six siblings, where there wasn’t a lot of money or space for a Christmas tree or decorations, Bess goes all out for Christmas today.

When we were living on the 60-foot yacht in Norfolk, Va., Bess loved to decorate it all over. She couldn’t swim a lick, but she would wrap lights and decorations all over the inside, outside, the handrails, the deck and the fly bridge. The enclosed aft deck was decorated and had the tree as well.

Today, Bess always goes all out in our home with decorations inside and out. She even decorates the bathrooms. We get the six big plastic storage boxes from the attic and deposit them on the living room floor. Bess takes over from there.

This Christmas, we had two temporary guests (for two-plus years now), Piglet and Bess’ eldest brother, David, taking up two of our bedrooms. It was agreed that these rooms would be left private and undecorated. That’s private, unless they become so sloppy-looking (man-managed) – then, Bess takes authority to sort them out and clean them up. They are given a 12-hour verbal notice prior of pending cleaning.

Shortly after Thanksgiving, Bess instructed Piglet, David and me to bring the Christmas boxes from the attic. That in itself isn’t an easy chore. Putting them back after the New Year is even tougher, as our attic entrance is a steep and narrow set of folding ceiling stairs.

Like a kid opening her old toy box, Bess starts emptying each storage box and placing each item where she wants it. Each year, they are placed differently. She decorates the mirrors, the fireplace, the door knobs, the kitchen, dining room, living room, foyer, bedrooms, office and the kitchen. Bess finds things to decorate that few people would even think of. She even wraps the family pictures on the walls to look like packages (with ribbons and bows).

Nothing is safe from being decorated! She spends days and nights placing and moving the decorations until they suit her. We just let her alone to do her thing.

Then comes putting up and decorating the Christmas tree. I usually hate putting up the big tree, but the last two years (with our semi-permanent) guests, there hasn’t been enough room for a big tree, so Bess settled for a smaller tree in the foyer on a table.

Several years ago, Bess had a friend, Barbara, visiting us at Christmastime. Barbara was sleeping upstairs. About 2:00 a.m., Barbara came downstairs to use the restroom. Bess was decorating the tree and asked Barbara if she wanted a cup of coffee. Not wanting to hurt Bess’ feelings, Barbara said, “I guess so, Bess!” Bess brought Barbara a cup of coffee, then asked her if she wanted to help decorate the tree. Barbara said, “I don’t think so, Bess!” Bess went out of the room for a minute, and Barbara told me, ”I’m going back to bed.”

Once the inside is finished, Bess supervises the installion of the lights and decorations outside. It’s kind of like Porky trying to tell a driller how to drill – we don’t really want to do it her way, but we do what we’re told.

Bess is a night person – and a day one, too! Most nights, she stays up until 2:00 a.m. or 5:00 a.m., then comes to bed, sleeps until maybe 7:00 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. When she gets up, she’s good for the day. When Bess gets up, and I ask her how she’s feeling, she says, “I’m fine, but I’m really tired!” Well, duh! I go to bed about 10:00 p.m. or 11:00 p.m., and usually get up about 6:00 a.m. every day, rested for the day ahead. I guess the reason that Bess and I get along so well is she does her thing, I do mine, and then we do things together!

Bess is kind of weird, but then, she says, I’m weird as well! This September will be 52 years of two weird people loving and living together.

At 70-plus years young, we still are quite active and travel a lot. My employer, Cycle Stop Valves Inc., has asked me, “When do I want to take my vacation?” and I said, “From what? We haven’t taken the time to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary yet!”