31 OCT 05: THE HOLIDAYS RUSHED
It's October 31, and you know what that means. Your office pool can begin, for when WGSY "Sunny 100 FM" will start playing nothing but Christmas music.
A Christmas attitude already seems to be taking over parts of Columbus, even before Halloween. In fact, I was a bit surprised when I jogged past the downtown "Spooktacular" over the weekend - because no one wore a Santa Claus costume.
The blending of holidays has been going on in Columbus for several years. Once again over the weekend, the Trade Center hosted "Christmas Made in the South" - in late October. But come to think of it, they had that "Deer Expo" in the middle of summer.
The creeping advance of Christmas moved to the Riverwalk this year. Holiday wreaths were up in the downtown Columbus section Friday. Unless they're up for football quarterbacks to hold passing drills....
Some news reports claim major retailers are starting Christmas holiday promotions early this year. Well, not really. I remember one year in the 1990's when the Macy's store in downtown Atlanta brought out the pine trees less than a week after Labor Day. Greenery and greenbacks must somehow be connected.
(Then there was my Hawaiian vacation in 1988 - where the only shopping mall on the island of Kauai had a Christmas tree up on October 3. But then, they can't really display changing autumn leaves there....)
Some people might not mind Christmas crowding out Halloween -- especially if they consider Halloween a day for celebrating the devil. But the local churches holding alternative "Fall Festivals" tonight probably won't stoop to singing carols on the sidewalk.
Which reminds me: why is it that the Columbus area has two high schools with "devil" nicknames -- Columbus High and Phenix City Central? This is supposed to be SUCH a Bible-loving city, after all. Were the public schools full of left-wing atheists even before Madalyn Murray O'Hair came along?
I'm tempted to borrow from the classics here, and declare "a plague on both your houses." While we shouldn't honor the devil, there's no solid proof that Jesus was born December 25. It's all enough to make me wish Lonnie Jackson held his Veteran's Day celebration every October 31, instead.
Keeping with a long personal custom, I'll get out of the house before the trick-or-treat crowd shows up for Halloween. After all, enough beggars looking for free food cross my path the rest of the year - and they're homeless grownups.
(Did you hear the National Public Radio commentary two weeks ago from Detroit? People in a low-income neighborhood there cross a street into a wealthy neighborhood for Halloween handouts -- people of ALL ages. It only shows how the day subtly reinforces socialism.)
The challenge is to find a place which is NOT celebrating Halloween. Columbus State University has an event in its gym. Local libraries tend to have costume parties, as do malls. Some years, I've actually gone to work and cleaned out computer files for free to escape it all.
There's only one redeeming thing for me about holidays such as Halloween - and longtime blog readers already know what that is. Come Tuesday, chocolate will be on sale in stores for half-price. Sweets are much sweeter when there's more money in your bank account....
Now a quick review of other things we noticed, on a Sunday when the sun set early for some strange reason:
+ The first Hindu temple in Columbus held its grand opening. Apparently no Christian groups in this "Bible Belt" city protested this - but they might have a secret weapon. The "Strength Team" arrives at Cascade Hills Church this week, and they can knock that temple down with a few blows.
+ The "Morning of Praise" telecast from Fourth Street Baptist Church showed Pastor J.H. Flakes declaring "Columbus is not healed" - and suggesting it's because his members don't attend Wednesday night prayer meetings. There, you see? At least one African-American minister DOES blame his own....
+ The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance held a fund-raising concert at the Civic Center, for survivors of Hurricane Katrina. The alliance finally may be moving on from the Kenneth Walker case - at least until the civil trial starts.
+ Russell County High School baseball coach Tony Rasmus confessed to the Ledger-Enquirer he used steroids while in junior college two decades ago. But Rasmus says he does NOT let his children use them - and perhaps just as notably, Rasmus did not announce he's now a homosexual.
+ Carl Edwards won the NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In fact, he won both Nextel Cup races there this year - and what's more amazing, he did it with different sponsor logos on his hood. [True!]
(The race Carl Edwards won Sunday was the "Bass Pro Shops - MBNA 500." You almost expected to see a TV fishing host put a credit card on a hook, and throw it in a lake.)
+ Instant Message to the owner of the Chevron station along U.S. 280 in Cusseta: Your gas price is still ten cents higher than the Liberty station one mile north. How many desperate drivers from Albany still are getting suckered by you?
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