Anyway, at Halloween the Griswalds put up - and I am totally not kidding - 4 stuffed persons in various chainsaw murderer/angel of death/psycho stalker outfits and propped them up all over the lawn. One was actually climbing up the side of their house until the wind knocked it down. Also, there was a head floating in a jar of ... something on a table by the door, about 30 cardboard headstones on the grass, a skeleton emerging from a grave, cobwebs, haystacks, orange/purple/magenta lights, and (my personal favorite) spooky music which we all got to enjoy for 3 weeks every night from 6ish - 9ish. Luckily for us, this is when we are trying to put our children to bed. There's nothing like family prayer and scripture study to a soundtrack of screaming, howling and moaning - come to think of, that's what bedtime's like everynight... so nevermind.
Now they have crossed the line. Two words - Christmas decorations. I know you are checking your calendars and wondering why you do not remember having your turkey and pie. That, dear people, is because it is November 11th. I find this behavior offensive and morally objectionable (you heard me - morally objectionable.) It is not time to be looking around, trying to figure out what stuff we want, but for appreciating the stuff we have. It is not time to be asking for more when we have too much already - and they do - I've seen their garage. It is time for us to take a stand against the gullible consumerism that has bored its way into our culture and taken over our precious holiday time. (P.S. neighbors - just because they sell it, doesn't mean you need it.)
So, in a totally futile attempt to resist my neighbor's holiday coup d'etat I am concentrating on the things I am thankful for until after Thanksgiving, (when I will hopefully not turn into a big, fat hypocrite.) Here are some of the things I've come up with...
1. I am thankful for running water in my choice of hot or cold. Did you know that according to the World Health Organization (2006) 42% of the people on the African continent still used "unimproved sources of drinking water". (The internet is a handy thing, huh?) It is a great thing to live in a place where you can have confidence that the water going into your child's mouth didn't just serve as a bovine day spa.
2. I am thankful for my ears - specifically for two reasons. One - so that I can hear the sound a basketball net makes when the ball falls through just right. It's somewhere between a snap and a woosh - a snoosh, and if you've never noticed it, I'm sorry for you because it quickens my pulse - really. Two - so that I can hear my three year old say "I just wuv you sooo much" at random intervals throughout the day. Often when he's in trouble - the kid's no dumby.
3. I am thankful for a birthday in December. It is the fanciest time of year, with the prettiest lights and best food. It's like everyone got everything all dressed up just for me. For anyone who has a December birthday and doesn't like it I say - you're wrong, get over it.
4. I am thankful for hair dye and anti-aging/anti-sagging/anti-ugly cosmetic products that are not tested on animals so that I don't have to feel guilty as I try to maintain my healthy, youthful glow. (I have to be honest here - I would use them anyway. Have you noticed that the only people that protest animal testing are those too young and healthy to need medicines and miracle creams. I am not for animal testing, I'm just saying...)
5. I am thankful for Al Gore's most famous invention - the internet... without which, I would not be talking to you and wasting my time on my various moral crusades like this one - recently named "Citizens Against Untimely Holiday Decorations"- (nor would I be able to quote WHO facts as per #1).
6. I am thankful for the surgeon that repaired my torn ACL 15 years ago. I've run a lot of miles on that knee and the scar is cool. Sometimes I pretend it's from a knife fight in a biker bar. I know, I don't seem the type but...
7. I am thankful that I can read. Imagine the things that you would not know if you couldn't read. No Walden, or Ikea assembly instructions, or street signs, or online suggestions for how to get vaseline out of your two year old's hair at 2 am (the answer is cornstarch and then shampoo - just in case). Because I can read, no one can ever lie to me about what God says I should or shouldn't do, or control what I know and understand. I feel a deep sorrow for women in other countries and cultures that do not have this blessing. In the words of my 7 year old niece - "Books are powerful".
8. I am thankful that I can laugh a big huge laugh and I'm not afraid who hears me. Sometimes, especially when times are low, a laugh that comes from way inside you and rumbles around in your chest for awhile before it bursts out loud can clear a lot of sorrow from the soul, like the way duct tape can take all the fuzz balls and mystery hairs off of your pants in like 2 seconds.
9. I am thankful for duct tape - since we were on the topic. One of the most important lessons learned from my ancestors (specifically my grandfather, who is still alive so I don't know if he qualifies as an "ancestor" yet) is this - you can fix anything with duct tape. (There may be duct tape holding my knee together. Who really knows?)
I just hope when we finally do hang our blue holiday twinkle lights (my husband got them on sale and now everyone thinks we celebrate Hanukah) that I will remember that all of the holiday pretty is really about the most important things to be thankful for and not at all about needing more of the things that in the end mean not much.