SYRACUSE, Ind. -- Thanksgiving is over, and as is our usual Make=
My Day tradition, we are reprinting Erik's "'Twas the Month Before Chr=
istmas" column to decry (that's fancy writer talk for "whine and complain a=
bout") the fact that three weeks before Thanksgiving, most retail stores we=
re already playing Christmas music and putting up Christmas decorations. =
Nothing says "Peace On Earth" like hearing "Grandma Got Run Over By a Re=
indeer" in the middle of October.
'Twas six weeks before Christmas, and all through the town
Hallowe'en decorations were just coming down.
I went to the mall, for a weekend reprieve
And saw such a sight that I could not believe.
The place had gone crazy, the mall was just packed.
With new clothes and new toys and cheap plastic sacks
The store owners were praying and pulling their hair,
Desperately hoping we'd spend money there.
When in one of the stores there arose such a clatter
I thought to myself "Now what's the matter?"
Away toward the noise the crowd flew in a mass
And knocked an old woman right on her butt.
The cheesy green lights and the canned Christmas music
Made me realize not a darn thing rhymes with "music"
What I saw next made me scream and turn pale:
A red and green sign said "We're having a sale!"
With a perky sales clerk, so cheerful and quick
I knew in a flash I was gonna be sick!
She herded us in like sheep to the slaughter,
"Come in and buy things for your sons and your daughters!
We take Visa and Mastercard and Discover!" she chimed.
"American Express, credit cards of all kind!
From the back of the store, all the way to the front
Everything is on sale, there is no need to hunt!"
With the power and fury of an 8 point earthquake
The people were drawn in like a fat guy to cake
And into the store, that crowd it just flew
But what they were after, I hadn't a clue.
And then with a shudder, I heard behind me.
The ear-piercing scream of a child, age three
He gave a shrill shriek that would curl your hair
He yelled at his parents, "Hey let's go in there!"
"I see lots of games and toys," yelled the runt
"Why can't we go in there and get what I want?!"
I looked at the parents, all haggard and worn.
Their faces were bruised, their clothes, they were torn.
Their eyes, how they drooped. Their coats were all muddy.
She was missing her shoes, his nose -- it was bloody.
He clung to his wallet, she clutched at her purse.
They tried not to explode as they held back a curse.
"You've got enough stuff already," the two parents said.
But the child just screamed and cried and turned red.
"What's the matter?" I asked, though I wished I had not.
They said "You can guess at the problem we've got."
"We're shopping for Christmas, for family and friends,
But it seems like this madness goes on without end."
"We've been here since morning, looking for sales.
But we've spent too much money. We feel like we've failed.
Credit cards, debit cards, checkbooks and cash --
It's only November, and our budget has crashed."
Then the child came running up, shouting with glee,
"Hey, I found something! Please, come with me."
And I heard them exclaim, as they left with a grunt,
"Merry Christmas to you, though it's not 'til next nonth." =
Copyright 2006 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.