Friday, December 2, 2016

My Favorite Month

(Source)
Given what month it is and the fact that the lead photo is one of Christmas lights on a snowy fence, one would have to be rather thick not to be able to guess to which month the title of the post refers. January? Nope. November? Nope. (Both are eligible because snow is possible in both of those months, also as some folks put their decorations up early, others take them down late, if at all.)

If you guessed December, then pat yourself on the back, for it certainly is the Sarge's favorite month. (Don't feel bad if you guessed wrong, I ain't that clever a fellow myself. In my profession "clever" is frowned upon as it is equivalent to saying "unmaintainable by anyone other than the person who wrote it." Yes, I am in the software business, no, I am not clever. Oh, don't confuse "clever" with "elegant," totally different. Elegant is good, clever is bad. As to my own personal level of "cleverness," do you know how many years it was before the true meaning of the pseudonym NaCly Dog struck me? More than I care to mention. Not clever, not me. But I digress...)

Perhaps the main reason I enjoy December so much is that it is the holiday season, which for me starts at Thanksgiving and ends with Epiphany in January. (For those who are interested in such things, in Germany, Epiphany is known as Dreikönigstag, I'll leave the pondering of that and it's meaning to you. Hint: Google is your friend in that regard.)

Yes, I suppose I enjoy the holiday more for it's colorful decorations, pretty lights, gift-giving (and getting, I'm not squeamish in that regard), and all around "good cheer." Though that last bit is rather strained these days. Those are the things I remember from my youth. It was also (and sometimes still is) a time for families to come together and celebrate.

I was reminiscing with my brother about how many people used to be crammed into our wee house on Christmas Day. Not all at once mind you, but they would come in waves, first one set of grandparents, then the other. Then an uncle and aunt. Perhaps a cousin would be with them, often multiple sets of uncles and aunts. A full house of happy people is a joy to behold. It's what I remember as a kid.

I guess that stuck with me over the years as I always look forward to this month with a great deal of excitement. Is December perfect and wonderful every year? No, of course not. But if I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that my percentage of outstanding Decembers (as opposed to "meh" Decembers) runs close to 95%, even higher if memory serves. (Which as I get older happens not as reliably as it used to.)

Another thing I love about December will no doubt elicit a few groans from the readership. That would be the white stuff, snow. The fluffy, gently falling kind, not the Nor'easter blowing in your face, holy crap we're all going to freeze to death kind. (That usually waits until January.) In December the snow in these parts (if we get any at all) is typically minimal and of the "gone by noon" variety. Still and all it presents a picturesque and Christmas-y feel. Though I don't recall having snow on the ground for any of the 18 Decembers we've been residing in Little Rhody. For that we had to go further North, I have seen a few White Christmases in New Hampshire and Vermont since I retired from Uncle Sam's Aerial Follies. One of which was perhaps a tad too white, think 18+ inches of snow. In about six hours. Fortunately we were indoors the whole day.

I thought it looked pretty, The Olde Vermonter, who had to drive in it, wasn't as appreciative. Can't say I blame him. I also remember that Christmas (well, Boxing Day to be precise) as the last time I ever got to shovel snow with my Dad.

Funny the things you miss.

Anyhoo.

While in my idle youth and nearly pagan days of being a card carrying member of the aforementioned military service I wasn't nearly as observant of the religious aspects of the Christmas holiday as I am these days.

Yes, yes, I know that the 25th of December was chosen by Holy Mother Church to piggyback on the pagan Winter Solstice holiday season and that the Lord was probably not actually born in December. I get that, but during the aforementioned pagan times of my existence, while I acknowledged the "reason for the season," I didn't view the Birth of the Christ as the main reason for the season.

Older, and perhaps wiser, I now truly enjoy that aspect of the season. I shudder to think what would have become of me if The Missus Herself hadn't determined 18-odd years ago that we would be a church going family and "yes, you will go upstairs and put on something decent AND you will go to church AND you will enjoy it."

Though I had my doubts, I went and, wouldn't you know it, I did enjoy it. (Well, admittedly it took a few Sundays before I really got into it.) The older I get and the more I think about it, though Christmas is a lot of fun for me, it wouldn't be the same without the religious aspect.

There's something about a candle-lit church on Christmas Eve with a choir softly singing "Silent Night." Truly special to me, when I have my own bairns and their own bairns home for Christmas, I feel truly blessed. And my Mom, Dad is gone, but Mom, dear Mom, I love seeing her at Christmas as well.

So yeah, I like December. A lot.

Even though it is the beginning of winter with all that that entails in this neck of the woods. But no one who has ever experienced the harshness of a New England winter cannot but fail to appreciate the coming of Spring.

Four seasons are great. But December, I love it so.

This carol sounds lovely in any language, but I like it most in the original language. Have I mentioned how special Christmas is in Germany? No? Don't worry, I will. Eventually.






28 comments:

  1. It is a wonderful season! We seldom get any before January in Jersey, but I like the snow as well. I usually grumble and complain about it as if you say you like snow it tends to anger those that have to travel in it, but I am a closet snow lover...oops, I guess I am out of the closet.

    Merry Christmas and a happy December.

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    1. I don't mind driving in the snow, it's the other drivers whom I mind driving in the snow.

      Scare me they do.

      You too have a Merry Christmas and a happy December!

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  2. Well, I've got a new favorite Christmas Carol this year, at least in the non-religious category.

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    1. Hahaha! Brilliant!

      (Loved the dancing Trump!)

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  3. SNOW - Stuff No One Wants
    Well, I will say it's nice to look at and visit.
    But, keep it off my lawn.

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    1. Snow is wonderful....in small quantities and for short duration. Texans don't handle driving in it well. Skip's three categories of drivers is especially apt in describing us.

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    2. Most people don't handle driving in snow well. Then again, Skip's three categories describe the situation very well.

      I have pontificated upon that subject before.

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  4. As for music (in addition to my newfound Dropkick Murphys - "The Season's Upon Us") I find George Winston's "December" album a nice complement to the season.

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    1. Just listened to some of Winston's "December," a very pretty piece of music. Thanks for that Mike!

      (And yes, it's time to trot out "The Season's Upon Us." I'll probably watch that video a gazillion times again this year. Love it.)

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    2. Well, I had to return the favor, didn't I??

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  5. Juvat's right about Texans not doing well in snow. I've been in two wrecks in my life and they were both with
    Texans. I got hit in Aurora on the street next to Fitzsimons hospital during a snowstorm by a Texan driving way too
    fast. The other time was from a Texan right after a hard snow in Tulsa. Other than wild drivers, I love driving in
    snow and just enjoy snow and the accompanying cold weather. And December definitely tops my list for my favorite
    month.

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    1. The Nuke was born at Fitzsimons, a week after a blizzard which left three feet of snow on the ground. As you might imagine there was quite a bit left the night she was born. A lot on the roads still. They didn't plow very well that year, the mayor lost his job over that one.

      Denverites are abysmal drivers in the snow. They're don't all that great on dry pavement either!

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    2. Colorado drivers as a whole suck. Mainly, because they are from somewhere else and moved here.

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    3. The natives were pretty good, the transplants? Not so much.

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    4. Minnesota, or more exactly Twin Cities divers, are appalling.

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  6. Just had to add this poem by an old friend of mine from Fountain Colorado.
    Thought you might appreciate it.


    THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

    The traditions of Christmas have changed much through the ages.
    Not a bit like it was on the night of those three sages.
    To find the Savior of Man, they had traveled so far,
    To a village they were guided by that bright Eastern Star.

    There they found him, The Child, in a crib filled with hay.
    And the presents they brought we recall to this day;
    Frankincense, and Gold, so precious, and Myrrh.
    Were they gifts rare and of value? They certainly were.

    The first Santa was St Nicholas who, as legends relate,
    Knew three young pretty maidens who bewailed of their fate.
    They all wished to be married, but of dowry had none.
    To each he gave a golden ball; the weddings were soon done.

    Now gifts are brought by Santa Claus; a fat, old, jolly soul.
    Who, with elves and Mrs. Santa, lives way up at the North Pole.
    On Christmas Eve, upon his sleigh, he loads a lot of toys.
    And takes them 'round the world to good little girls and boys.

    The giving of gifts still goes on to this day,
    But we observe that tradition in a much different way.
    Today it's clothing, or games, a tool set, a ring.
    What can you get, for that someone, who has everything?

    The right gift can be found: don't look far, don't look wide.
    It can be in your heart if you'll just look inside.
    Many good things are free: the moon and stars up above,
    But the best gift of all is friendship and love.

    Christmas is the happiest time of the year.
    The world's full of laughter, full of hope, joy, and cheer.
    So rejoice, but remember what this day was meant to be:
    The day our Lord came down to earth to save both you and me.

    Frank J. Montoya
    Poet Laureate, City of Fountain

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    1. Nice. (Who da thunk that Fountain has their own poet laureate!)

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  7. I remember reading about a pair of Shermans riding herd on a column of German POWs on Christmas Eve in 1944. The Commander of one of them, standing in his hatch, as they drove slowly through the night, started singing Silent Night. Soon the MPs marching along were singing it, and the Germans started singing it. The TC happened to look back at his engine deck, where some wounded Germans were riding. A small Hitler Jugend type, around 14 years old, was huddled up against the turret, weeping. The TC spoke German, and asked what was wrong, and the POW said, " You're Christians! We were told you would execute us! ". I don't know if it's true, but it makes a nice story.

    This video makes Badger Muzzles very soggy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPbV_HTpyx0&index=9&list=FLh_UplAbFoiKNjIY7A3-ZUQ

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    1. Great story Scott. Strip away the ideologies and the poisons we are fed by the politicos and we are all human.

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    2. Oh and yes, that song is awesome.

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  8. I remember learning to sing "Stille Nacht" as a freshman in German class. After mostly only hearing German spoken by Nazis in war movies, it was a revelation to discover that all languages can be beautiful......................

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    1. Sometimes the harsh sounds of German can conceal it's beauty. I might tool around the swamp in a hovercraft, a craft that hovers, a Frenchman, in his aeroglissuer, or air glider, but a German does it most elegantly, n his luftkissenfahrtzeug, machine which kisses the air!

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    2. Well, well. Who would have thought a long German word could conceal such poetry?

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