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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
               Tuesday, November 6 2001  

No fast/no feast

The Christmas tree went up in the human resources (previously known as "personnel") department on October 30. People have been grumbing as long as I can remember about how the malls "jump the gun" on the Christmas season by putting the Christmas stuff out by Halloween. I don't go to malls enough to care much about that; if I see a mall decked for Christmas once before the end of the year it will be a bonus; I hope there are carolers, too. But Christmas at work (I'm close enough to human resources that I pass through it several times every day) before Thanksgiving does strike me as a bit premature. As much as I love Christmas and all the trappings, I fear I'll be tired of these trappings before December 21, the last day before a company-wide two-week holiday break.

When I was in school, the equivalent day was always a short one. True, the schoolroom had been decorated with painted windows, paper chains, usually even a Christmas tree and lots of items set around, for a couple of weeks at least. But on that short day I'd get home early and start decorating the house. The wreaths and any lights in the windows and around doors (we didn't have enough to string outside the house in those days)...popping corn to string (saying it would be nice to have cranberries to string within the rows of corn, though we never did), colored paper cut into half-inch strips to make chains to drape from the ceilings....

That was only a couple of days before Christmas most years. The day of Christmas eve we would buy a tree (could we afford a dollar for a tree?), bring it into the dining room just before dark, and start trimming it after supper, finishing around 8 p.m.

Part of this was for safety's sake...the decorations were a fire hazard, so the shorter they were up, the safer (which sounds ludicrous, but we acted on it). But mostly it was about keeping the spirit of Christmas. It was like we feared that if, like a genie, we let it out of the bottle too early, it might be dissipated before the gift wrapping and giving. It was tradition.

Being in a Protestant household, we were accustomed to the Christmas services all being over by the end of the Sunday before Christmas (later, I appreciated the Nanty Glo Methodist Church Christmas eve service, the only Protestant one I knew in those days, and even, for the sake of my many friends who attended there, the St. Mary's Christmas eve midnight mass). These days, the larger Protestant churches in my area have their pageants and cantatas over with by about December 15...wouldn't want to cut into any of that sacrosanct "family time" closer to the big day.

We'll decorate "for the grandchildren" and in the hopes that a family party will break out at our house this Christmas eve or evening (as usually happens), and the trimming will be done, most likely, at least two weeks before December 25. But sometimes I wonder which day we're celebrating, and what event, and how much it gets spoiled by jumping the gun.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Most dangerous comestible

A dietitian was once addressing a large audience in Chicago. "The material we put into our stomachs is enough to have killed most of us sitting here years ago. Red meat is awful. Soft drinks erode your stomach lining. Chinese food is loaded with MSG. Vegetables can be disastrous, and none of us realizes the long-term harm caused by the germs in our drinking water. But there is one thing that is the most dangerous of all and we all have, or will, eat it. Can anyone here tell me what food it is that causes the most grief and suffering for years after eating it?"

A 75-year-old man in the front row stood up and said, "wedding cake."

—Sent by Sally Covolo

Power of prayer

God has told us how to access His power with the only [tool] that has any real powerprayer ...the tool we often think of last ... the tool we spend the least time on. Our actions, our use of time tell us that, no matter what our theology says, it's really our human weapons we're depending on. That's why we spend a lot more time in planning meetings than prayer meetings.

Ron Hutchcraft
Sent by Jim Martin

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