"Tis the season" At this time of the year a young mans fancy turns to thoughts of....debt! It may sound strange for a capitalist pig like myself to lament the onslaught of the Holiday season, but for me personally it takes on a whole different slant. In the month of November we have 4 birthdays (7th, 20th, 25th, 30th) to financially support and 1 in December (the 17th...oh yea, he gets the shaft BIG TIME) as well as the overdone eating fest just past. But Christmas....well as any parent who has had to go through "Is that ALL the presents I get?!" and "BUT that's not what I asked Santa for (sung to the tune of WHINE f-minor") can attest to the fact that Christmas has lost some of its yule time luster. Perhaps I am looking to the past with rose colored glasses, but I seem to re-member my holidays of yore holding a wee bit more happiness. Although I can (with great shame) re-call a Christmas, at the tender age of 7, after opening my gifts, visiting my buddy Joey (who's father owned the local (and only) Toyota dealership, so was in fact LOADED) who had gotten amongst other things a bumper pool table (re-member bumper pool?) a pinball machine, an ATARI! (first in the neighborhood, ah the hours and hours of Pong!) and a bevy of other wonderful goodies. Well after visiting I went home and promptly exclaimed "why couldn't I get cool gifts like Joey" (yep...I was a real prick!) well folks that's the first time I ever made my mother cry. And I'll tell you I have had very few opportunities to feel that low ever since. Needless to say, after that I realized that it wasn't the gift but the thought that counts!
Also, growing up in a small New Hampshire town the true splendor of the season is only magnified. No offence to my new Florida home, but it's just SO HARD to get in the mood when your listening to "Santa Clause Is Coming To Town" while your having a barbecue in your Bermuda shorts and the kids are playing in the pool! I'm talking about carolers wandering the streets, SNOW! sledding, the neighborhood Christmas eve party where ALL the neighbors joined to sit on Santa's lap. Going to get the tree (when dad would bring a saw and an axe) then dragging it into the house, making a God awful mess on the wood floors with snow and mud. Dad putting it up (then realizes its to tall and has to trim the top as Mom informs him he's taking to much off! ) Fending off the cats who believe it to be a new climbing post, whilst father attempts to unravel the ball of lights. Then as mom removes brother and sister to the kitchen under the guise of Holiday cookies (but really an attempt to keep the kids from learning colorful language from Fathers "potty mouth" while expressing his disdain for the unyielding "Ball of lights!")
Oh yes, good times, good times.
But as much as I whine about i (if you haven't figured out yet, that's my shtick) I DO have many fond X-mas moments. Like when my Grandparents (VERY GOOD gift picker-outers) purchased the ENTIRE "Star Wars" line of toys from Sears for me (remember the little cardboard cut out "rain checks" that then came in the mail a couple months later! And "Big Trax" (remember that "pre-programmed" remote control "futuristic truck"?) Oh I could go on and on...
My wife and, to some extant, I have attempted to retain some of our holiday traditions (I defiantly have continued the patriarchal tradition of the holiday lights!) But I don't know. After so many Christmas's of having to throw away more then half of the gifts Christmas night 'cause they are in pieces, it just looses it's appeal. This year we have sworn (I say it now but a couple days before C-day the whole "Gift giving bug" will get me and I'll go NUTS) that we are not spending more then $20 a kid!
Does a lump of coal cost more then $20?
I'm sure in the month to come I will spend more time either complaining or reminiscing about the season. In the meantime (the whole inspiration for this bit) please enjoy some photos from my hometown...Exeter, New Hampshire!
|the "bandstand" concerts at dusk in the summer|
|coming into the center of downtown|
|the "string Bridge"|
|best damn soup and salad restaurant...like...EVER!|