Editor Column: A reason for the season
It is seldom a good feeling when you become part of something you loathe or at the very least mock. Yet, that is what happened on Thanksgiving when I found myself ducking and dodging through the hoard of people at Wal-Mart to get my hands on a new camera.
Aside from feeling like an idiot after discovering — panting from my rush to get to the back of the store — there was still a waist-high stack of my desired item, it was ironic that I was in the store in the first place.
Two years ago a buddy and I went to a Wal-Mart, hours after finishing our holiday feast, to gaze at the people pushing carts with flat screen TVs, video game consoles and other items. It was strictly entertainment. (If I remember correctly, I didn’t even have my wallet on me.) While it wasn’t the spectacle we had hoped for, we still got a chuckle at watching American consumerism in its finest hour.
This memory popped in and out of my head on Thanksgiving while waiting in the check-out lane, which proved to be a more time consuming undertaking than actually navigating the store.
The tie between consumerism and the holiday season is not a revelation — it’s reality. Growing up in a Catholic family, Christmas for me always was more about the gifts under the tree than the birth of Christ. With age, the day and season became more about time off than gifts. Aside from my new camera, nothing comes to mind when I try to think of a “want,” although sleep sure sounds good.
I was reminded last Friday, though, about why this time of year is, or at least can be, so special. I was in Salida with my girlfriend — it was my weekend to make what is turning into an increasingly perilous trip over Battle Mountain Pass and Tennessee Pass — which meant I was in town for the annual Parade of Lights.
Before embarking on my trip, she apologized for having to participate in the parade, and for signing me up to participate as well.
I replied with, “are you kidding?”
The parade, I informed her, is a spectacular event. Hundreds of people line both sides of the street, and they hang around for the lighting of Tenderfoot Mountain, which overlooks downtown.
Although I had only been in town for roughly three months prior to my first Parade of Lights, I knew many of the faces in the crowd and the ones I didn’t know were smiling. It’s ccliché to say an emotion was palpable, but the sense of hometown pride that day came through loud and clear, and it made me happy to be a part of the community.
This past Friday did not disappoint — albeit I lost feeling in both my hands for a short time — and afterward the girlfriend remarked about how much fun she had.
I responded with a boastful, “ I told you.”
Now, with another holiday season and a relatively new hometown, which I have come to love, I must admit I am excited for the approaching Hometown Holiday Celebration. The event is young, only in its second year, but those working behind the scenes were genuinely surprised at how the event went in its first year.
Having never experience the celebration, I don’t fully know what I’m in store for, but if it’s anything like what those organizers expect, then I know I won’t be disappointed. Because in this season defined by gifts and decorations, that hometown pride I experienced last year was a fantastic feeling — one I would trade my new camera to experience again.
Ryan Hoffman is editor of The Citizen Telegram. He can be reached at 970-685-2103 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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