Whew! It’s January 6: Twelfth Night; the traditional and official end of the Christmas season for most of us.
Our Russian Orthodox neighbors will celebrate Christmas tomorrow, but soon, all will be status quo in Kenai and life will return to normal (whatever that is) again.
I have to admit that since our last meeting, my attitude took an upward swing and my mood changed direction. That happened partly because someone fixed the lights on the tree across the street from the fire station. I didn’t see it happen, so I’m not sure if they twisted every bulb in the burnt-out string looking for a loose one or if they just installed a new string, but whatever, soon after it was brought to their attention, the tree once again sparkled with multicolored lights. Made my morning commute (all six blocks) joyous and bright.
And people kept wishing me Merry Christmas. You can’t stay gloomy when everyone you see is so up and into the season. Then the Bohemian Waxwings showed up and flocked around the Mountain Ash trees, a little late, but still a happy sight. And we got some snow. I think that might have been the telling factor in finally making me believe it really was Christmas and time to be cheerful and merry
I even laughed with everyone when someone called out the “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” special for promoting bullying. Actually, I couldn’t believe that anyone old enough to care who has seen that TV special (it shows many times every season), or at least heard the song that has been around since 1949, could misread it so. I always thought the message was anti-bullying, and the underdog saves the day. Nothing to be offended about there.
But then “Baby, It’’s Cold Outside” was blackballed for a couple of days, again, because someone wanted to be offended about something and thought that was a good shot. Luckily, we still have cool heads who set those in the funny pink hats straight about interpreting things in the context of the time. I shudder to think how some things written today will be viewed 50 years from now. Or rather, how this society will be viewed: pouty faces and pointy fingers, I’m sure.
But the final straw was the insistence that we have gingerbread persons rather than gingerbread boys or men. It still confounds me why anyone would trash the traditions, stories and myths of another’s favored celebration. I don’t see it happening to Hanukkah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, or even Festivus, so it seems designed to upset the applecart for as many as possible.
I almost said “Bah, Humbug” again, but remembered that even the Grinch was able to finally see through all the false messages and recognize the true meaning, so I took a deep breath and carried on.
And I suspect those trying to be cool and progressive went home to mom’s house on Christmas Eve and hung their stocking, watched an old Christmas movie and left cookies out for Santa because that is tradition, and if mom says so, you do. So much for ultra-liberalism.
And now, it is Twelfth Night.
School starts tomorrow; work schedules get back to normal and it’s getting lighter every day. January is always the longest, darkest month but by Groundhog’s Day, we can tell we really are gaining light.
I didn’’t make any resolutions this year, because by now I would have already ditched them.
But a couple of things I am going to have to do to understand the world in 2019 is to learn what a “dog whistle” is and how to recognize one, and also a “false flag.”
Those two phrases have become commonplace in the news these days, and I’m afraid my dinosaur brain is still back with “code words” and “covert operation.” Another one is cultural appropriation. That one I have under control, I think.
It means if I put on my muumuu before I get dressed for the day I am disrespecting another culture by wearing its clothing style. Or, I can eat all the tacos I want at a restaurant, but if I make them at home I am usurping another’s culture and stealing its signature food. But it is not cultural appropriation if Mary J. Blige, or Beyoncé bleaches her hair. Whatever happened to imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?
Twelfth Night was never part of my family’s tradition, except for the story of the Epiphany.
The celebration ended when we kids went back to school. However, I discovered just recently that Jan. 29 is National Curmudgeons Day. And in recognition of equal opportunity, females are now accepted in the definition of curmudgeon, so finally, a celebration I can get my head around.
2019 might have some promise after all. Happy New Year!!
• Virginia Walters