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Minnie's back...

Posted Sunday, October 28, 2007, at 11:12 PM

On my way back to Swamp-east Missouri from a lovely weekend in St. Louis with Sean...‪oh, I mean "dear friends," I had to ponder some questions that were discussed between Sean‪...I mean dear friends and myself. (I keep forgetting how his publicist feels about his private business)‪Anyway, upon visiting the fine Gateway to the West city, we quickly discovered within its walls that the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are right around the proverbial corner. While ghosts and goblins and pumpkins and pirates were expected to be amply displayed, we little expected lighted trees and electronic reindeer to be greeting us around each and every corner. Joy, Noel, Good Cheer and Merriment seemed to be anxiously awaiting the Ka-ching Ka-ching of the registers all over the fair city. Sean and I agreed‪uh‪my friends and I agreed that the season was upon us, as hard as we might try to deny the fact, which led to a conversation regarding not just the commerciality of the upcoming season, but the traditions that we each knew ions ago.

I recall being gently shaken from my slumber on the morning of the 25th of December to be told that Santa had paid a visit sometime deep in the night. While St. Nick had paid a visit on December 6 in the school setting, liberally passing out his striped peppermint candy canes, he took a second seat to the big man himself (much to the disappointment of the parish priests) on Christmas morn. There were many of us gathered round the tree each year (which was always a live evergreen that had been decked with glass bulbs and silver "tinsel"). As hard as the parents in charge would try to have everyone peacefully await while one at a time opened his/her gifts, it never quite seemed to work. Patience was not in ample supply on Christmas morn when there were eight eager urchins awaiting to tear open the carefully wrapped packages. Each of the eight of us always bought presents not only for our parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, but for each of our siblings as well. That meant there were at least 100 items under the tree. There was not a lot of money among us, so many of the gifts were "refurbished" or now put more politically correct, "re-gifted." And in the spirit of giving, a map of Illinois wrapped up and topped off with a red ribbon that had been curled by the sharp edge of a scissors took on a whole new meaning! At least you knew someone was thinking of you. I don't ever recall thinking that I had ever been slighted. On the contrary, I recall a year when I was ecstatic over receiving a new blanket for my bed. An old photo with an ear-to-ear toothless grin, proudly displaying the bed cover, bears witness. Plastic holsters and silver pistols were the delight of younger male siblings and stocking of nuts and oranges were met with delight. Looking back, I'd say that not more than around $8 was spent on each of us, and that probably required numerous sacrifices that began around September 1.

Quite a different picture from the expectations of today's youth, who await the arrival of a much more monetarily-endowed Santa than the one I knew in the 50's. To request an electronic toy device that ranges in the $400 range is not at all uncommon, and that's for a first grader! Where exactly did we lost control of the season and its meaning? I'm all for the spirit of giving, but not at the risk of bankruptcy!!!

The weekend's visit to the city brought back a wealth of memories and long-gone traditions of the holiday season‪.the whole family attending midnight Mass, fuzzy pink slippers that endured years of frigid winters, and relatives arriving before noon and remaining not only for Christmas dinner, but for a second meal of leftovers during the late evening hours. I recall tales of my Irish grandmother's tree with actual candles lit and displayed on branches of a fresh pine‪don't recall ever seeing it, but it was apparently a common practice for many years. But then, that was in the days of cutting down the tree on Christmas Eve and so it was so green that fire apparently was not a risk, I suppose.

Just wondering how many other traditions have gone by the wayside and more importantly, which ones have been kept alive‪

Minnie o'

P.S. Thank you, Cake, for the pre-season treat. Sean and I‪..I mean my friends and I, enjoyed it immensely. As I was departing I heard him, ‪uh... them, ‪utter, "Mmmmmmmmm,good"...‪and then I thought I heard a faint whisper‪.. and to all a good night."

Showing comments in chronological order
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Minnie, dear one, let me be the first to welcome you back! I fear that I, for one, did not know you had gone up to the Big City to see your...ah...friends. Aren't friends wonderful?

As for traditions which have gone by the wayside...hit the road...flat disappeared...The real Christmas tree has to be first and foremost, though I do see them for sale in that season, so someone is still buying them. I never thought I would ever switch to a fake tree. My husband, children, all the dogs and I used to go up the hill to cut down a small cedar. It was such a fun trip.

Now that I'm by myself, the trip up the hill seems an unnecessary burden, so I drag out the fake tree and hang it from the ceiling (away from the cats). My daughter usually helps me decorate it, but sometimes it doesn't come down until April...

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Oct 29, 2007, at 7:40 AM

Oh Minnie, you have riled me up again....I can put up with artificial trees, holly hanging in every store in early October, Jingle Bells blasting out before the leaves turn...but the thing that disturbs me most of all is the fact that we can't even wish anyone a "Merry Christmas" anymore, for fear of not being "politically correct"...

I believe it was Wal-Mart that made a big splash in the newspapers last year for being brave enough to actually wish its customers a "Merry Christmas"! How radical! Can't believe that is even NEWS!

And Christmas Parties in schools? You have to be kidding. Are they even allowed to say "Christmas"? They probably celebrate "winter day" now...although that probably wouldn't be politically correct either, since it would be discriminating against the people who live in warm climates!

I think I'll bake a cake.

-- Posted by letseatcake633 on Mon, Oct 29, 2007, at 5:13 PM

It seems there is a rush to turn everything that has been established from generation to generation and is customary to all into something that will fit into the neat package that is proclaimed "politically correct". Is it really the majority that rules anymore?! By the way Minnie, what is a "sibling"? I feel that is another politically correct term for ones brother or sister. What's the matter with saying it like we always have? Is it the cloning process that might bring us a sister or brother {or whatever} that only sibling would be the correct distinction? Can of worms anyone?

I really love Thanksgiving myself. It is more personal and more of a time to shut the commercial world out and just enjoy family and friends without being obligated to come up with the big bucks for gifts like Christmas has become. I love food and memories around the table that both seem to stick to you for a long time to come.

Don't get me wrong, I love to see the little ones eyes light up on Christmas morning. I remember the feeling of anticipation and longing for opening up presents with my family all in the same room and full of hugs and happiness. However, I don't remember making a list that would keep "Santa" paying for them throughout the coming year. Do you think the "spirit" of Christmas is lost?

-- Posted by Grati Tude on Tue, Oct 30, 2007, at 2:12 PM

"Sibling" is one of those dry, factual words which holds no warm connotative meanings. "House" - dry, factual. "Home" - warm, cozy. The only other reason I can see for using it is for the sake of brevity: "Siblings" is shorter than "brothers and sisters."

Good point about Thanksgiving. No pressures there - just good food, family, and a gratefulness for another year well spent. Plus, we get to see all that ORANGE - which I much prefer over all that RED!

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Oct 30, 2007, at 5:10 PM

I always say siblings because my folks say siblings too.

It's easier to type also.

I think house sounds more country actually-"We're going up to the house,y'all come on with us!"

Minnie-a serious question-is it better to be a Bond girl,or a girl with bonds?

Couldn't resist,sorry!

-- Posted by Yellow Rose of Essex on Tue, Oct 30, 2007, at 6:50 PM
Minne O'Pausal's response:
Oh, Rosie, you of much wisdom beyond your years...

In answer to your query...It is considerably better to be a girl with bonds...but there is definitely something to be said for "bonding."

m o'

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