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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

Now Sitting Poolside: Santa and Burl Ives

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        Hope your 2008 started better than mine.


        My first official act after getting out of bed this Tuesday, January 1st, 2008 was to make a phone call to Triple A.    My son was able to limp to work with a rapidly flattening right rear tire.     I dealt with it while he was earning an honest buck. slinging popcorn at the local  mulitplex.   


        It was on my way to his disabled auto when I spotted the first one.    Then came a second.    Both were lying on their sides, in the snow, next to the curb.     They looked lonely.     Cold.     Dismissed.     Just days ago, they were centerpieces.    


        They're discarded Christmas trees.     From the living room to the wood chipper.     Oh, Tannenbaum.         


        I'm convinced there are two kinds of people: those who start celebrating the Yuletide the day after Halloween and those who barely get all their stuff bought/decorations up/tree done somewhere between December 23rd and 25th.        There are those who keep their trees up until the Super Bowl, and those who have it out of sight before the kickoff to the Rose Bowl.   


        There is no right or wrong.     It's all a matter of personal style.   


        We spend a good chunk of each autumn complaining about the early arrival of Christmas.      Yuletide tunes filled the Milwaukee airwaves on All Saints Day.      Christmas-themed commercials popped up around the same time.    There are year-round Christmas craft stores, and you can start buying holiday wrapping paper through local fundraisers each summer.     


         I maintain you can dive into Christmas any time you want.       Have Santa at your Thanksgiving table?     Go for it.     Want to go tree shopping on your way to Midnight Mass?     The option is yours.       But if you want to revel in the birth of the Prince of Peace after December 25th, well, chances are you'll have to be sporting "Feliz Navidad" on your I-Pod or hum it to yourself.      The Goo Goo Dolls usurp Burl Ives rather abruptly on the radio.     Vestiges of the Yuletide are pretty hard to find in local stores.       Doesn't' it already feel as though you opened your gifts weeks ago?          We can argue all we want about an alleged War on Christmas, but there's little debate about when the ceasefire begins.


         Andy Williams?     You had a great eight week run.     You were in my head virtually non-stop since I was swatting the last ladybugs from my front door screen as I handed out Halloween candy.        You were wishing me "Happy Holidays" even as we marked Veterans Day.      You were in the background as I raked leaves, cleaned gutters. and covered up the patio furniture.     You, Gene Autry, the Chipmunks and Mannheim Steamroller deserve a few months to rest your vocal cords and get those fancy cardigan sweaters dry cleaned.       You served us well.


         I'm guessing we won't be hearing you until, um, I'm guessing around Labor Day.

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