quivering with desire and the ecstasy of unbridled avarice*

“We plunged into the cornucopia quivering with desire and the ecstasy of unbridled avarice.” – A Christmas Story

My first crush was a boy named Bobby. He was five and looked just like Bo Duke. My second, Ralphie.

I couldn’t have been more than 8 when he first pummeled Scut Farkus, ratted out his buddy Schwartz for no real reason and left Flick stuck to the flag pole. I forgot about The General Lee and went to bed dreaming of coke-bottle glasses and soap connoisseurs. That same winter I built a snow man and named him R Parker. My sister saw through the disguise and laughed. I didn’t care.


As I grew older my love affair became less about Ralphie and more about the guy who brought him to life. No. Not the Oldsmobile Man. The White Sox Fan.

Shep was born to narrate. To tell a story that keeps on telling. I can’t say how many copies of “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash” I’ve bought throughout the years. But I’m sure it ranks right up there with the number of handbags I own.

So yeah. It’s that time again. Time to introduce the heathens – those not familiar with The Church of Jean Shepherd – to Ralphie and the Old Man. (Yes my friends. They do exist.)

I’ll be putting A Christmas Story on 24 hour loop beginning Saturday. And I won’t get tired of it.

Not one bit.

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  • lux lisbon
    Dec 11, 2006 at 11:31

    By far my all time favorite Christmas movie. It does not get better than that.

  • s
    Dec 11, 2006 at 12:58

    hi buffy! thanx for leaving a comment on my blog. I replied there but then I thought i should say it here.
    I love your writing and hope you get that book out. Reminds me of Donna Tart’s “Secret History” which was a book I couldn’t put down.
    and lest I sound like i’m saying you’re imitating, I’m not. I’m just saying that what you’ve posted from your book has that rare quality of reaaally drawing the reader in.
    Take care 🙂

  • Misti
    Dec 11, 2006 at 14:25

    A Christmas Story is my favorite Christmas movie of all time. Can you believe that your dear “Bo” has never seen it? He must be from another planet. I have also had a crush on Ralphie and Bobby (mine was a bit older)in my time….what can I say….we have great taste!

  • Night Writer
    Dec 11, 2006 at 15:05

    I love this movie, and only partly because Ralphie looks a lot like I did at that age. A Christmas Story is the feature flick this week in the “Fundamentals in Film” class (character fundamentals, that is) that I lead with a group of teen boys and their fathers. As a twist, though, this week the discussion questions after the movie are for the parents, not the kids, and will center around how our children might describe our lives. Oh, FUDGE!

  • Buffy
    Dec 11, 2006 at 16:57

    Misti, I’m shocked. I mean, it’s not like he’s Norwegian. It’s an American tradition for crying out loud. Sad sad state of affairs. 😉 Sit him down and make him watch it. NOW!

    Night, Oh Fudge indeed! Classic.

  • Katherine
    Dec 11, 2006 at 17:07

    Such a classic – also my all time favorite xmas movie! You gotta love the leg lamp – “frag-eal-ly!” I got the best cards to send out this year – black and white photo of Flick with his tongue stuck to the pole.

  • Buffy
    Dec 11, 2006 at 18:08

    Katherine, I still pronounce fragile “Frag-eal-ly”. And I think I really must know where you got your Christmas cards.

  • snowcrush
    Dec 11, 2006 at 18:39

    How cute to have a crush on Ralphie! I love that movie. The older I get, the more I relate to the parents. (not that I have kids yet, but still…)

  • Andrea
    Dec 11, 2006 at 18:56

    I can’t tell you how many times I quote that movie during the holidays. Just last night, my in-laws took us out for Chinese for helping them clear some storm debris out of their yard. The first thing I thought was, “Fa Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra”.

  • anne
    Dec 11, 2006 at 20:19

    Everyone is going to jump ALL over this one…but I am Jewish…I have not seen the movie. Let the chastising begin.

  • Fitz
    Dec 11, 2006 at 20:38

    My older bro-in-law looks just like the grown up version of Ralphie. Haha! I should intrroduce you two.

  • Buffy
    Dec 11, 2006 at 21:02

    Oh Anne…we really have to remedy this.

  • Leah
    Dec 11, 2006 at 22:44

    Simon has been ragging on me to read this book for years; it’s one of his favorites. Maybe this year I’ll have the time…

  • Bre
    Dec 12, 2006 at 1:14

    We were never allowed to watch that movie when I was little, so I must admit I’m a bit perplexed with the cult following it has!

  • Frannie Farmer
    Dec 12, 2006 at 1:44

    I must confess that I have NEVER watched the entire movie. But Mr. Farmer insists that the entire gang watches it this year.

  • Jessica
    Dec 12, 2006 at 4:57

    Oh, amen to you! Hannukah is just not hannukah without my 24 hours of A Christmas Story ritual. Recently I heard a bit of Jean Shepard’s radio show – and while I’ve never bought a copy of “…All Other’s Pay Cash”, it’s on my list now.

  • steph
    Dec 12, 2006 at 5:16

    i loooooove this movie! and i cant wait for sat.!!

  • Brett Battles
    Dec 12, 2006 at 21:01


  • Jenny
    Dec 13, 2006 at 11:31

    Um…can I come over?

  • David
    Dec 13, 2006 at 16:51

    You know, if you’re still in the states and tune in to TBS on Decemeber 24, there will be a 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story. But then I guess some of us need our fill of the movie a bit early…

  • Ryane
    Dec 13, 2006 at 17:34

    Buffy–If you are in the US, you may have seen the HILarious Cingular commercial that replicates this movie? It’s a little kid (Ralphie) and he wants this special Cingular cellphone (RedRyder BBGun)only everyone keeps telling him he will go over his minutes. (or something like that). It is such a clever ad…if you like A Christmas Story at all, you have to laugh when you see it!

  • S William Shaw
    Dec 13, 2006 at 18:21

    I love that movie. It reminds me of youth.

  • Marie
    Dec 13, 2006 at 22:20

    I like the Bumpus’ dogs. Reminds me of home.

  • Buffy
    Dec 14, 2006 at 1:26

    Ah….the Bumpuses. We must have had neighbours in common.

  • brookem
    Dec 14, 2006 at 2:53

    This movie is the best, yet I haven’t seen it in years. You’ve inspired me.
    Happy Holidays.

  • Bonnie Ferguson
    Dec 20, 2006 at 4:48

    It’s a classic 🙂

  • bj
    Dec 15, 2008 at 5:05

    no joke there is just something familiar about those three………