The Jacket

Tidge Mackiewicz, new patriarch of his family, received several orders from his dying father, Kid Scream. One order stated that Tidge should quit believing in Santa Claus and stop acting like every day was Christmas.  Tidge should also abandon his belief that the Luftwaffe shot down Santa Claus on Christmas Eve in 1944 and Santa survived.  Approaching fifty, Tidge still wears a scuffed and stained Army Air Corps flight jacket given to him as young boy by his late uncle, a Navy aviator and Korean War hero, who claimed it belonged to Santa Claus.  His uncle also believed that the jacket possessed a special magic.  It is “The Jacket” and the spirit of Christmas that brings eighteen family members to Tidge and his wife’s magnificent log chalet located in Wisconsin’s Northwoods on Lake Namakagon for the Christmas holidays.  Tidge can now carry out his father’s final order of unscrewing his screwed up family and much more.

Tidge Mackiewicz, a modern day family patriarch, has proof the Luftwaffe shot down Santa Claus on Christmas Eve in 1944 and he survived. Tidge wears a treasured scuffed and stained Army Air Corps flight jacket that still carried the lingering redolence of old tobacco and stale booze and has proof the jacket belonged to Santa Claus. Although tarnished by an incident at age six when he called a department store Santa a “fat bastard,” his belief rules every stage of his life. On his death bed, Tidge’s father, Kid Scream, gave feeble orders to his son to carry out a trinity of commands. The first, “Get your head out of your ass and toss Brew’s goddamn jacket and ragged ass Santa suit into the trash,” preceded a second order, “Stop acting like every day is Christmas.” He tried to hammer home his belief in his family to his son, a last dying breath exhaling his command, “This screwed up family is yours now. Unscrew them.” Several years later, his father’s orders remain unfulfilled. Tidge’s multi-cultural family his father dubbed “The Natives” is still screwed up. Every day is still Christmas for Tidge and his belief in Santa has never wavered. He could never bring himself to toss out the old leather aviator’s jacket with blood stains and several jagged holes his Uncle Brew, a Navy aviator and Korean War hero, had given him. The gift came with a message: “Two brave men died wearing Santa’s jacket. Respect the honor you’ve been given.” Tidge and his second wife, Wilhelmina, moved from Chicago to an elegant log home on Lake Namakagon in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. To enhance celebrating their second Christmas together in what they call “Henry’s Hut,” Tidge believes he finally has his special gift to carry out his father’s orders. Nothing can deter him. Not Willy’s mother, a sophisticated alcoholic and former professional wrestler who demonstrated her once famous “See ‘em” hold on Tidge’s youngest brother. Watching Willy consume too much Swedish glogg doesn’t stop him. An annual Christmas season phone call from his boyhood friend provides the last piece of evidence to Santa’s World War II heroics and the rationale for “The Jacket” bringing Tidge and his daughter, Martha, together and the unscrewing of the screwed up Mackiewicz family.

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