Walking around our little subdivision this year has been a real eye-opener.
Apparently, someone here in Gutenberg Land tallied up the exact number of ohms, amperes, and whatever, in LEDs,
and discovered that a light display doesn’t violate all the myriad of complicated energy saving laws, and
Eat your heart out, Vegas:
green door lintels
gold hedges between the house,
orange Bethlehem stars,
or gold comets with monstrously long LED tails,
balcony aprons of a blanket-sized sheet of gold lights,
in the windows,
in a sort of picture frame of lights,
a specialty in this area,
what are, over here called light arcs-
a kind of, well, arc, Roman style,
sort of like a stone bridge with candles sticking out.
MASSES of sleighs, reindeer, and
Giant red-clad dummies,
sticking out of chimneys.
The three stooges would have a holiday.
The thing is, you see,
we are in the town that has the only papal see outside of the vatican.
with Swiss guards in the cathedral and everything.
Which means that,
there can be as many as-
some local statisticians guess-gasp- even over-
50 percent Protestant.
More if you add in all of the other religions we have over here .
It just plain doesn’t matter.
“This is a Catholic town.”
Which is why,
regular as clockwork,
someone in my evening Gospel choir course
marches up to me,
on St. Nick day,
and hands me a chocolate St Nicholas,
with greetings from their Priest, Bishop, Monsiegneur,
whoever is in charge of converting the infidels this year,
(one year I even got the super-duper infidels conversion basket-
a small basket made entirely of woven chocolate,
with a small nick and angels and a blessed holy family)
It was handed over with the words
“There never was a Santa Claus, it is Saint Nicholas”
And every year,
I think of the wonderful things from my childhood,
like sitting on Santa’s lap for pictures,
putting out cookies and milk,
and praying for as long as i could next to my bed so I could maybe hear Santa’s sleighbells and the sound of the reindeer hoofs.
And I have to laugh.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
After which I thank them politely for their interest and concern,
but we all have our own beliefs.
(And mine say: Go team Claus)
And then I throw myself into the fun.
Like the fact that every year, my barbershop group “One Fell Swope” and I get lots of oos and ahs when we do a barbershop version of some of the best Christmas songs,
Including a parody we do that starts with an intro from Wagner’s Flying Dutchman and then switches into Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.
And, of course, we end our benefit concert with a quick chorus of the barking Jingle Bell dogs.
Which, even among Germans, usually brings the house down.
in one concert two years ago,
to it’s feet,
(Followed by O Du Fröhliche- O Serenissima- the ultimate bring tears to your eyes go home happy song.
Which, to me at least, is the meaning of the whole thing.
And the smell of pine trees.
And the taste of roasted chestnuts and spiced apple cider,
And lights everywhere,
like the fantastic windows in the cathedrals, to remind us of what heaven is really like.
And people with strange angel costumes with wings,
and we three kings of orient are
(or Famous Barr, if you are from the St Louis Area-
“We three kings of Fa-mous Barr- tried to smoke a rubber cigar”-
hey, it’s funny when you’re about eight)
and reindeer antler caps where you can pull on a string to make them clap,
and singing the good old songs
and hugging strangers
and laughing a lot.
And remembering why we are really here on this planet.
for some of us,
whose birthday it is.
Wouldn’t it be great if Christmas came one Sunday per month?
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