I grew up in family with an artificial Christmas tree. We weren't heathens. We were good Christians. I just never knew anything different than the tree we had, other than the ones on tv that people picked out from a converted car lot or something and wrapped up in twine like some crazy plot to a hostage movie and took it home on the top of their station wagon. (In my memory, everybody drove station wagons in the 70's). But we had our forever and ever evergreen that we just unboxed each year and put it up like the year before. We still had to assemble it, branch by branch and Matthew and I would both help mom find the right colored tip branch to put in next (bottom row black, then white, then red, then yellow, then blue, then gray, then the top). I loved putting that tree together. It meant that the season was starting. I loved Christmas music. I loved the decorations. I loved getting presents.
Winter finally arrived this last week. The arctic front raced across the brown grasslands and corn stubble of eastern South Dakota, the sparse barbed wire doing it's best to slow it down when it could, but the slight whistle of warning to zip up and put on a hat and gloves was about all it could do to contribute. So people zipped up their parkas and jackets, found their hats and gloves in the back of their closets... the arduous hunt for the pair. At first they just carry them with them... the Norwegian self-denial that it's really this cold. The German stubbornness holding onto their pride of being able to handle the cold. The realists having already been wearing hats and gloves weeks ago when the temperatures was in the 40's.
Not only do I not know where to begin when talking about my mom's elementary school music programs, I also wouldn't know where to end. I was a part of them as a participant for 7 years... 9 if you count the times that she was also the junior high school band instructor and I was in junior high. 13 if you count the next 4 years when I was recruited to help set up and take down risers, run the spotlight when necessary, or be an all-purpose general helper/roadie for mom. These programs were a logistic network coordinated by mom, but the generals on the ground were all the teachers that helped pull their part and got each class in to place when they needed to be and out of the way when they needed to be. They were the supervisors of the busy little mouths that were all aflutter and excited to be both in their classroom in the evening (which was always kind of cool for the kids) and then to be all dressed up and ready to sing for their parents and their grandparents.
Christmas shopping in the 70's was a much simple process than it is now. I know I'm not breaking any new ground with that revelation. Besides the obvious technologies that everybody now has that weren't even a DREAM back in our day, there is the actual process of shopping for the gifts. I don't remember when "Black Friday" crept into our vocabulary. I know we never had a
I'm just a creative guy that's looking to throw all this spaghetti onto the wall and hope something sticks.