A rose by any other name

Saturday December 9, 2006

It’s been a tough week in the little old town house in the West, and no mistake. Well, perhaps ‘tough’ is not truly justified. ‘Tightly scheduled’ is, though, and that’s very close to ‘tough’ in my book. Let’s leave it at ‘tough’.

Each day since Monday Graham has needed to be lifted to and from St Audries, where he’s been doing bar duty at a series of Christmas lunch-and-dance events. My common practice on these days is to call in at the supermarket in on the return leg of a morning, which means that when I’m home from that errand I have nothing to do but stow my goodies away and put my feet up. And we all know what happens when I put my feet up until the time rolls round when I have to go fetch him home again. All that sleeping is darned hard work.

Added to my duties as chauffeur has been the fitting of my new dentures and the subsequent exploration and familiarisation I’ve undertaken with them. Oh, and one day of Christmas shopping.

Next week will be less arduous, with fewer trips to St Audries, but that slight reduction will be more than balanced out as the pace of shopping trips picks up.

I reckon that by the time Christmas comes along I’ll be ready for a few days of easy living and gentle festivity.

I count that as three times I’ve used the word ‘Christmas’ already here. Have you noticed that it’s almost illegal to say ‘Christmas’ any more? The closest you can get to it is to use that horrid evasion: ‘The Holidays’. And you can’t say ‘Merry Christmas’, either. Has to be ‘Happy Holidays’ or, at most ‘Season’s Greetings’ if you’re not to risk immediate arrest on a charge of political incorrectness.

Well, soddit. I’m not going to let my heritage and my culture be watered down, diluted and washed away like that. I shall continue to say ‘Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year’, and to wish everyone ‘Peace on Earth, Good Will to All Men’ and anyone who says I’m wrong so to do is liable to be chased down the street by an elderly poet waving his stick in the air in a threatening manner.

I know full well that Christmas overlaps with other religious festivals and holidays. I honour them. I’d celebrate them, too, if I knew how, and I invite their adherents to share in my Christmas. I know that many people shun religion altogether; they are welcome, too. I try to be sensitive on all these issues, so far as good sense indicates.

I will not throw my own roots away in the interests of political correctness, however, still less allow myself to grow to be ashamed of them. I was a wide-eyed little boy at Christmas during a time when the forces of evil were doing their utmost to destroy everything that was good in the world. I was taught to say ‘Merry Christmas’ then, and I say it still. That little boy thought that ‘Happy Holidays’ were what you do in the summer when the sun is hot and dry sand tickles bare toes. And so do I.



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