Humor by Tom McLaughlin
It's time to sit back and reflect on what we are all grateful for this Thursday, a day where we meditate, pray and reflect on the great gifts bestowed on us throughout the year.
We gather hand in hand with families who have traveled great distances just to share with us the camaraderie and precious memories of days past and to plan future visits. A sip of wine, some warm Andy Williams Christmas music and a fire crackling in the hearth.
Reflect? The only thing we reflect about is how the Redskins and the Ravens have done this season. Great arguments explode in the group about various teams, as there is always one Steeler or Cowboy fan in the group. A roaring drunken tirade occurs as the current football game on television progresses into a slit eyed double vision event as the beers and drinks quaffed begin to take their toll.
Meditate? We will all meditate on how we are going to pay our heating bills this winter. One thing we can be thankful for is that it has been a warm fall. But, of course, you and I know what is going to happen.
Temperatures will barely rise into the mid 20's with night time lows around zero. The snow will come and stay until Easter. The energy company execs, sunning themselves in Guam, figure they are far enough away to escape the lynching they so richly deserve.
The knowledge of our Boy Scout fire-starting methods must be recalled as we try to figure out how to use the fireplace. After neatly stacking the cord, something about green wood being cheaper, we arrange it tee-pee style and douse it with gasoline.
The kerosene heaters purchased for every room remain fueled and ready to ignite in the McMansions purchased for their looks and not the energy efficiency. Soon, the stench and soot covered walls will welcome a Merry Christmas. Standing in blizzard conditions at the gas station, the cans will be refilled and carted to the homes and we attempt to refill the stinky items ruining the oriental carpet with spills.
Wild animal bizarre behavior also begins this time of year. The squirrels run haphazardly across the roads in a maniacal search for acorns and other nuts to be buried and retrieved later. They scurry back and forth and test the seat belts as you brake hard for the little furry scoundrels. After awhile, you peel the "I Brake for Animals" sticker off your car.
The shopping mall extravaganza begins on Black Friday and the local newspapers with the sale ads are immediately coveted. A map is constructed on the locations of the best bargains and a plan, worthy of Gen. George Patton's race across Europe, will be implemented.
At around 5 A.M. the house stirs with the smell of coffee and excited voices as the head pounds with a hangover from the day before. The teenager with a learner's permit begs you to ride along but you say "I trust you, take the car by yourself." Immediately, the cell phone roars into high gear and 40 young people wedge into all crevices of the vehicle.
The house quiet, a turkey sandwich made and a deep foreboding penetrates the soul. It will soon be time to figure out what everyone wants for Christmas.