When you think times are tough

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 9, 2006

There are 16 days remaining until tens of millions of dads will spend 10 dollars in gas trying to find someplace to buy 20 dollars worth of batteries at nine a.m., when there are no stores open.

Once again, we find ourselves at the time of the year when we try to forget about our problems, set aside our differences and try to act like we all love each other.

Actually we do all love each other, which is why we fight so much.

Americans are a huge dysfunctional family, we can’t live with each other, and we can’t live without each other.

More than likely, Wal-mart will attempt to solve the daddy-battery-crisis, the ‘who forgot the eggnog?’ crisis as well as the ‘I forgot to get my aunt Lucy a present!’ crisis.

I’m not big on buying Christmas gifts.

By the same token, I’m not big on receiving them either.

So if you are reading this and was wondering what to get me for Christmas, the answer is nothing, which is probably what I got for you.

When I first moved to North Carolina as a teenager, I use to go into the woods behind my grandmother’s house every year with an axe and search for the perfect tree to chop down.

I would do my Paul Bunyan impersonation and drag that tree a good mile or so back to the house where my grandmother Mary Rascoe and I would spend the rest of the day decorating it.

Those were good times.

Those days, Christmas music and cartoons dominated the airwaves of radio and television.

Today, Christmas has definitely become the economy’s biggest cash cow and the spirit of what the holiday season is supposed to be about kind of gets lost in the shuffling of paper currency.

I told my daughter the other day that I was certain she was at the top of Santa’s naughty list.

She glanced at the Christmas tree with the presents underneath (all belonging to her by the way), and gave me a look that pretty much said &uot;So?&uot;

Today’s children have pretty much figured out a way to trash the significance of a naughty or nice list.

One of the letters to Santa that we recently received at the News Herald was from a sixteen-year-old who wanted a set of gold fronts (teeth) and a pit-bull for Christmas.

I don’t know what is more disturbing the fact that he wants gold teeth and a pit bull or the fact that he’s sixteen writing letters to Cheryl Manley, excuse me, Santa Claus.

After spending an evening at the Ronald McDonald House in Norfolk with the Teetor family, I went home and kissed my little girl a thousand times more than the normal 1,000 kisses she receives from me daily, naughty list or not.

What I enjoy the most about the holiday season is the general mood of most Americans.

We all want to have at least one time during the course of the year when we can try to be civilized human beings, or at least civilized consumers.

Haven’t you noticed, I haven’t said a single bad thing about President George Bush since Thanksgiving!

I wish we could give all the troops in war zones a big hug.

I feel so bad for those men and women that not only have to be apart from their families right now, but also have to try to not lose their lives over the holidays.

There should be a ‘cease fire’ over the holiday periods.

That should include Christmas, Hanukah and Ramadan.

There are also thousands of families in the area who are struggling through tough times financially right now.

Some of them will be the beneficiaries of charitable works from other Americans who use this time of the year to put their best foot forward and tend to their fellow man.

Unfortunately, the battered women’s shelters, the homeless shelters, the group homes and orphanages will still be full.

Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a perfect formula to cure all of societies ills.

None of the ‘good books’, fire and brimstone preachers or sociologists that I’m aware of has a quick fix method to uplift humanity as a whole, despite what any of them say.

The most effective medicine to fixing the condition of downtrodden people are the displays of compassion exhibited by fellow Homo sapiens during this two-month stretch of the year, when the human spirit shines brighter than ever.

Whether you believe in the story or not, the spirit of Christmas is built on the concept of celebrating the birth of the individual many people acknowledge as the son of God.

Like I said before, you do not have to believe the story to appreciate the meaning of it all.

It’s just too bad Christmas doesn’t come every month.