Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It's Not Christmas Yet!

It's the day before Thanksgiving, and at the moment, snowing out. Yesterday I put up our exterior Christmas lights in front of the house, but I'm not turning them on until tomorrow evening. I'm not jumping the gun on what has been a lifelong tradition.

Christmas Season begins after the turkey.

Of course today we have the greed mongers and the shopping addicts who want stores to be open on Thanksgiving. Man the cash registers and damn the family get-together!

They will push for the stores to be in full fury on Christmas Day as well, I'm sure. Meet the new millennium Scrooges: CEOs Marvin Scrooge, Eddie Scrooge, Ronald Scrooge, Gregg Scrooge, Doug Scrooge & Terry Scrooge.


 It is somewhat ironic that Terry Scrooge is in the list. The 1948 book and movie Miracle on 34th Street was a broadside against the merchandising of the holidays and turned that Mr. Macy's hard heart into a cream puff. But these Ceos pictured here have more in common with Mr. Sawyer. They obviously don't believe in family, tradition, Thanksgiving or rest for the weary. They will excuse themselves of guilt by blaming it on the shopping habit of 18% shopaholics that could use a little cold turkey rehab on Turkey Day for their own good.

Nonetheless, greed does as greed wishes and when comes to stuffing it evolves a different kind of "bread" for them. Thus they how have extended the season until by Thanksgiving instead of feeling uplifted we almost are tired of it. The ads began just as the last witch parked her broom after Halloween and has continued ad museum ever since. But then it is appropriate to their mindset, for indeed, there is more of the Devil of Christmas presents to them then the Ghost of Christmas Past.

The object has been all along to remove Christ from Christmas and turn it into Seasons Greedings and so me have a Holy Day that is an empty secular holiday of little warmth and meaning. But these merchandise mongers have turned every other holiday in a Sales Celebration and deprived them all of their raison d'être, so why not do the same to Thanksgiving and Christmas?

As for me I keep the old ways in my heart and practice. I still get that glow when Thanksgiving comes, when my family would gather for the day, to watch the parade or the football game, to simply talk or help in the preparation for the feast of turkey and candied yams and stuffing and Harvard beets and mashed potatoes and cole slaw and cranberry sauce and other sides all followed with pumpkin or mince pie. Then we would kind of sit around in overstuffed inertia and satisfaction.

In my boyhood I would feel a shiver of anticipation as the November skies turned to their slide gray and the trees fell bare to the winds. The leaves were long raked and burned, the pungent aroma of the ash gone to be replaced with a underlining scent of impending snow. This shift of nature told me it was near time when I could erect my electric train platform for another season.

I only got to put my trains up from Thanksgiving until Epiphany, but building the countryside for my
Lionels and American Flyers to rumble through was my passion.  I
constructed papier-mâché mountains, turned mirrors into snow-rimmed lakes with skaters and invent my own little town of Plasticville buildings. I wired each structure so I could gradually light them up as my pretend night fell. I accomplished the transition of time with a board above the tracks that held tiny flickers to be stars when I turned off my main light that substituted for the sun.

There were in the weeks between the turkey and Santa, visits to the Big City, Philadelphia and the great department stores - Gimbles, Strawbridge & Clothier, Lit Brothers and John Wanamaker along East market Street. These were magical places to this boy with the dancing fountains, enchanted village, The Magic Lady, Punch & Judy, and the great train layouts of the giant toy departments. Even getting to the city was an adventure. We rode the Short Line Bus to West Chester where we caught a Red Arrow Line trolley to 69th Street in Upper Darby. Perhaps there I would attempt again to conquer the giant slide constructed before the terminal. We would catch the El-Subway train to center city and then walk the lit up avenue taking in the window displays.

I embraced all the nooks and crannies of the time: the catalogs from Sears, Montgomery Ward and Western Auto. And then the baking cookies, the Christmas Cards, the trimming of the house and the Christmas Tree and the Candle Lit Christmas Eve Services that brought us the solemnity and promise of the day, and the day itself with all that meant to our family and mother especially. And the peace and quite of the day after with all did feel right with the world for a while.

This is almost a piece for Throwback Thursday a day early. But I tell you, I toss aside this jumping the season to chase a buck and I celebrate as I did in those days long ago. This is how I raise my own children. I will turn on my lights tomorrow night after The Dinner with my family. And in the days ahead watch those old chestnuts, It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story and A Christmas Carol and rejoice in the saving grace that Christmas really is.

Happy Thanksgiving.


slugmama said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you too Larry. 8-)

Ron said...

I'm with you on this one Lar. We don't turn on our Christmas lights either (candles in the windows) until AFTER Thanksgiving. I'm glad we grew up when we did. Even though I didn't have those extravagant, gift ladened Christmases that you did with trips to Philly, I fondly remember the colorful bubble lights on our cheap Christmas tree at 120 Washington Avenue. The best Christmases ever! Nice post Larry!