My precious, five-year-old granddaughter is taking her kindergarten education seriously.
She spent last weekend at Carroll Castle asking so many questions it made my aging brain ache. Apparently, she wants to know it all before the first grade ,such as why the sky is blue, why water is wet, and who really did let the dogs out.
“Are you old Di-Da?” she asked when the latest episode of TV’s modern “Mickey Mouse Club” paused for a commercial to sell the latest, modern Disney stuff.
“Uh, I guess you could say that August,” I answered.
“Really, really old Di-Da?”
“Why I’m so old August, I remember when Americans used to actually celebrate Thanksgiving.”
“They don’t no more?”
“Let me tell you something about ...”
Before I could utter the next syllable, the dear wife swooped in, grabbed August by the hand and gave me that “get over it and take your soap box somewhere else” look.
Folks in 21st Century America prefer Christmas to Thanksgiving and I am fighting a friendly yet losing battle to reverse the tide, she tells me each November.
Sorry, but I cannot help it, dear readers. I miss the days when Thanksgiving meant something in most American lives besides a few hours break between Christmas shopping excursions.
Thanksgiving remains an important time at Carroll Castle as the dear wife and I share a meal and fellowship with several family members. Why, we are so old fashioned that we say a prayer of thanksgiving before the first fork stabs into a hunk of juicy white turkey breast.
People tease me about my stand for Thanksgiving.
When I complain about Christmas items on store shelves and Noel ads appearing in early September, they remind me businesses need to make most of their profits during the Christmas shopping season, so why not extend the hype a couple of months in an effort to stay in business?
When I cover my ears after hearing the first radio Christmas carol before ghosts, goblins and gremlins have had the opportunity to treat or trick, they often regale me with a lousy a cappella version of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” or the opening lyrics to “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.”
Never mind the fact those in the entertainment field have developed the skill to squeeze in every popular and traditional Christmas song more than five million times each between Thanksgiving night and Dec. 25.
Then nine out of 10 of them make sure to advise me to go with the flow and enjoy Christmas for as long as possible. Some even try to place the Bah Humbug guilt trip on me and accuse yours truly of not yucking it up enough during the Yuletide.
There’s no bigger kid at Christmas time than this guy — just ask my dear wife, the three darling Carroll Children and my two granddaughters — with sugar plums and outtake scenes from the films “Elf” and “A Christmas Story” dancing in my head. I still shake and rattle Christmas packages addressed to me trying to figure out what is inside, and I’m nearly 61.
Pray tell I am the only Hoosier on official FBI record who sits through at least two showings each holiday season of “Ernest Saves Christmas.” If I could find a brave Santa Claus with a large enough lap, I would still be saying my Christmas wish list aloud in public.
I think you get the idea. I enjoy Christmas very much.
But Thanksgiving is just as important to me as well. It always has been from my boyhood in the 1960s when I saw most of my Kentucky relatives only on that Thursday to today’s modest yet respectful affair at Carroll Castle.
There’s something special about taking a break from this plugged in, social media world of ours for at least a few hours on the fourth Thursday each November. You can rest, reflect and thank the Good Lord for all he has blessed you, your family and friends with the past 365 days.
Sure, I will stuff myself at the Thanksgiving table like most Americans and watch a little college football. The most difficult task for me each Thanksgiving is not to nap on my guests after an overdose of mashed potatoes, noodles and turkey L-tryptophan.
The aforementioned habits may not be the most revered of things to do on Thanksgiving, but there is a time and place for everything. Who says you can’t have a little fun before the merry bells start to jingle?
Excuse me now while I put my holiday soap box away.
Not that many folks may notice, but I do want to sincerely wish my readers a joyous and happy Thanksgiving. Take the time to relax, reflect and recharge, since Black Friday is almost upon us.
Doug Carroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.