Sunday, November 25, 2007

Corrigan Christmas

My God, it’s good to be back in Texas.

The past week was uproarious. Glorious. If there’s anything better than being invited to the 80th birthday of one of your oldest friends (Bob Fusillo), it’s having a groaning-board Thanksgiving with him and his family the following day. Edith Fusillo kept feeding us, feeding us. Dylan Fusillo and Janis Shen came in from New York City. I got to spend more time with him and his brother, Neil Fusillo, than at any time in the past…decade? Two decades? More?

Atlanta itself was all about shopping. Every news medium was filled with stories about “Black Friday” and “Super Saturday.” Shoppers local and national lining up at Best Buy (e.g., which is also advertising a “Cyber Monday” in the event shoppers missed their opportunities over the previous weekend) the night before stores opened, wanting to be the first in line for flat-screen TV sets and other gadgets.

Number Two story on the national TV news programs was about all the Made-in-America toys people could buy. No fears of heavy-lead paint if you buy American instead of Chinese. This is particularly piquant since Barbara finally tracked down a pair of size-15 flip-flops that was waiting for us on our front porch when we arrived home last evening. Made in China, natch: a potential new meaning for the term “leadfoot,” I suppose.

Widely remarked upon by Talking Heads – and much in evidence in stores and lots all over Atlanta – is the deceitful attempt to avoid calling those seasonal, decorated evergreens Americans enjoy buying by any other name than Christmas Trees.

It seems to have started with the Lowe’s Holiday Catalog, in which the big-box chain cravenly referred to these items as Family Trees.

In an effort to avoid the use of the term “Christmas tree,” Lowe's has renamed their Christmas trees and are now calling them “Family trees.”

In their Holiday 2007 catalog, containing 56 pages of Christmas gifts, Lowe’s advertises hundreds of gift items, including scores of “Family trees.” In fact, the word “Christmas” only appears two times in the entire holiday catalog. The ads mentioning “Christmas” cover only 12 square inches of the 5236 square inches available.

I saw signs advertising Holiday Trees, Seasonal Trees and – on one corner of the Perimeter Shopping Mall – a lot with a huge banner announcing the sale of Tradition Trees. (I’m pleased to report the apparent absence of marketing for the Hanukkah Bush, though some are available for Jewish shoppers on the Worldwide Web.)

Yesterday, we battled our way west across Interstate 20 on the drive back. Rain, more rain. Massive rain. Spot showers. Heavy misting. Plus traffic diverting from I-10 because some of this major highway is closed – see the post below. Leaving the Interstate, crossing the state line on US 79 and switching to US 59 to bring us to Houston was a wonderful relief.

Even better, we drove through the tiny town of Corrigan about 8.30 PM. There’s a lighted signboard in front of the City Hall. It announced:

Christmas Tree Lighting
& Chili Cookoff

God, it’s great to be home.

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