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‘Merry Christmas’ Expresses True Holiday Spirit

by Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, I hope you’re having a good week. I don’t care what ALL those closet atheists in Washington say, I still say Merry Christmas, and I hope all of you do the same.  

This is my favorite time of the year, the hustle and bustle and long lines at check out stations notwithstanding. My shopping consists primarily of going to WalMart for groceries and Stein-Mart for clothes, and I have a general idea what I’m going for.

I don’t wander aimlessly through the aisles, as Nannie Badley used to say, “Like a duck looking for thunder.”

The places I’ve been the people are smiling and you don’t hear talk of hard times. I wish some of that attitude would transfer over to the news media, where all we hear from them is gloom and doom.  

On a recent shopping trip, while walking through the men’s section, a gentleman called out to me, “What are you doing in here?”  

He immediately realized his mistake and said, “I’m sorry, I thought you were a friend of mine.”

 I replied, “I can become one,” and shook hands with him. We chatted a few minutes. Later, I was in a long check out line with a shirt I had found on sale and I remarked to the black lady in front on me, “I guess we should have brought our lunch.”  

She smiled and said, “Since you only have one item get in front of me and by the way I have an extra coupon that will give you an additional 20 percent discount.”  

I thanked her and after we went through the line, we went on our separate ways never to see each other again – but for that brief moment we shared the Christmas spirit. It’s too bad that self-serving politicians and biased journalists can’t share that same spirit.

I remarked to Lupe the other day that this is the first Christmas in 40 years that we don’t have a child in the house.  Of course Shelby visits us a couple of times a week and Teri and Elizabeth drop in from time to time, but it’s not the same as a child in residence. I think that’s what they call the “empty nest syndrome.”

We’ve come a long way with Christmas trees, staring in the days when the only tree was a cedar or pine to now with most families using artificial trees.  The worst artificial trees were the ones that looked like foil, and had a wheel that turned shining different colors into the tree.

Switching gears, I think people over-do it with Santa’s on every corner. I remember that Terri liked to see the Santa, but Jamie, and later Elizabeth and Shelby, wanted nothing to do with Santa.

I always enjoyed having the Clement Moore poem, “The Night Before Christmas” and later reading it myself and reading to my children and grandchildren. It has been around 185 years and I hope it will never go out of style.  I think he more than anyone else created the image we have of Santa today, although he described him as an elf.  

He also mentioned that he smoked a pipe which I’m sure creates a furor with the anti-smoking crowd  – at least I hope it does and this from a non-smoker. I read somewhere that if we followed certain diets and exercised and jogged daily, we might extend our lives four months. Mark Twain said that when he felt the urge to exercise he went in immediately and lay down until the urge passed.  

There was an old gentleman named Fowlkes in Water Valley that the doctor told him if he would stop drinking and smoking he might live another twenty-five years and he replied, “for what?”  Another fine old gentleman that I knew well was Mr. O. T. Tarver and he laughed and said that old age caused him to give up his bad habits but he still lived well into his eighties.  I’m not advocating unhealthy life styles but simply want to observe that these people who talk about what’s bad for us have never come to grips with the absolute fact that all of us are going to die of something.  I’ll stop this rambling this week by thanking all of you for your support over the last nine years and wishing you a very Merry Christmas.  Please note my new email address which is or you can still write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101.

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