December 2014

5 articles in December 2014

Tthis is the time of year everyone seems to slow down. For the past few months all we’ve thought about was preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner and getting out to the shopping areas in order to show how much you love someone by how much you spend on him or her.

However, the Christmas rush is over, the New Years Eve celebration is planned, and all you have left to do is figure out where you are heading into the future before it happens. The weather co-operated this year by laying down a thick white blanket of snow. This, of course, amplified the Christmas spirit but it also displayed a kind of clean slate that waits for all of us after the festivities of the New Year.

This slate will always have the dust of the past but it does represent is time when you can erase it in your mind and blotch out its reality in order to rewrite over it. I have a favorite saying that fits perfectly during this time of reflection. I am in no way taking credit for it and also have no concept as to where I picked it up. But, it fits and it always goes to the front of my mind during this time of year. The saying starts out by stating the past is history. This seems like a simplistic statement but it becomes relevant when you look back and regret some of things you did in the past.

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Aaconspiracy is threatening our nation and no-one has the power to stop it. I am not talking about the military industrial complex or foreign terrorists bent on the destruction of the United States. I am talking about a conspiracy of much greater magnitude between the confectionery industry and the weight loss industry.

Ever since Thanksgiving reared its head with pumpkin pies, chocolate-covered lollipops in the shape of pilgrims and those evil yellow peepers, the sugar industry has inundated our lives with tons of holiday delights. They could be found everywhere. When one woke up in the morning they were next to our breakfast cereal in the form of clover-shaped green marshmallows. Our coffee went from bitter and black to sweet and creamy. Driving to work, little bags of crispy treats were found on the front seat of the car and even the toll booth attendants gave out little foil-wrapped kisses along with their morning greetings.

Upon arrival at work everyone seemed to have their own sweet little treat. The exchange of candies and holiday cakes continued through lunch: at least what most of us used to think was lunch. The midday meal used to consist of a plastic wrapped tuna salad sandwich stuffed under a two-month old apple or pear. If you were real lucky you might find a brown-spotted banana in a brown paper bag. The holiday lunch consisted of jellied ham sandwiches, fruitcake, Christmas cookies and walnut-laden chocolate brownies smothered with powdered sugar to the point where you expected to see a small plastic man skiing down its slopes.

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Ii couldn’t believe I was conscious. A few hours earlier I had just finished a wonderful meal in the company of wonderful people and now I was sitting in my car surrounded by what appeared to be not so wonderful people waiting for all the big box retail stores to open up.

Yes, this was the year my wife and sister talked me into going to “black Friday”. This was the day all the stores opened early in the morning in order to start the Christmas Season off with a bang. I remember advertisements in year’s past that had the stores open up at 5 or 6 am. But, this year the hopeful merchandisers did not fool around. Many of them opened up at 1 in the morning trying to get a running start on one of the most popular shopping days of the year.

My day started like no other day had ever started before. Lying in bed I had this urge to open my eyes. There they stood; my wife and sister all bundled up and ready to begin their adventure. At first all I wanted to do was pull the covers over my head but this possibility was eliminated when my wife pulled the covers off the bed, told me to get ready because they were ready to save hundreds of dollars by beating the entire world to their favorite stores.

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Tthe Thanksgiving festivities are over, the Christmas decorations are up, and my wife has done something she has done early for the past thirty years; she bought and wrapped all of her gifts and placed them symmetrically around the tree.

This is the signal that I dread every year because it represents a time that I have to do something I sincerely hate to do. I have to go Christmas shopping! If I delay this inevitable part of my life I am condemned to watch my wife stare under a tree that only has presents that she has purchased; many of which are for me. Needless to say, once the signal is given, off to the shopping malls I run.

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Iit was a land so long ago . . .
the lambs lay blanketed in snow
and little children everywhere
sat and watched warm embers glow
and dreamed (of what, we do not know).

Aand THEN–a star appeared on high,
The brightest man had ever seen!
It made the children whisper low
in puzzled awe (what did it mean?).
It made the wooly lambkins cry.

Aand far away a new-born lay
warm-blanketed in straw and hay,
a lowly manger for his crib.
The cattle mooed, distraught and low,
to see the child. They did not know
that it was Christmas day.

The First Christmas by Mike Burch.
More poems plus by Mike Burch at www.thehypertexts.com©
Copyrights reserved Mike Burch March 2000

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