If you don’t know already, he’s our family’s John Candy.
Even though time and that slippery son-of-a-bitch-health hasn’t always been too kind to him, he’s still the funny, snarky, wisecracker he’s always been.
He may still love to crack a joke, but he isn’t into shopping as much anymore.
Back in the day, he’d be right there with my mom, grandma, and aunt, digging through marked down Christmas bows and wrapping paper in the after-Christmas-sales. He’s the only man I’ve yet to know who truly enjoys shopping and finding good deals on a car-load of Christmas wrapping essentials.
On Black Friday, Aunt Renee wanted to hit up Junkee, which is a very popular thrift and antiques shop in Reno. It used to be the only place I’d *have* to shop at when I lived in Elko and came to Reno (Well, and Target. Lord Almighty, how’d I almost forget Target?)
However, after Junkee bought out all of the ugly Christmas sweaters from every local thrift store and marked them up an ungodly amount a few years ago, I stopped giving them as much business.
They completely took the fun out of looking for and finding some positively horrendous mauve and cream colored poinsettia Christmas sweater at a thrift store for $1.
Here, check out the Yelp review I wrote about my disdain:
So, I usually avoid the place, because I know it’ll just be a bunch of overpriced crap someone found on a dusty rack in another thrift store, but since Junkee is cool with the hipsters, that late 90s era coffeemaker is now worth $25.
I decided to push aside my bitter disdain, so I could join the Always A Party, But Also Kind of a Shit Show party train.
Uncle Gary’s socks. We aren’t afraid to admit it.
Also, the independent artists who sell their handmade wares are always worth a look-see.
Because, as I mentioned earlier, Uncle Gary is not much for shopping these days (which is good, because we might have been there three additional hours had he also been one of the look-at-positively-everything-and-then-talk-about-each-item-for-twenty-minutes shoppers), he planted himself in the seating at the front of the store.
After quite some time, as in hours, most of our group was done.
At the front of the store, there was an elaborate Christmas backdrop for pictures. On hand were ugly Christmas sweaters, funny hats, and wigs.
Surprisingly, Aunt Dana (and not yours truly) begged us all to take a picture.
My mom flat-out refused at first, saying she doesn’t like to pose and doesn’t know how to make silly faces (I have an entire album on my phone that completely proves her wrong on both fronts).
My uncle, bored to tears waiting for the shopping to be over, eagerly agreed for something to do.
I’m always game for anything Insta-worthy, so that just left Aunt Renee.
Aunt Renee was still standing in line with her 38 treasures she couldn’t pass up.
As she was paying, a store clerk helped us get into all of the outlandish gear. My mother was helped into a flamboyant green and red monstrosity. I was given a vest that I swear I saw hanging in my mother’s closet not too long ago. Aunt Dana was given a super sweet pair of hipster glasses. And, Uncle Gary got an Afro wig.
The sight of my aged uncle with his salt and pepper beard, Sasquatch Sighting shirt, and an Afro wig was just too much.
As I was peeing my pants in absolute donkey-impression-worthy laughter, my aunt informed the clerk that one member from our group was still paying. She explained that she was the one in the pink sweater.
When I finally came to, some random woman in a pink sweater was being forced-with-a-smile into a glittery reindeer number. The look on her face was pure confusion and unadulterated fear. She cooperated with the clerk, who was insisting she’d look, “Awesome!”, despite the fact that she was eyeing us like we had rabies.
When we started to get situated, Aunt Dana realized a stranger was being forced against her will into our impromptu family Christmas photo straight from Honey Boo Boo’s family picture album and said,
“Oh! Not her! We don’t know her. The other woman in the pink sweater!”
The woman, released from the Crazy Train, tore off like a bat out of hell.
When Aunt Renee was finally located and locked down with an ugly sweater, the photographing of our craziness commenced.
This was the outcome:
I made the same face in all 82 pictures.
With all of the ruckus we caused and the general shenanigans we created, I wouldn’t be surprised if they printed one of our pictures and they have it up in a staff room with the description: Just Say No.
Merry Christmastime from the Clampetts, ya’ll !