Christmas used to be so simple

I finally sent my son and his wife their Christmas present on Dec. 26.
The delay was partly because they’ve been traveling and I didn’t want a package sitting for a week outside the door of their condo in Los Angeles. But it was mostly because I had no idea what to get them.
I finally settled on a couples package at a luxurious spa in the Larchmont section of LA, not far from where they live and near a place where they do spinning classes on Sunday mornings. I was able to send it via email, too, so my son got it immediately. He was thrilled. Said it is something they had never done before.
Whew.
While working this out online, the movie Ghostbusters was on in the background. It conjured up fond memories of when buying my little boy Christmas presents was a breeze.
Michael was born in ’86, two years after the first Ghostbusters movie came out. He was about three when he saw it the first time and he was immediately hooked. Within the year, he owned every Ghostbusters piece of gear available for purchase, including the iconic jumpsuit with Ghostbusters logo on the sleeve. He’d stand in front of the TV with the movie playing, dressed in his jumpsuit, plasma pack on his back, blaster in his hand, ghost trap close by, and recite the dialogue right along with the characters. It was kind of his own version of “The Rocky Horror Picture show” and great fun to watch.
Christmas presents were a snap then. The firehouse headquarters one year. The Ecto-1 refurbished ambulance the next.

Slimmer. A Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. He had it all.
We texted back and forth during the movie. He can still recite the whole script word-for-word.
He sent me a photo of him and his best friend Nick when they were at Savannah College of Art and Design and made their own Ghostbusters costumes one Halloween, including the blasters. That’s it over there. Michael is on the right. It says “Spengler” on his uniform. That’s for Egon Spengler, his favorite character.
Spengler was played by the comic genius Harold Ramis. Michael cried when he died in 2014.

Ed Ackerman