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MARTHA SEZ: Onward! Toward Christmas!

November 17, 2017
By MARTHA ALLEN , Lake Placid News

Thanksgiving is upon us, and most of us know by now where we'll go and what sort of menu we will be dining from. But Thanksgiving is not just some big feast out in the middle of nowhere.

No, Thanksgiving is the gateway to the Christmas season. Some consider it more correct to use the term holiday season, in view of the fact that there are many winter holidays, and not just Christmas. In reality, however, Christmas, in its religious, secular, social, historical, psychological and retail aspects, is overwhelmingly the most influential in our lives.

Don't get me wrong. I am not belittling Thanksgiving, an important annual event first enacted by Captain Shrimp and Squanto, and proclaimed a national holiday in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln.

It is good to focus on what we're grateful for, instead of endlessly carping about how our country is going to hell in a handbasket, and it's good to feast with friends and family and perhaps watch some football. While I never watch football myself, I know a family for whom football is the only safe topic of conversation when they get together.

Afterward, we can drive home through the dark and sleety evening, or, if the feast was held at our own table, rearrange the contents of the refrigerator so that all of the leftovers fit inside without the cranberry sauce spilling all over everything the next time someone opens the door to rummage around for a piece of pie-cranberry sauce being something you really don't want to spill, because it is one of those substances, like Jell-O and maple syrup, that are almost impossible to dislodge from kitchen surfaces once they have set up.

Despite the travel time, prep work and clean-up, Thanksgiving is basically a pretty simple holiday, functioning primarily to usher in Christmas.

Christmas is huge. It is absolutely enormous. It will be coming soon and eating up all of our money and messing with our emotions and sucking up all of our air, and there is no sense pretending otherwise. What with Santa Claus and and stockings hung with care and all, it is Christmas that is coming to town. I guess we can look the other way and ignore it for a little while longer. Right?

At our peril.

Physicists may become shrill and hysterical when I say it, but I always maintain that time is not quantifiable. Some hours are much longer than others. Some weeks just blow by while other weeks move like clusterflies on their last legs. You know it's true.

Yes, as Leadbelly sang, "Christmas is a coming, and it's a jumping. Boy, it won't be long." Right now you probably think that you have time to get ready. Maybe you plan to fashion homemade Christmas gifts. If so, you are probably saying to yourself, why bother to drag out all of those projects now, when there are so many more important things to avoid doing?

What you must remember is that the closer Christmas gets, the faster time moves. As you may know, I always compare this phenomenon to floating downstream on a raft or, if you prefer, an Adirondack guide boat. At first, the current carries you imperceptibly along; you trail your fingers in the gentle wake, like someone in a French Impressionist painting, and contemplate making a list.

Soon, you notice that your craft is moving right along. Faster and faster you go, until before you know it you are hurtling helter skelter between the boulders. What on earth is that awful roaring sound? A freight train? A tornado?

No, it is the dread falls of Christmas up ahead. Help. help! It is just like Niagara Falls, and there is no turning back-you're going over!

When you come to, you find yourself sitting in an easy chair with a cup of coffee in your hand, or perhaps it is egg with some rum in it, and it's Christmas day, and there is colorful wrapping paper all over the floor. You wish that you had done more for the people who mean so much to you. Holding the nice woolly muffler your sister crocheted for you, you blearily resolve that next year you will start earlier. I'm clueing you, it is already pretty late in the game to be embarking on a muffler now unless you use those really big crochet hooks.

OK, I've really got to get busy. Have a good week.



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