I think that I shall never see
a sight more forlorn than an old Christmas tree
Sitting on the curb… not green, but brown
waiting to be picked up by the town.

Well, that’s the holiday season. Kill the lights, strike the decorations. That’s a wrap, folks. 

All we’ve got now to look at is weather, and none of it good. Between now and spring time… we here in Rochester have got several weeks… around 3 and a half months… of some of the nastiest winter weather for several hundred miles around. (Sigh) Well, we won’t be going out much for a while, I guess. There’s a lot to do around the house, though, so we won’t exactly be doing nothing… but it’s a sure bet we’ll be stir- crazy by springtime, if the usual holds true. No wonder depression gets going after the Holidays.

Saturday, New Year’s day, was a day of recovery from Friday night; which, of course was New Year’s eve.  No, we didn’t even have a drink On New Year’s eve.  Not by particular choice, mind, but it works out that way when you celebrate the New Year as we’ve been doing the last few years…. On the road… as I’ve described to you last week.  But, the time factors still fouled us up pretty badly. We got home very late indeed. By the time we’d slept our fill and got up again, it was after noon, which basically trashed the day. Jet lag, without the jet, is what a friend calls it, and I guess that’s as good a description as any.

(Shrug) It’s OK. No place to go anyway on New Year’s day… everything’s closed. We spent the day taking down the Christmas stuff. Now, usually, we wait until the 6th of January, which is the day tradition considers that the Wise men visited the birthplace of the Lord. This year, we didn’t, since we’re supposed to get some freezing rain at least, if not snow, during the week. Upwards of 6 inches in fact… followed by rain… likely, freezing rain. We’ve been caught out a few times like that and were unable to removed the decorations… lights, particularly, until spring, by which time, none of them worked anymore. The ice gets to ’em. This ran into a rather largish bill come fall, to replace all the lights.  This year, we decided to avoid that problem, by taking them down as the weather allowed us.

Which of course means that there’s a decided lack of lights outside now… (Twice I’ve caught myself going out to the garage at dusk to turn on the lights that aren’t up anymore…. duuuuhhhh) It also means there’s a smallish looking pine tree at the curb. That’s such a sad sight. That sight has often caused me to wonder if there wasn’t a way we could get a potted pine tree, that lived in the living room year round. We could decorate the thing in season… and the cats could use it as a scratching post, and a high perch to launch attacks against their hapless human victims the rest of the year.

No, I guess that doesn’t work, does it?

The image of a cut down tree aside, removing the decorations is always been a bit of a sad occasion for us. I don’t know as this will describe why for you, but I’ll try.  See, I’ve played several hundred wedding receptions over the 20 years I was doing them, and a few dozen more office/group parties, and bunches of charity events. At the end of each one I was faced with the task of tearing down the show… which is my least favorite thing to do. Not the physical aspects of the job… which were formidable, given the equipment… but also the aspect that the celebration is over.

Melenie Safka, some years ago did a pretty fair description of the feeling, with a song she did on her first album, back in… what, 71 or 72, I think…

What do you do when the people go home
and what do you do when the show is all done
I know what I’ll do in the alone of my time
but what will I do with the leftover wine?

Jackson Browne expressed that feeling as

“..the sound of slamming doors and folding chairs…and that’s a sound they’ll never know”

There is always, at the end of any celebration… if you’re performing or not, some leftover celebration that doesn’t get the chance to come out.. and a feeling of letdown. I guess that the decorations going away signals the end of the celebration. It’s the biggest party of the year in the whole of the western world… so, I suppose it shouldn’t be a big shock that the biggest of letdowns is therefore attached to it… The higher the top, the farther the drop, as the saying goes.

It really shouldn’t be so… Christmas is supposed to last all year for those who understand the Christmas promise and have accepted it.  But still, it can’t be denied that Christmas is a special time, even if the promise doesn’t go away when the season itself does, and that the end of that season is a bit of a letdown.

(I’ve been looking for an excuse to promote a favorite of mine.. Doctor Fun)

I even noticed a similar situation here at work; You’ll recall I wrote about the decorations going up, and how that was kind of a landmark in time. The reverse apparently, holds true for that, as well. It’s a rather depressing landmark in time to see them take it down. Usually, given the size of the tree…(35-40 ft) they tend to use a chainsaw to take it down. They were doing this today. It rather made me consider and be sad about the passage of the season, and of time. I guess I still qualify as human, huh?

One bright spot.. as soon as the guy cutting up the tree with his chainsaw was done, someone at the other end of the big area here in the Mall piped up with a little Monty Python…. “He’s a lumberjack and he’s OK”….  to peels of laughter from the remaining workers.

But, anyway, that’s done for another year. See ya, Santa.

In answer to some E-mails…. and as I mentioned on BitsBlog last week, The American side of the falls had no fireworks display at all, this year. In all honesty, I was only slightly disappointed by that lack. I’ve long since begun to think that the New York side isn’t interested in trying to upstage the Canadian side, in this. It’s sad; the NY side of Niagara Falls has been a long-running joke. Even the display I wrote about… a few years ago… and posted last week, was a bit less on the American side. The Canadians can’t claim they’ve upstaged us in much of anything of late… except the ‘Falls. Seems they do know how to establish and maintain a tourist trap. (Shrug)

I was right last week, by the way; Goat Island was still closed… I did, however get a bright note about that; Turns out it’s closed only to cars and trucks, according, at least to a park cop I spoke to. You can, I’m told, find a place to park on the mainland and hike over to the Island… an interesting notion. My younger boy is still too young for that long a hike, though. So, this year, we parked in the parking lot directly across from the Hard Rock Cafe on the American side (Which they were not charging for, thankfully… I didn’t bring the cash)

Oh, well. We had a good time, though.  My younger boy in particular thought it was the best fireworks show he could remember. Which is likely true, given he has trouble remembering we were here last week, much less last year. It amazes me how much he’s grown, though.

We did have a spot of worry getting to the Falls. My van’s out of commission for the moment… (broken window, which oughta cost me around $150 or so…) so we ended up taking my wife’s SUV, an Escape. Nice little rig, that, but by no means is it really meant for over the road use. Fuel mileage is about what the van gets, but it doesn’t do so well in the wind.

And windy it was…. we spent the trip out there, driving directly into a headwind of about 40 mph, at times. We gave serious consideration to the idea that given the wind, they might not have the show at all. We needn’t have worried. Not only did the winds die down a bit, but the show was better than usual. Fireworks displays try to make use of a smoke background to draw their light against… much as an artist on a canvas.  One concern in such windy conditions is that the smoke will be cleared as soon as it gets into the sky.  As I said, I needn’t have been concerned. Turns out the river gorge is an ideal place for a display even in the wind. The smoke got so heavy, we couldn’t make out the Skylon from where we were standing at the end of the show.

When the show was over, we went back home, without bothering to stop, this year. (Do not pass flying J, do not collect dinner, do not spend $200.) We were all rather tired, and had a late dinner anyway, so we weren’t really hungry. So, it was jump in the Escape, drive to the Falls see the show, drive back. I can’t imagine doing that kind of driving for any other fireworks show… but then again, I can’t imagine not doing so for this particular show, either. And the boys had a great time, so did my wife, so it was still well worth the $20 or so I invested in fuel.

But now, it’s all done. Thanksgiving to New Year’s… the span of time we usually refer to as the “Holiday Season’ is gone.

Football season’s gone… My Bills missed the playoffs by one game… far better than most people, myself included, figured they’d do… so next year ought to be a pretty fair season, barring unforseens… so other than a marginal bit of interest in the playoffs, and the super bowl, football season’s done…. As I suggested a few weeks ago, I couldn’t care less about the NBA if you paid me to care less.  Hockey is out, given the strike.

It’s going to be a long wait, I think, before I can plan on anything outside again. Yes, I guess technically, it’s true… the days are getting longer… at the abysmal rate of about a minute per day, at this point. It’s still dark and drab out, even during much of the daytime.  Sunup at around 7, sundown at around 5, means I drive into work, and drive home from work, in the dark, never seeing the sunshine, except on weekends. No wonder I kill my truck battery. The lights are always running!

Welcome to Mid-winter, in Western NY.

So, my big thing between now and when spring decides to show up, is simply keeping warm, working on my home network systems, which I’m building up again… and doing some things around the house… inside.

Hmmm. Maybe it’s time to deal with those nasty little website issues…..