Saturday, November 25, 2006

In my post on Thanksgiving day, I wrote about some of the myriad things for which I'm thankful, and why I always look forward to Thanksgiving as a day to reflect on them.

But that was then, and this is now. After Thanksgiving comes the weekend after Thanksgiving and the traditional, dreaded Christmas decoration season. Yesterday I rented a truck and made two trips to our rented storage unit to bring back the great mass of storage boxes containing our Christmas tree and all the assorted decorations. The tree is a beautiful artificial one - the most lifelike and realistic I think I've ever seen - but putting it together and getting the lights on it will test the patience and mettle of any human being, much less a cranky old geezer-lite like myself.

First of all, the branches each have a colored dot on them which matches a colored dot on the tree trunk so that one knows where each branch goes. That's fine for those with normal color vision and brilliant lighting in the room where they're working...neither of which I have. And so our tree-erection ritual always begins with Agnes sorting out the branches by color, after which I assemble the tree and fluff it up from it's crushed-down storage state.

And then come the lights. Can someone tell me why the lunatics who design strings of Christmas tree lights don't make them with a plug on one end and a socket on the other to facilitate stringing the individual strands together? These stupid things have a combination plug-and-socket at one end, so that all the strands have to start from the same point. It takes about eight strands of lights for our tree, and so I not only have to work the individual strands around the tree, I have also to position a power strip behind the tree in such a way that it hides the vast tangle of cables that all start from the same place.

Scrooge would be proud of me by the time I'm done.

Of course, the end result is always wonderful - Agnes (a.k.a., Mother Christmas) always makes the house look beautiful for the holidays. But as for me, by the time the tree is up and all the lights strung, I'm reminded of the old cartoon that shows a neighborhood awash in gorgeous Christmas displays of lights, animated reindeer, and brilliantly lit manger scenes. You are looking at this scene from above and behind one house, around the front door of which a circle of angry neighbors confronts a fellow with a scowl on his face and his arms crossed over his chest. The caption reads, "We're from the decoration committee...". And the only decoration on the house in question is a row of lighted letters across the crest of the roof which spell out, "Aw, #%@# it!"

Somehow, I can understand.

Have a good day, and get into the holiday spirit. It's easier once the decorations are up. More thoughts tomorrow.


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