This Christmas, dad is preparing a treat for his grandchildren. He’s going to let them watch while he subjects their parents, aunts and uncles to a couple of hours of mortification.
He’s going to show the old home videos.
This is not just the odd clip of mom holding up her homemade pumpkin pie and suddenly noticing the fingermarks in it. This is a feature production. Ever since dad got his senior citizen discount card, he’s been hanging around museums and learning that any movie, once it gets old enough, becomes a film, and the next thing after that, it’s art.
For several years, a video was made every holiday season and viewed, with appropriate ceremony and great hooting, the following year. Then the family started switching to DVD players and eventually no one had a machine that would play the tapes.
So this year dad found a local video store that could convert the tapes to DVD. He spent several days at this store lovingly overseeing the conversion, inserting musical interludes and ordering the inclusion of special effects — such as a shot of wrapping paper, in a pattern of fat ducks in snowsuits, being sensuously torn in half to reveal “1977” written on cardboard. The resulting production is a marathon holiday epic titled “Jingle Bells Ring My Chimes.”