Ahhh, the Holidaze
By Lynn Harlan
August – when the Christmas trappings start showing up in the back of stores such as Target and Hobby Lobby. Halloween makes a larger attempt each year, with orange-colored outdoor strings of lights mimicking the reds, greens and whites to follow.
Halloween has crept up into being a major holiday, so different from my years as a trick-or-treater living in town. Then, I roamed my neighborhood with my siblings and maybe a parent – bringing candy home in a plastic orange bucket and later in brown paper bags or pillowcases for more volume.
It gave us an opportunity for a face-to-face meeting with the grouchy old man next door or the spry smiling widow down the street.
Now they have “trunk-or-treat,” the door-to-door alternative. A community of cars will gather in a parking lot, decorate their trunks and dispense candy there, usually in daylight and before the actual night.
Safer? Maybe. But no pounding of the pavement and shrieks in the dark approaching a scary decorated house.
Halloween has never been my favorite holiday, since living on a ranch and having fall work to finish.
What? You need a costume tomorrow for the school party? Here’s a torn-up sheet, you can go as a mummy again this year, or glue some straw to the bottom of the coveralls and be a scarecrow.
Actual costumes, as my kids can attest.
Now we’re at the end of November, and Christmas catalogs are showing up in earnest. Thanksgiving’s “one day in the sun” was held at our home with a home-grown prime rib.
Then there was the Christmas tree hunt. We had such a long, glorious fall, so I kept my horse around and did several rides to find the perfect tree.
The Friday after Thanksgiving has been traditionally known as “Black Friday,” but it seems Black Friday sales started turning up in early November. Retailers are worried about folks spending for Christmas and are already trying in earnest to get our dollar. I believe there is a Black Friday sale every day of the week on some internet sites.
I don’t know why we receive some catalogs. Did I order something in the long distant past from Hammacher Schlemmer?
How about some heated gloves at $149.95? Will these spark when I’m retrieving chunks of ice out of the frozen water tank I just chopped? There is one interesting item, the quick removal windshield.
I can’t forget to mention the snow tarp with sewn-in magnets to keep the tarp secure in wind gusts. Bob usually throws an old coat over the windshield with the pockets full of staples, paint chalk and pliers heavy enough to keep it in place.
There is a heated cordless deep tissue massager for neck and shoulders which looks nice for $129.95, but I’ll probably just stick with the tube sock full of rice which can be heated in the microwave.
And for the family, the electric s’mores maker at $79.99. It uses electric heat to melt the marshmallows instead of flames – isn’t that what a gas cooktop is for?
December has arrived. Winter also showed up in an icy blast sent early from the Artic. We’ve still got a couple of water tanks to fix and cows to trail to their winter feedground. One snowy day spent going through the heaps of mail piled during fall work.
And speaking of mail, and all those catalogs, a shout out to our mail lady Jane Ann Gosney, who recently turned 80 years old and is still delivering the mail three times a week. For many years, she was the Barnum bus driver while helping run a ranch. She made handmade Christmas ornaments for each child on her route to start their own collection.
It’ll be time to get out the lights and decorate the tree. Nothing is more heartwarming than to come in after a cold day and plug in the tree.
Emily Matthews once said, “From home to home, and heart to hearts, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas brings us closer to each other.”
I hope you are able to enjoy the warmth and joy of the season.