Challenging All Drummer Boys


Purdue Big Bass Drum

Last night, while I was minding my own business, I heard those tale-tell notes, Puh-rum-pum-pum-pum, lofting in from the living room, where Anne had the TV on. Hearing this tune meant that for yet another year, I had lost the Little Drummer Boy Challenge (LDBC). The rules of which are simple, if you hear this song between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, you lose. The challenge is always a one and done affair and there is never any fuzz on that.

The hipster origins of the LDBC lies in a general revulsion to the sappiness of all too many Christmas carols and has become focused on this one particular carol that attempts to stand astride the Christmas carol religious-secular divide. The song tells a nativity story, but introduces as its focus a character that never appears in the bible. It attempts to tell a religious tale featuring the likes of Rudolf the Reindeer. You can consider the LDBC as a just war on Christmas. 

I knew that with this year’s earlier than normal Thanksgiving that the challenge would be tougher than normal. So, I should be glad that I made it as far as I did, but the suddenness of my loss and the fact that it occurred in the safety of my own home, has made this defeat all the more incomprehensible. I rushed into the living room to confront Anne for her hand in my downfall, but while I found a Christmas special on the television, I also found Anne fast asleep. She had a tiring day that featured a field trip to the Magic House. So, I’ll just let it go… 

2016 Christmas Lights


2016 Christmas Lights

2016 Christmas Lights

EB, as promised here is a picture of our Christmas lights this year. Please note the Christmas pyramid on the left. Do you recognize it? It is still working just fine, even after all of these years. Note that its fan blades on top look blurry. That’s because they were twirling so fast that in this long exposure, they were motion blurred. The strings of lights around the windows and hearth are all new LED lights. Each blub has a little lens on its tip that projects their light and forms those circular patterns on the walls and ceiling. They are not really as garish as they appear here. EB, I hope that you like this picture.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas


Skating Santa

Skating Santa

Last Thursday, we had our nice little Thanksgiving Day dinner party, hosted by Anne and me, with Dave and Joanie as our only guests. At dinner tonight, we will be finishing off the last of that meal’s leftovers. Thank you very much David, who is now winding his way back to Purdue. Having put Thanksgiving into the rearview mirror, it is now time to dive head first into the Christmas season. We skipped the Black Friday’s shopping/horror experience, but dove right into Small Saturday instead. We walked over to downtown Maplewood, where we bought a few things, ate a few things and saw a few things that we might purchase later. Plus we got some exercise to boot. It was a pleasant experience all around, devoid of any of that claustrophobic crush that you get at the malls. One of the things that we bought was a garland, which will be our stand-in for a tree this year, but instead of the usual pine rope, we went with cedar this time. It looks so much nicer. This morning, we put up our Christmas decorations, both inside and out. There are still a few finishing touches yet to be applied, but we are so far ahead of the game this year and I wonder why? Well I know why and I plan on taking full advantage of the extra available time this year and to savor and celebrate this holiday season for a change, instead of just lurching half-dead on my feet from one obligation to the next. Merry Christmas!

I Should Really Call this Post Something


McDonnell Planetarium Christmas Decoration on a Sunny Day

McDonnell Planetarium Christmas Decoration on a Sunny Day

Today was a very rainy day. In fact, it is still raining. I started my Christmas shopping this morning. Yeah, it is getting down to that now or never time. I’m not as young as I was and prefer not to brave the Christmas Eve scrimmage anymore. I went shopping right after the stores had opened, but it was still crowded, with lots of traffic and almost no parking. I thought shoppers only camped out for Black Friday? Pedestrians were crossing Brentwood, walking to the Galleria in the rain. I guess because the lots were already full there. I wasn’t foolhardy enough to brave the Galleria myself, just some of its auxiliary malls, like Galleria Pointe and Brentwood Promenade, one was very hoity-toity, the other slightly less so.

Next, Anne and I did the Christmas dinner grocery shopping together. This is always a test for me. Normally, I do all the grocery shopping myself and like it that way. When I shop by myself, I just use a hand basket and dash in-and-out of the store as quickly as I can. When we do these big meal shops, it’s a much, much bigger production. First off, we get a cart, which makes sense, because we are going to be buying a lot of food, too much to carry. It is the big cart though, not the smaller, more nimble cart that I like better. I guess what I chafe under the most is the shopping list. Anne mainly draws up the menu, although I do consult. She then translates the menu into a shopping list.

When we arrive at the store, she knows what we need, but I know where most things are. What happens next is she gives me a few items on the list. I go off to get some of them and tell her where the rest are. After acquiring said items, I then start searching for Anne. Fortunately, she was wearing a bright red coat today. It made her easier to find. Actually, everything went quite smoothly today, with one exception. When I asked one of the grocers where the fresh cranberries were, he told me that they had sold out of them, two hours ago.

At the store, the Perma Bear texted me, “The hull is breached”. Actually, what he transmitted was “The hull is reached”. I just point this out, because he is always doing the same to me. I guess he has finally figured out that he won our gas bet. Next year, Don, next year. Dave answered my text and said that he was passing Champaign. Doing all this texting, while I was looking over my glasses, an older (63) more rotund man came up to me and proceeded to bend my ear about all things eyesight related. After this little interlude I was ready to finish our grocery shopping.

We returned home with our haul, stuffed the refrigerator and pantry, then I turned around and headed back out into the rain again. I only had a mile to drive and I never came closer than a mile to the epicenter that is Galleria, but the traffic and the intensity of the shopping experience had already been dialed up a few notches, like to eleven. I did find the elusive cranberry. Normally, we buy two bags at Thanksgiving for just this eventuality. This year we forgot.

Dave just arrived in town.

When I originally posted this post it was mistakenly untitled, hence the title.