Friday Five (Vol. 12)

— 1 —

It’s that time of year: the annual Christmas program at our parish elementary school. It is also the time that finds my wife and I asking (sighing) that eternal question: “Will this be the year?” What we are referring to is whether or not this will be the year one of our children finally does more than stand there with his/her classmates and look miserable. Or, as I often put it, like Al Gore. Stiff. Disinterested. Bored. Surrounded by classmates who are a mixed bag. There’s the extroverts who take it to a whole other level by dancing around as if they haven’t gone to the bathroom for a week and are desperately holding it in while shouting the song lyrics off-key. There are the angels who perform as directed, standing still one moment and doing some symbolic choreography the next. And then there are my kids. My oldest is in high school now and to his eternal relief free of that hell on earth, but my second grader soldiers on. There is hope as he’s not totally stiff. He sways a little from side to side and does mouth the words a little.

And then there’s our preschool-aged daughter. A born performer it seems. She sings a lot to herself while playing and has been caught on more than one occasion belting out the lyrics to “Sweet Home Alabama” while jamming on her older brother’s Paper Jams guitar. In fairness, both boys sang to themselves a little, too, but the bright lights and cramped risers will paralyze the best of us at a young age, so we’ll see how she does in a few weeks. Stay tuned.

— 2 —

(To the tune of itsy bitsy spider)

The little baby Jesus
Was born upon the hay.
God sent an angel
Sending shepherds on their way.
Out came a bright star
For wise men & their gold.
And that is the greatest
story ever told.

*This catchy tune brought to you by my daughter. She’s practicing for the big night. Hopefully she doesn’t start “singin’ songs about the Southland” and “missing Alabama once again.” Though I do admit that would be awesome.

— 3 —

Hopefully everyone had a good Thanksgiving. We spent it on the farm with my wife’s family and ate too much. Or maybe it just seemed that way as I never left the house and watched football and read between meals. My oldest brother-in-law, home from Dallas, and I made a coffee run by driving 20 minutes into Hastings because we’re addicts. The closest Starbucks was 40 minutes away in Grand Island, and while we debated it, we decided we needed to be back in time for the 11am kickoff for the Nebraska/Iowa football game and so we demurred.

— 4 —

What we didn’t see so much but looked for were the crazed “Black Friday” shoppers. Honestly people, isn’t it about time we took a long, hard look in the mirror and consider what we’ve become? I realize the media will push the more extreme incidents, but still…pepper spray? A new phrase has entered our Orwellian lexicon here in America: competitive shopping.

I’m disappointed that I didn’t save the link, but the first report I’d read last Friday of the insanity was posted on Drudge and contained the following phrase after reporting on the pepper spraying incident:

But the life-giving cycle of consumerism continued as shoppers continued once the store was cleared and re-opened.

Life giving? I read it a few times to see if the reporter was being sarcastic in their disgust (which I suspect he/she was), but was still taken aback by it.

My favorite report came from brutallyhonest.org:

My 9 year old daughter [Grace] wanted to see what all the hype was about shopping on Black Friday. She begged my wife to take her, so my wife decided to take her a little later than most. They left the house about 6:30-ish this morning to meet up with some family that had been out shopping all night. My daughter just called me and I asked what she thought about all the Black Friday shopping and this was her response:

“This is a bunch of old women that need to go home and take a nap because they’re just cranky and rude.”

Much needed wisdom from the mouths of babes. Beautiful.

— 5 —

I got a little windy this week and normally would have used a few of the above items as independent blogs. The daily Advent series is keeping me busy though, so I hope you don’t mind. Over the weekend one of my favorites “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” on television and I turned it on just in time for one of my favorite moments. I’ll close with it this week to cleanse the palate after all of the competitive shopping.

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