Christmas in Dixie,
It’s snowing in the pines,
Merry Christmas from Dixie,
To everyone tonight . . .
I almost wrecked . . .
It is a nice afternoon and I’m headed home from the barbershop with the Leatherwood Bypass beneath the wheels and Merle Haggard on the stereo.
Then, down to my right, I see . . . a Santa Claus and a snowman.
I managed to jerk the car away from the ditch just about the time Merle hit “No Reason to Quit.”
Man, whatever happened to the natural order of the seasons, huh? At least the way mere man has them marked on the calendar. You know, winter, spring, autumn, fall, July 4, Halloween, Thanksgiving . . . and then Christmas.
Here it is, a balmy November day and Obama hasn’t even showed up on the White House lawn to save a turkey headed for a smoker if not for presidential intervention.
Way up in a blue sky, I spot a couple of contrails and it comes to me that’s not a big jet headed for Seattle. It’s the contrails from a couple of brooms astride which ride two witches leaving town. That’s when it occurs to me that maybe some caution is in order. Santa may already be on his way. A mid-air collision is possible.
Hey, don’t laugh.
There are other signs that the calendar makers are just a step or two away from skipping from Labor Day to Christmas Eve. Thing is, they have help, lots of it, from the Great Merchandisers of the world.
And my newspaper is aiding and abetting.
Or did you weigh last Sunday’s paper?
I did . . . after almost catching a hernia on the way from the paper box back to the house. It was stuffed more than a Thanksgiving turkey with all sorts of deals to help you spend your money, including a few that subtly or blatantly let you know to check your Christmas fund ‘cause Santa really is hitching up Rudolph and his buddies.
You may still buy candy kisses, turn on the porch light, and wait for the kids to “trick or treat” you. You may check the grocery pages to see what a turkey is going for this week. The merchandisers like that, but what they flat out love is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.
On Black Friday, the ladies in your life will make at least two trips to Walmart. And the thing the merchandisers really love is there are still, after Black Friday, 25 shopping days left until Christmas.
So, among the early offerings:
-- You can save $50 (off) on all seven and half-foot Christmas trees at Big Lots.
-- Target has a Disney “Jake and the Neverland Pirates Musical Pirate Ship Bucky” for $34.99
-- Dollar General is offering a wide range of Christmas ornaments for (surprise) $1 each.
-- At Walmart (my favorite general store) there’s a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Secret Sewer Lair Playset” for $79.97. That’s a “rollback” price from $99.97.
-- Fred’s has a 12 or 15 count box of glass tree ornaments for $4 which sounds like a deal to me.
-- Even Ace Hardware (“The Helpful Place”) is ready. On the third page of its “insert” there was a “red hot buy” in a cordless drill. Reduced ($20) to $79.95. It didn’t say Christmas for dad, but there was a poinsettia tagged to the handle. Same message, huh?
Finally, in the interest of full disclosure, I think I should mention that this is also the biggest season of the year for this newspaper.
Scott Calhoun, the guy who keeps up with the incoming and the outgoing for Mother Consolidated, has to be grinning . . . all the way to the bank.
So am I in the Christmas way yet?
You betcha. Fact is you’ll have to excuse me while I put Blue Christmas by Mr. Presley on the stereo . . .
George Smith can be reached at 256-239-5286 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org