That Old Holiday Feeling

Blondie and I hit Sam’s Club last weekend for some holiday oddities and endities, and as we were heading out to the parking lot, Blondie remarked that everyone seemed rather … subdued. I couldn’t really see that the other customers were any more depressed than usual, wheeling around great trollies piled full of case-lots and mass quantities than any other Sunday, as I am still trying to throw the Cold From Hell – now in it’s third week of making me sound as if I am about to hack up half a lung. But that is just me – good thing I work at home, the commute is a short stagger to my desk, where I do the absolute minimum necessary for the current project, and another stagger back to to bed, take some Tylenol, suck on a cough drop and go back to sleep for several hours. The cats like this program, by the way – a warm human to curl up close to, on these faintly chill December days.

I am sick, and we are coming up on the second anniversary of Dad dying … the day after Christmas 2009, from several different conditions which developed over a mere two weeks; as if that wasn’t enough to blight the holiday season for a good few years to come for our family. The murder in our neighborhood a couple of weeks ago, the massacre of school-children in Connecticut last Friday … although we didn’t personally know anyone involved or affected at first hand, those events still cast their own blight. The results of the November election has also cast a very long and depressing shadow. We – those libertarians and fiscal conservatives – know that there is a financial cliff coming, and no means left now to avoid running over it. Even the most cheerful among us are saying essentially, ‘let it burn.’ Let it all happen and be done with, and when it is over, then we can begin the long chore of rebuilding. No, the mood of holiday good cheer is very hard to maintain, amidst all of these personal and national disasters. Among the few happy shreds that I can take away from these last few weeks of 2012 is that at least this year I can afford to buy presents for my nearest and dearest, which wasn’t always the case in recent years.

But I know what Blondie means about people lacking enthusiasm for Christmas. It seems as if we are all just going through the motions this year – a demonstration of reassurance to children that everything is absolutely OK, and this will be the most perfect Christmas evah! Never mind the New Year, hanging like a dark cloud and rendering the standard expressed wishes for a happy one fairly hollow. The New Year will not be happy; of that we can be certain. It actually rather reminds me of the last Christmas that we spent in Spain – 1990. This was during the run-up to the First Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein was given a deadline of January 15th by the UN to vacate Kuwait … or else. And all that winter, we watched American forces pass through Zaragoza, heading ‘down-range’ to Saudi Arabia. We watched the base being surrounded by high-banked rolls of concertina wire, and new security measures put into place, as the minutes and hours and days ticked by. That was the year that demands of work and preparations for war took up so much time and energy that I put off buying a Christmas tree from the BX until the very last minute and had to settle for a two-foot tall plastic one. I do not recall what I bought for Blondie as a Christmas present; very likely a Lego assortment of some kind. And our Christmas that year was celebrated under much the same kind of cloud … because there was a holiday, and children who expected presents and jollity and the decorated tree and all, and parents obliged because of course that was what was expected and who knew what would be happening by the next Christmas … but every one of us did so knowing of the deadline, and knowing what would happen when the deadline passed.

With this current situation, there is no set and specific deadline to dread – only the certainty that no good will happen once it is passed.

Merry Christmas. Happy New Year.

(Cross-posted at

8 thoughts on “That Old Holiday Feeling”

  1. “just going through the motions this year – a demonstration of reassurance to children that everything is absolutely OK” seems to me to be the very essence of religion.

    Thoughtless, purposeless, inhumane. Somehow good for children.

  2. Mike_K – at the dog park I frequent there is a man who will come in – pickup truck full of bassetts – howling as only they can – I tell him given the circumstances I want to say, “Release the hounds!

  3. Sometimes when a person catches the flu (which is viral and immune to anti-biotics) a person also catches a baterial infection which can be ended by anti biotics.

  4. Two or three Chihuahuas will keep a bed nice and warm without crowding anyone out. And they are less yappy than most small dogs or leftists, for that matter.

  5. Well, I THINK I am getting over it, as the cough is not so bad, and my head is not so clogged. I promised my daughter if I am still not over it by next week, then I will see a doctor … by then, I would have had it for a whole month.

  6. Bill, one of my bassets, now decreased, was from a basset only rescue shelter north of Los Angeles. You should hear 100 basset hounds howling and baying. Winston never learned to do that, thank God.

    Charlie, the basset we rescued, was an angel. He had spinal stenosis and had weak hind legs. At first he had a cart for for his rear end but after we adopted him, he got so he could walk and even would walk around the block with us. Eventually he became incontinent. I have pictures of him with a diaper. Tail sticking out.

  7. }}} “just going through the motions this year – a demonstration of reassurance to children that everything is absolutely OK” seems to me to be the very essence of religion.

    Madge: I don’t know why I keep shouting at them…
    The Doctor: Because every time you see them happy
    you remember how sad they’re going to be… And
    it breaks your heart. Because what’s the point
    of them being happy now if they’re going to be
    sad later? The answer is, of course… because
    they are going to be sad later.

    Doctor Who, “The Doctor, The Widow, and The Wardrobe”

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