Thursday, December 27, 2012

Down, Down We Go...but, Hold the Loafers!

Downsizing is a contemporary, worked-to-death word, and we went through our downsizing several years ago when we moved from a Cape May home with a swimming pool, three decks, and more than an acre of ground to our present home, which is little more than a cottage.

Now there’s a lot to be said for having a big seashore home with plenty of ground for kids and grandkids to romp, but it also means you run a motel six months of the year. You see, when family comes to visit, they don’t stay for several hours and go home—they stay for several days!

Thanksgiving used to be an especially big deal that started on the Wednesday prior and lasted through Sunday. This year it began Thursday afternoon and ended Thursday evening. And there wasn’t a cargo bin of towels to run through the washer and dryer afterward. Just a dishwasher load or two.

Ahhh…it’s great when they come to visit…and great when they go home. Hey, who said that?

We thought we were all downsized—my wife and I. She retired, and me; well, writers never really retire, so I continue to work from my home office, but it’s been a while since we both dressed in our business-casual finery and left for our respective days at the office. My wife was in medical billing and I was a newspaper editor.

Recently, however, we finally came to the realization that we had never really downsized our wardrobes. We each still have a closet full of business-casual slacks, blouses, shirts, sport coats, skirts, and shoes…shoes; don’t even wander there! I think there were fewer shoes in the barracks during my Air Force days.

So our downsizing now goes into phase two: Dozens of stylish, well-kept, business-casual style outfits—male and female—are being packed into contractor bags (folded nicely, thank you) and will be promptly transported to the local Goodwill store. We’ll keep some fashionable togs for church and family gatherings (New Year’s Day of course), but we have to admit that we’re no longer the casual-business type.

Oh, we’re still casual—I won’t tell you have many of these columns I’ve written in pajamas—but at least a few other souls will now get a chance to dress in Dockers, a Van Heusan shirt, and Floorsheim penny loafers when they never would have imagined they could have looked so…metrosexual. At least that’s what I’ve been told the word for stylish is today.

So we’re glad to be able to spread our fashion sense around. Hey…wait a minute…you know what…I’ve had those penny loafers since Regan was president. I can let go of a couple dozen pairs of khakis, and a bundle of sport shirts, but…I think the penny loafers have to stay. They’re too much a part of me.

I think I see a semi-worn pair of Rockports that might do instead. This downsizing can really get painful. I’m going to have to think about this.

Happy New Year!  May 2013 be your best year yet, but may it pale in comparison to those that follow.

Now excuse me, but I’ve got a pair of cordovan penny loafers to polish for New Year’s Day.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Good Ol' Fashion Christmas

To me, our society seems too permissive…too…oh, I don’t know…too non-responsible. And this is the time of the year when that is most clear to me.
Gene Autry is telling us that Santa is coming to town, and the Little Drummer Boy is telling the king to bring silver and gold to the child in the manger, Burl Ives wants us to have a holly, jolly Christmas…
But does everyone really deserve a holly, jolly Christmas? What ever happened to the good old days when the nasty boys and girls got coal in their stockings? Did the environmentalists put the kibosh on coal? What’s a parent supposed to put into his child’s stocking if the kid’s been a horse’s neck all year—solar panels?
I think there’s a time and place for everything—even coal. And since we’re in Pennsylvania, the anthracite capitol of the nation, what better surprise for a menacing Dennis to find upon awakening Christmas morning?
Well…be of good cheer, for I bring you tidings of great joy, for last week, in a South Jersey Dollar Store, I found Christmas coal for sale! And it was very affordable (Well it was a dollar store!).
I’m so glad to see that some merchants are not neglecting an often-overlooked segment of our population—those bad little boys and girls who deserve coal in their stockings.
Each of the little packets I found for sale contained two separate lumps of coal, so if you have what used to be called a rich man’s family—one boy; one girl—(and, both have been naughty this past year) you can get all of your holiday shopping done in one location, and still get change for your five dollar bill. Charles Dickens would be exultant.
So let’s stop pandering to those undisciplined, bad-tempered, wayward street urchins that turn their noses up to the vegetables at your dinner table night after night. Give them what they’ve been asking for—a little bituminous, some lignite, or my personal favorite—good old anthracite.
But don’t wait too long, because coal is simply a form of carbon, and if it’s put under enough pressure for a long enough time, it turns into diamond. And you don’t want to give diamonds to a delinquent.
Boy, I gotta tell ya…I’m really getting into the Christmas spirit.