Sunday, December 26, 2010

Old Fart Speech

The snow is perfect. It is piling up slowly so we can still get out and motor around. This week between Christmas and New Year is a moment when the US slows down. Although, we have slowed way down in the past couple of years. This time of year used to feel more special because of the easy pace, but it seems that we are all in a lower gear. Doesn't feel like anything is getting accomplished. I read the other day that China has a train that can go as fast as a fucking jet or something. They also have the fastest computer. The US used to be first in all that. We certainly had our faults, but we were on the cutting edge of most technology. Now, it seems we are falling behind so quickly, you can feel it week to week, month to month. The Chinese children are learning 10 languages and we are jacking off about Bristol Palin on Dancing with the Stars (which I have to say is the stupidest show I have ever seen-and, yes, I watch reality TV). The craving for reality TV is so strong; there's no denying that. I count the news channels as reality TV. I had an unquenchable thirst for news until Obama gave the rich their tax break AND their estate tax! My stomach has been turned to the point of no return. I have actually turned all the news off! Maybe this is the plan of the owners of this country: frustrate people so much that they no longer care. I don't want to sound like an old fart, and maybe this is what everybody sees when they get older. Fuck it. I hope so. I hope that's all it is.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Deep in the Night of Christmas

OK. Technically, Christmas is almost over, but as far as I'm concerned it will be Christmas till I go to sleep. For that matter, it will be Christmasy until Jan. 2. Tonight is a perfect Appalachian Christmas. We watched Wicker Man and Black Christmas. By the end of the movies, an additional inch of wet snow piled onto the already white roads. The red light created by the cracked plastic Santa on the front porch cast an eerie pink glow over the glistening yard. If you are really quiet, you can hear the electricity flowing through Santa.

Merry Christmas

I prefer to say "Merry Christmas" rather than "Happy Holidays." Not for any political or religious reasons. Simply this: The words "Merry Christmas" actually taste like a Christmas cookie in my mouth. "Happy Holidays" doesn't taste like nothing. So Merry Christmas. Yum.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dradle Cookies

So my husband went to the grocery store to buy cookies for everyone in his department. He came home lugging several plastic bags. At first, I thought the cookies were Christmas trees. They were really fat with a little stem at the bottom. Instead of green, they were brilliant blue and white drizzled horizontally across the cookies. They were dradle cookies. I had no idea there was such a thing, but it says it right on the package. Dradle Cookies.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Vietnam Toenails

I was getting my feet done at a nail place which is totally run by Vietnamese, NONE of them speak much English. I had just gotten comfortable when a man came limping toward the back of the shop. He was talking to the Vietnamese lady who was gettting his space ready, "Well, I had agent orange (with his accent, it sounded to me like he was saying 'ancient orange') and it has caused all these problems..." I looked straight ahead and closed my eyes. I really didn't want to get into a discussion with this guy. Don't get me wrong. I really respect anybody who fought in Vietnam, but I just wasn't in a generous mood. I don't get to have my feet done very often. So he went on and on about "ancient orange" as the lady clipped and filed his toenails. He kept talking, and she kept smiling. Finally he said, "Vietnam is a beautiful country." She relied, "Oh, you been to Vietnam?"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Religion of Santa Claus

When I was a kid, I never really believed in Jesus. Jesus was too far away and too holy to hear me. It seemed anything I wanted to talk to God about would be considered so small and self-centered. Plus, I didn't understand how to read the bible. When someone would tell us to go to a certain bible passage, I didn't understand how to look up chapter, verse, etc. I would look thoughtful and flip the thin pages. I stopped flipping when everyone around me found what they were looking for. I pretended to read along, but whatever page I happened upon never had anything to do with what the sermon was about. In fact, it seemed to be the opposite: they would be talking about do unto others and my bible would be open to something about shaking wheat.
My friends occasionally talked about seeing Jesus or hearing the voice of God (they also claimed to see ghosts and Bigfoot). Even though I didn't believe them, I was jealous that they had a connection to Jesus. Jesus was not comforting to me at all. In illustrations of Jesus, he was barefoot and wimpy looking. I never thought he would stand a chance if he had to pave roads or lay bricks. I didn't think he could do the work or handle the construction worker's language and drinking.
Where Jesus failed me, Santa delivered. Santa was everywhere: TV, magazines, newspapers, parades, department stores. I actually went to see Santa and sat on his lap. Now, I thought even then that this was not the "real" Santa, but this stand-in Santa had authority. Everyone accepted that this Santa was authorized to hear our Christmas wishes. I remember sitting on Santa's lap and being respectful, full of awe. His plush red velvet pants were always so soft, a special shade of Santa red that I couldn't find in the real world. I never felt this at church.
More evidence that Santa was really real was the insistence of our parents that we write letters to Santa. They actually went to to the trouble to make us write letters and mail them. This seemed a time-consuming chore that grown-ups wouldn't do unless they had to.
On Christmas Eve, there was some mention of the baby Jesus and the manger. We even had a wooden nativity scene sitting on top of the TV, but I was interested in what was "real." I wanted to know where Santa was in the world. I wanted to stay up as late as possible to perhaps see him, but I understood that I had to sleep for him to come. I lay in bed and listened for jingle bells and footsteps around the house. I never heard any.
But the final proof of Santa's true existance was the presents under the tree, around the tree and on the coach on Christmas morning. I firmly believed in Santa. When all else failed, I KNEW Santa was at the North Pole actually caring who was naughty and nice. During the year, I thought about the consequences of being bad in terms of how it would upset Santa, not Jesus.
So finding out Santa wasn't real was a massive trauma for me. I found out while standing in the bus line in the fourth grade at Chilhowie Elementary School. Several kids in line turned and looked at me like I was completely delusional and made fun of me for still thinking there was a Santa (although they believed in talking snakes, men living in whales and a burning bush). Perhaps at the time, I knew there wasn't a Santa. The horrible evidence was stacking up so that it was becoming unavoidable. However, I had managed to push it into some closet in my mind longer than most kids my age. But the most painful thing were these little pricks in the bus line flinging open the closet door and confirming this dreadful fact. I didn't mind finding out about sex from the kids at school, but having these little freaks tell me there was no Santa was tough to take.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gearing Up For New Year With New Blog

I'm starting a new blog. Last year was a bucket of shit barely teetering from a limb that was broken by a hanging. I need a fresh start.
Speaking of hanging, my friend just told me a crazy story about an elephant that went wild and was hanged in Erwin, Tennessee: I can't believe I never heard of this having grown-up so close. There is actually a poem about it in the article.
Mary the Elepant