Thursday, December 23, 2010

Greedy Fun

Ho ho ho!  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, all that wonderful stuff and oh yeah, pray for whirled peas!

It's 56f degrees in Orlando, Florida. Upstate South Carolina is expecting a white Christmas, virtually unheard of, sure to break some records.  I grew up there as a child, well, heck, I guess most of us are children as we grow up.  We always hoped for a white Christmas and it never happened. Indeed we wished for snow because the schools and businesses would close. Everyone would dash to the grocery store, at the mere threat of a snow flake falling on our southern town, stocking up food to feed an army, for weeks, as if the grocery store might vanish overnight. Then we went home, built fires in the fireplace in case there was a sudden power outage (back then, there never was) plus cook up a mountain of food.

Then we waited for the snow. If it hadn't snowed by bedtime, we pretended to go to bed, then got back up, opened up the bedroom curtains, anxiously watching out the windows, waiting for that first snowflake. If we fell asleep, we tried to get up at the crack of dawn, to see if it had snowed, to see if school was cancelled. It was a free winter holiday and we loved it.

If someone spied a snowflake, day or night,  the yell would resonate through the house "IT'S SNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWING!!!" 

After we were dressed from head to toe in moth ball smelly clothes, mittens, hats and scarves, we were allowed outside to study the snow, to taste a snow flake on a tongue, to gather round with the neighborhood kids, wildly speculating just how much white stuff we would get.  We discussed whether it would be soft or hard, or heavy, whether we could have snowball fights or maybe even enough to put a snow man in every front yard. Would there be enough to fly down Bridges Hill on the top of an old metal garbage can lid.

Back then we all had big hefty metal garbage cans in our backyards. The government sent men out twice a week to hike through our unfenced yards, to retrieve our garbage, then haul our garbage out to a truck on the street.  Those dome sized lids were perfect for sitting on the top of them, then flying down the snowy covered hill.  So once it snowed, the lids of our garbage cans would be hopelessly dented, warped or flattened, depending on the weight of the child abusing it.

The hardware store must have loved it, when some of the fussier households, bought new garbage can lids, once all threat of snow was removed from our forecasts. Like in June or July. Mind you it typically snowed in January or February and only for one day, two if we were extremely lucky.

It rarely snowed in those days, weather patterns for that area were different than they are now. It snowed maybe a total of 8 times in 5 years if were fortunate. I can virtually remember almost every snow day we ever had.

At some point, our mothers would insist we come home to thaw out. We peeled off our many layers of clothes, these were hung to dry by the furnace ducts or near the roaring fire. We were handed mugs of Hot Chocolate as if our very lives depended on this sustenance. Southern moms were extremely worried about frost bite.

If the snow finally piled up, we spent another 20 minutes putting our layers of clothes back on, then out to the streets and yard, to have snowball fights, to fall into the frozen creek, to ride down a hill on the top of the metal garbage can lid, because we had no sleds.  Southerners were not going to waste money on sleds.

We ooohed and aaahed at the "Yankee transplants" that brought their wool coats and sleds with them. We thought those kids were the luckiest in the world to have a real sled. The radio or TV would broadcast all day, for everyone to stay home, do not get out on the roads.

It was pure fun, life was GOOD!  If we managed to build a snowman, the old cameras were pushed into use, a parent would run outside (kids weren't allowed to use such delicate equipment) and take pictures of the snowmen or the yard or the house. Our family album recorded every snowfall, every snowman. That was the 60's in upstate South Carolina.

Today, 2010,  I was tremendously saddened when I learned that both K-mart and Walmart plan to be open Christmas Day. I just think that is horrendous. Corporate greed in the worst way. I feel terribly sorry for the employees.

I though Waffle House was the only business that stayed open 24/7 including Christmas and Thanksgiving. I thought everyone  else was supposed to CLOSE for Christmas.

It's a sacred holiday for many, as well as a festive one for the vast populace. A time to spend with family or loved ones or both, depending on how your family stacks up...

I bet the executives who made the decision to have their workers show up on Christmas Day will NOT be in their offices, but snug at home with their loved ones. Shame on them.

Can't we have just ONE day a year when everything closes down (except Waffle House?)


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