I parked my Caravan in the parking lot at the mall, barely fitting in between the white lines. I wondered what genius drafted the master plan for the hundreds of parking spaces that are simply too narrow for even the smallest cars to safely fit into.
One has only to park in one of these tiny slots to realize how difficult it is to get in and out of your car. Oh well.
Undaunted, I pressed on across the parking lot to the main entrance of the new box store in the hope of picking up a few small items for Christmas.
Suddenly, halfway there, I heard screeching brakes, a thud, then the angry voices of two women firing volley after volley of the filthiest language at one another. One had backed out of a spot and the other, beeping her horn madly, would not surrender one inch to allow the other party to reverse.
Their children stood in utter disbelief at the scene and words that they had never heard before. I thought, where’s the Merry Christmas gone?
Is this what the birth of the little Christ child has come to?
Pressing on again, I reached the front door, only to be confronted by a very angry woman repeatedly smacking the back of the head of a small child. A bystander told her to lay off, to which she snapped venomously, “Mind yer own (expletive) business!”
Passing through this happy throng, I was confronted with a scene of total overcapacity. The inside of the store was noisy and crowded, and people very rude when it came to common courtesies.
I reversed amid some pushing and shoving over carts at the door and made my way back to the sane world inside my friendly van.
I sat there, wondering what ever happened to my old Christmases that were fun times — when people cared about one another? What happened to our kids that all but the oldest believed in good old Santa Claus, even if was to squeeze that extra year in for a present from mom and dad?
I’m so glad that I was born and raised in a happier time, despite the effects of war that tainted everything. The excitement of finding that pair of hockey gloves and a new stick under the tree was all we wanted, along with a good turkey dinner and our parents’ love.
Videogames, mostly about war and killing the enemy soldiers, are sold by the millions now.
Videos of extreme wrestling matches, which are little more than the return of the wretched gladiators of ancient Rome. Swiss Family Robinson left me spellbound! Where is my old Christmas now?
The carol singers no longer collect on street corners, singing the praises of that simple birth in Bethlehem so long ago.
Is it just another race to see if my gift is more expensive than yours and running up the credit card for a meaningless day?
My Christmas is gone, folks, bought off by the almighty dollar. There will be small groups out there that remember what my Christmas was all about.
A very Merry Christmas to those who remember!
Mountain historian Colwyn Beynon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.