So many years have passed since the days when the year’s end holidays were magical for me. I remember years when putting up and trimming the family tree was a wonderful affair, with mom and dad probably the most excited of us all. All of my brother’s and sisters’ eyes would be so wide with joy and anticipation as we threw the tinsel strands on the tree. The small Lionel train that would “choo-choo” and blow smoke as it steadied itself on the small circular track around the tree kept my brother and I busy with imaginations for hours.
Sometimes when it was late in the evening and the sun had gone down my father would be busy reading his paper in the living room alone because all the girls were helping mom with some cookie making or other such “girl” function. The room would be dark and only semi-lit by the standing lamp behind dad’s recliner, which he used to slowly conquer the daily paper’s crossword puzzle. I would lay down in front of the big old 25 inch console television while it was turned off and just stare into the soft green glass lens of it and watch the reflection of the tree behind us, as it’s colorful lights burned into the night. The three or four “twinklers” (non-colored lights that would twinkle) would bounce off of the TV screen and it was absolutely magical. I could see dad’s reflection and smell his coffee and cigarettes. I still can smell the newness of the carpet because it had only been laid a few months before. It was wall to wall. Another magical thing in our lives. We had only dusty old area rugs before that. I even remember telling myself to remember this moment because it was so beautiful. And I have remembered it all of these years. It was 1969.
The times were simpler I guess. The neighbors decorated their houses and would visit on the holidays. Everyone had egg nog and cookies or candies ready for guests. When you met people outside they smiled and cheered, always waved and always gave you their own version of holiday wishes. It was so mesmerizing to stop and smile and talk with old Cecil Audrey next door, who never had any children, and who spent the other 3/4 of the year chasing kids like you off of his precious lawn –
People didn’t drive around like maniacs putting pedestrians and kids at risk like they do today. It was after WWII. Most of the parents of that generation had given everything they had – risking their own lives to stop evil in the world. They saw their friends blasted into pieces or incinerated by burning alive during the war. Somehow, miraculously, they made it back alive – with images in their heads that they would – could – never lose. And they had an opportunity to become prosperous and raise families. I think human life has never been dearer than it was in that decade. And there was just a general caring for everyone else besides just one’s self.
I remember the mystery of staying up for midnight mass, or having the opportunity to sing in the St. Andrew’s boy’s choir on Sundays and holidays. Or being lucky enough to serve as Altar Boy on the holidays. And going to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving. That isn’t just a song. For us it was 7 kids crammed in a 1965 Ford station wagon for an hour and a half.
It isn’t that way anymore. The world has become hateful. There isn’t a day gone by any more when I have not witnessed someone on the road take serious liberties with the safety of myself or other people on the road. And for what? Why does their expediency supersede the value of other’s lives? You can arrive at your destination at the exact same time regardless if you follow 30 inches or 30 yards behind the vehicle in front of you. Drivers need to remember that they are not sperm cells any more. There is not a big egg waiting for insemination at the end of the road that they must reach before all others.
This year some of the national chain stores I visited started putting up their Christmas displays a month before thanksgiving. When every-day becomes a holiday then holidays become unimportant. “Black Friday” should be a name reserved for the day Christ was hung and died on the cross and should not used for the first of a string of gimmicks to trick people out of their money for a secularized holiday. And yet there we have it. The almighty dollar.
People wonder why my poetry often becomes so dark. C’mon. The world sucks. And I am extremely pessimistic. But I apologize if your world sucks more than mine. Karma is simply a bitch.
“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”
― Wayne W. Dyer
Isn’t it sad that we live in a world where it is necessary to remind ourselves of this daily? So even from the depths of this dark world I live in it is my pleasure – and absolute quest – to wish all my friends around the world – even those who don’t normally celebrate our uniquely American tradition – a very happy Thanksgiving. Because I care about you. Especially my friend willowdot, who has been a constant rose within the world of my poetry since I started blogging- Here is to wishing you all a wonderful holiday season.
I had six pence,
jolly, jolly six pence,
I had six pence,
To last me all me life.
I had two pence to spend
and two pence to lend
and two pence to send – HOME –
to me wife – poor wife.
– author unknown
(A little ditty my dad brought home from Australia during the war)