Did you realize that tomorrow, Dec. 14, is the anniversary of the last moonwalk? No, I’m not talking about Michael Jackson’s optical illusion, but rather that of Eugene Cernan in 1972, along with New Mexico’s Harrison Schmitt on the lunar surface.
Heck, they not only walked but also drove around on the moon. But wouldn’t you know it, the tin foil hat crowd has proclaimed tomorrow as their Moon Landing Hoax Day, which in this day and age is not unbelievable. Not that the moon landing was a hoax, but that some people clearly have so much time on their hands they come up with stuff like that. Moreover, from what I’ve been seeing, what’s in vogue now is to doubt anything you hear, read or see with your own eyes.
To me, there are other more important things to question; things inquiring minds want to know. For example, when certain people leave the house to go to the store, do they change out of their sleeping pajamas and put on their going-to-Walmart pajamas?
Or, why is a building called a building even though it’s built?
Or, before drawing boards were invented what did people go back to?
Or, how do you draw a blank?
Or, if a No. 2 pencil is so popular, why is it still number two?
Or, why is there an eject button on a remote when you have to get up and take it out anyway?
Or, why is an open door called ‘ajar?’
Or, why isn’t claustrophobia the fear of Santa Claus?
Now that I’ve got that out of my system, I’ve been hearing that the latest thing for the holidays is a black Christmas tree. Artificial, I presume, although there is such a thing as a black spruce which in actuality is green, but I suppose you could spray paint it. If you don’t cotton to black, never fear. You can also get one in pink, blue, red, purple or orange, but I’m waiting for somebody to come out with a paisley one.
My lord, think of it… we’ve gotten to point where a tree can be color coordinated with your carpet and drapes.
Really, though, that’s nothing new. They’ve been making artificial trees since the 1800s, but I have to admit we’ve never used one. It was always a thrill in my younger years to go out to whatever nearby forest permitted such things and cut down a live tree. It’d be hanging it out the back of the trunk at sixty miles per hour and by the time we got it home it resembled something like Charlie Brown would pick out. Light on foliage but heavy on charm.
Black trees or not, holiday trends and fads come and go, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live a couple hundred years ago and be celebrating Christmas without all the holiday hoopla that we have today. I mean before malls and advertising and marketing focus groups and blue light specials.
I suspect back then the holiday was celebrated in a simpler fashion. Maybe not as simple as in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol where people were expected to go into work on December 25, but still with a lot less hubbub and desperate shopping and clogged parking lots.
In all actuality, I read that the Dickens’ story was a big influence for people to start observing Christmas with family gatherings, generosity, seasonal food like fruit cake and mince pies, and various libations (pumpkin spice Oreos came much later). If that’s not enough, Dickens is also attributed with popularizing the expression “Merry Christmas.”
And then there’s that Scrooge thing.
You could say last weekend epitomized the holiday season in Socorro and Magdalena, what with La Pastorela, Mariachi Christmas and the inauguration of Magdalena’s Christmas parade. And if that’s not all, Clara’s fry bread stand was open at Bobby Winston’s gas station. Score!
In the meantime, go ahead and wallow in the spirit of the season. Sing a few Christmas carols, toss a few dollars in the Salvation Army bucket, eat a bunch of empanadas, biscochitos and chile rellenos, and toast each other with a glass of eggnog.
Oh, if I may, here's an eggnog concoction that can’t be beat; what you might call the quintessential All-American eggnog, courtesy of our first President:
“One quart cream, one quart milk, one dozen tablespoons sugar, one pint brandy, ½ pint rye whiskey, ½ pint Jamaica rum, ¼ pint sherry - mix liquor first, then separate yolks and whites of 12 eggs, add sugar to beaten yolks, mix well. Add milk and cream, slowly beating. Beat whites of eggs until stiff and fold slowly into mixture. Let set in cool place for several days. Taste frequently.”
That’s word for word from the pen of George Washington. Like I always say, nothing can take the place of good, sound judgment...and that includes a little rum in your eggnog.