Friday, December 22, 2006

When Bearded Men Fly With Mysterious Packages

My aunt and uncle own a year-round Christmas store in Smithfield, VA. On that side of the family, we don't call certain garments "Christmas sweaters," "Christmas sweatshirts," or "Christmas socks." They're just called "clothes."

When I was growing up, it was not unusual to see five fully decorated Christmas trees at Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Elaine's house. In August. Right after Thanksgiving, the ranks swelled to as many as eight or ten fully decorated trees. And by fully decorated, I mean: no visible green on the tree whatsoever.

There has always been one tree thematically dedicated entirely to pork as a concept -- lots of pigs wearing chef's hats, ham ornaments, what have you. There's another devoted to fishing and the sea, and my favorite -- the catchall that has every crazy, animated windup ornament ever invented. There's a small globe that simulates popping corn, another containing little tiny plastic kids skating on a frozen pond and the ornament that means Christmas the most to me: a small diorama of the original 'Star Trek' cast, complete with orbiting Enterprise.

How the crew manages to be seated on the bridge while the very ship they are on orbits their heads remains a mystery to me, but hey -- it's Christmas and the key to enjoying it is kinda turning your brain off a little.

This piece of decoration melted my synapses a little, though. My aunt and uncle have never been terrifically political people, as near as I can tell. Maybe I 'm wrong here, but then again, we are Southerners, so there are entire worlds of knowledge that we will never, ever discuss in front of each other. It just wouldn't be polite, you see.

We are as likely to talk about politics as we are to share recipes for pot brownies.

However, in my aunt and uncle's foyer, there is a statue of Uncle Sam, looking a lot like an emaciated Boris Karloff. He clutches the American flag in a tight, bony fist. And hanging from that sword -- is Santa Claus' severed head, dangling from a length of golden cord.

Nobody Messes With the 'No-Fly Zone.'

I don't know what that says, exactly, but it sure says SOMETHING. If y'all have any interpretations, drop 'em in the comments ... and Merry Christmas


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