From the East Wing

Christmas Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the East Wing.

As this Christmas Day, 2010 draws to a close, with the shades of nighttime having engulfed the East Wing, I set here surrounded by all my pets and my stuff, I pause to reflect on the one true meaning of Christmas to BobbyRay.

I’ll tell  ya one meaning it’s not, and it’s that “Happy Holidays” I’m so tired of hearing that happy holiday crap I’m ‘bout to scream. It seems the corporate world along with our government  has gone overboard in their insistence that their employees never say “Merry Christmas”, don’t think Merry Christmas, don’t  even have a Merry Christmas. Shame on them. And shame on us for allowing it to happen.

It appears that a systematic attack has been launched against Christmas, and I for one am not gona buy into it.   People  who don’t have the gonads to take a stand on something as important as Christmas should be ashamed to go out in public this time of the year.  Maybe this attack on Christmas is part of that ole “change” thing so many folks voted for a couple years ago. Or was that a different “change” so many voted for a couple months ago. I wonder when will we ever learn, when will we ever learn.

Happy Holidays! Give me a break here! If ya wanta say happy holidays, save it for Presidents Day and maybe even throw in Martin Luther King Day. If ya want happy holidays, use those two, or even throw in a couple more of those dumb type holidays, I don’t really care if ya do one way or the other.  Just leave Christmas out of that Happy Holiday bunch of politically correct monkey poop.

I firmly believe the vast majority people feel the same as I do ‘bout Merry Christmas, just don’t take the time to make their point of view know. And as a result a minority point of view rules the day.  That being said, shame on us.  As individuals we have such strong opinions, and many times as a group, unlike cats, we heard easy.  Sophia said “ The last presidential election may well be an example of how well we heard. Change you can believe in”. Damn Republican Cat.

Early Christmas Eve morning I had to drive the Michigan City to resupply Bubs BBQ. Now it’s over 50 miles from home, so when I’m driving back I decide to stop for a cup of coffee at a McDonalds  in Westville IN.  It’s not yet 9:00 o’clock in the morning, I’ve driven many, many miles before breakfast, shopped for stuff in quantities that most  wouldn’t believe if I told ya.  So I’m not really in a good mood for crap before McMuffin. I just wanta cup of black coffee and keep get on with the day, ‘cause there’s miles to go before I sleep.

When I pull up to that little black box that ya have to talk to at McDonalds Drive Thru, a little girl inside the box says happy holidays and what can I get for you this morning. I said “the first thing ya can get for me is to say Merry Christmas”. The little box went silent for a long time. When the box spoke again the little girl had turned into a little boy saying what can I get for your sir.

I saw right there it was gona be a hard time doing business with these people, but it’s Christmas Eve so I decided to take the time. I said look, don’t make me park my car and come in there to put  two eyes on you for not saying Merry Christmas to me this morning. The little box said, in a trembling voice, “Merry Christmas”. I said “coffee, black, that’s all” The little box said “that’s $1.07 pull up to the next window”. I said “what did you forget to say”. The little box said “Merry Christmas” I went to the next window.

An adult male was in charge of the collection of the money that Christmas Eve Morning at McDonalds, right there on the north edge of the town of Westville Indiana, on the east side of U.S. Hwy 421, right there  along the way. As Mr. Lincoln pulled up to the second little window that seems to open by magic, a smiling face said “Happy Holidays”. I said “well here’s the deal bud, the kid back there told me that I owe ya $1.07 for the coffee. If ya want the money all ya have to do is say Merry Christmas”.

This fellow  was so shocked you’d thought I just peed on this boot and he said “sir, we’re not allowed to say Merry Christmas, it’s a corporate decision and I just work here”.  So I decided to up the stakes a notch with this fellow, and with my left hand firmly holding a dollar bill and a quarter with my thumb and index finger outside my window, I  said “did ya ever hear that part ‘bout hell freezing over?” And with that said, I turned off the engine and started the set in demonstration for Merry Christmas. Me and Mr. Lincoln sat in silence. It appeared from, his facial expression, his other boot had just been soiled.

With a faint smile he whispered “Merry Christmas”. That’s when I removed one of my hearing aids, held it up for him to see and said “I can’t hear you very well”. The second Merry Christmas was sincere. I reached him the money and as he reached me the change he said “Merry Christmas Mr. you’ve made my day, pull up to the next window and thank you”.

The third and final stop in the journey for the McCoffee was just two car lengths ahead of me and I almost thought I’d grab the coffee and go. But that thought came from the  bad angel on my shoulder who just happen to be a happy holiday angel from hell.  And once again a little magic window just pops open, an adult lady reaches out my coffee through the little window and with a smile ya could see a mile says “Merry Christmas and Good Morning Sir” I must have been the one looking dumbfounded, ‘cause she grinned and said “he told me you’re coming, and he said for me to tell you  thank you again, and Merry Christmas again”. The whole McDonalds episode start to finish couldn’t have been more than four or five minutes if that long, but it sure made my Christmas Eve Morning start out right, and the day just got better from there.

After all, we’re talking Jesus’ birthday here, it’s not some stupid man made up reason to have a party, or another  three day weekend. Some things in life ya just don’t mess with, Super Man’s Cape, Christmas and Easter are  three that come to mind right off the bat.

It was fun drinking coffee as I drove to Grand Central that Christmas Eve Morning, thinking ‘bout the story those employees at McDonalds there at Westville were going to tell, and oh sure, they’re gona tell the story. Ya just don’t get involved with stuff like that and not live to tell the story to somebody. Merry Christmas McDonalds at Westville.

No sooner I arrive back in North Judson than I’m loading 16 chickens that have been smoking while I’m running to Michigan City. The chickens are for deliver to Bubs BBQ  in Demotte. Leaving Bubs BBQ at ‘bout 11:30, I remember that it’s Friday and Johnny and I have our usual Friday lunch date with my mama, and today I’ve invited a guest to meet my mama, a  friend of mine, Indiana State Senator Ed Charbonneau.

Actually I was introduced to Senator Charbonneau by Sophia the Republican Cat. Seems they share some political points of view, from time to time. And the cat’s always in the cradle.  Now I find myself 45 minutes from Toto and I’ve invited a guest to lunch with mama, Johnny and I.  I call Johnny on the cell phone and explain he will have to go pick up mama and entertain both Ed and Mama till I get there. One thing ‘bout Johnny, he can entertain.

By the time I got to downtown Toto all introductions had been made and the table conversation was underway. It was a pleasant lunch and afterwards Ed asked Mama is she liked chocolates. Mama said I’m a chocoholic. Ed went out, returned, and presented Mama with a box Whitman Samplers  where upon I accused him of trying to buy my Mamas vote. Mama told Ed she’d voted in every election since she was 21. Mama’s 89 and still voting.

We all laughed when Mama said “I don’t change my politics very much unless I know the person”. She looked Ed in the eye and said “the next time I see your name on the ballot I’ll probably remember the chocolate”. Ed and my Mama parted friends, after we all had lunch that Christmas Eve in downtown Toto.

One of the things I must clarify here, even though I’ve mentioned both Sophia the Republican Cat and Senator Ed Charbonneau in the same paragraph, I don’t want to infer the Senator shares any of Sophia’s extreme conservative points of view on any matters. Although Sophia did tell me Senator Charbonneau  emailed her and asked to see her autographed picture of Herbert Hoover.  Birds of a feather.

We, as a Family of Howards, go to Mass on Christmas Eve, and so we did again this year. One the good things ‘bout going to Mass on Christmas on Easter is ya get to see all the Christmas and Easter Catholics. Now don’t misunderstand here, I’m not making judgment,  I just saying it’s kinda  sad, ‘cause there’s more to the program than two days a year. When will we ever learn?

Toys and Christmas are like peas and carrots, they just go together. All toys are precious, if not in value, then much more so in memory. I remember a special toy, a homemade slingshot my dad made for me the first Christmas after the Pop Bottle Wars of Toto, such a special toy, I wish I had it still. Today I play with toys that couldn’t even be dreamed about by Leonardo De Vinci. Toys of the computer age, the very young computer age. Wish I was 21 so I could see where computers would go in the next 50 years. But I’ll know, I’ll just know. 

A laptop computer sets on my knee that has many times more computing ability than those used to put the first man on the moon. I hold in my hand a device that won’t allow ya to get lost, it just won’t, no matter what, even if ya wanta  get lost, ya can’t, the GPS won’t let ya. Even if I shut it off, the very next time I turn it back on, it tells me right where I’m at. Even my telescopes are now controlled by the laptop.

Ya know those cameras / video machines, those little things ‘bout half the size of your hand, yah those kind.  Well I thought it was neat to take lots of pictures, remove the little memory chip and insert the chip into the computer and put the pictures into the computer. Turns out that’s old hat now. My son, RJ, got me a different kinda chip, ya just replace the one in the camera and ya never have to take it back out and insert into the computer. The pictures just go into the computer by themselves. I don’t know how they do that, I think they just sneak out and jump in the computer or something like that.

  I got neat toys for Christmas.

As I’m sitting here with Sophia asleep on the back of my chair, the 2girldogs curled up on their couches, and by the glow of the new laptop screen, with  the warm output the little Eden Air Infrared Heather, I’m so enjoying this beautiful sound of silence. This Silent Night, this Holey Night, all is well in this East Wing tonight.  

Your company this Christmas Evening has, as always, made our day. We thank you for coming to visit.

Stay safe in Afghanistan.

From the East Wing, Merry Christmas at McDonalds, Lunch at Toto, Boy Toys. The Sound of Silence

I wish you well.