The Comb-Over Brotherhood’s (COB) annual Christmas party and White Walleye gift exchange, as always, was held at Charley Doot’s house in Pequot Lakes. Truth is, most members of the COB really enjoy this non-official gathering, because Charley is not allowed to unveil any of his terrorist plots against hair product manufacturers, wig makers, or big-hair wives of TV evangelists.
Wives and girlfriends are invited to the party, but not “significant others.” Two winters ago, some wannabe trend-setter inserted “significant other” on the invitation, which resulted in Bernie Mustad bringing his mother, Bernice, who temporarily entertained the crowd with a jazzy rendition of “Jingle Bells” on her harmonica. Her gig wore thin after an hour, though, when the par-tiers realized this was the only Christmas song she knew. As guests stuffed tree tinsel into their ears, Charley lured Bernice to the garage for “a peek at the lutefisk barrel,” and when she turned her back, quickly locked the door.
Such disharmony is rare at a White Walleye party, which usually is a benign evening of snacking on Scandinavian delicacies like lefse, pineapple chunk jello, spiked coffee, and–if Harley Fog’s wife, Dawn, can get her weird baking appliance to work—krumkake. (Think this is a joke? Google “krumkake” or check Wikipedia.)
The highlight of the evening comes around 8 p.m. with the White Walleye gift exchange. Since this is the COB after all, hair or “hair-not” is the gift theme. For ten years running—this year was no exception–the coup de grâce gift has been a raccoon tail, affectionately labeled the Triumphant Trump Rug. Every winner of the gift exchange takes home this prize–handsomely displayed under a glass dome–to a prime spot of honor for the next 11 ½ months.
Other exchange gifts drawing chortles this year included a giant styrofoam comb the size of a chain saw, a five gallon jug of Dep gel, a gift certificate for hair straightening at Emily’s Beauty Salon, and a t-shirt reading “Don’t Stare at My Head.”
The reluctant host, Charley, could not wait until, in his muttered terms, “the whole foolishness was over and we can get back to plotting.” Charley did slip in an announcement that at the next COB meeting he would divulge details on the group’s summer bus tour to Mt. Rushmore for, how shall we say without parting (wink) with any secrets, “short-range reconnaissance.”
After everyone had left, the yard sculptures were deflated, and all lights dimmed, Charley rolled over in bed and asked Mrs. Doot: “Do you hear a harmonica somewhere…playing ‘Jingle Bells’?”