Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Do you think this is the most wonderful time of the year? Me neither!
It's dark. It's cold. The traffic is terrible. And it's hard not to overspend when the too-loud Xmas carols mess with your mind.
I've always said that I could gladly go from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve without stopping for Xmas at all.
Well, problem with that, these days, is that I would miss crucial Mummers practices, mid-month and toward New Year's Eve. So I've become reconciled to the whole Christmas season.
Today Mr. J and I bravely sallied forth to obtain foodstuffs for the holiday feasting. We went to this behemoth of a store called Wegman's. The thing about Wegman's is that they have a lot of stuff that is partially prepared, and all you have to do is bung it into the oven and set the timer. That's my kind of cooking.
Trouble is, that's the kind of cooking that appeals to most people. For the love of fruit flies, that place was packed! It was shopping cart gridlock. Every aisle was impassible. Gods forbid you had to stop and look at something, because you would start a huge bottleneck. Damned good thing that shopping carts don't have horns on them! It would have been honk heaven in there.
After an hour or more of wrestling our way through the store, Mr. J and I had a modest cartful of groceries. We took our place in one of the long lines by a cash register. Then Mr. J went to look for another item. I was on my own, and in my usual friendly Appalachian way, I just started talking to everyone around me.
First I told the checker, "I think you're lucky to be working here. This company is really going gangbusters."
He said, "Yeah, we're doing pretty well."
I said, "Now, the guys at the top might tell you otherwise, but don't believe it. I know success when I see it."
Then he rang up my total, and it was the highest price I have ever paid in a grocery store. My jaw dropped. I gasped. Mr. J walked up, and I tried to shield him from the bottom line.
That's when it got funny. The guy behind me in line, seeing my dismay, started singing, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." He looked at me and laughed and said, "Aren't you glad it only happens once a year?"
And I said, "Well, I don't know about you, but my family is going to be like the Waltons -- living on love until the end of January."
All of us cracked up. The checker, the other customer, me, and even Mr. J. Then Mr. J and I brought home our modest-in-size, maxed-in-price haul, and I'm set to do some mild cooking.
Wegman's has good groceries, but the real reason to go there is that they consistently stock TaB cola. I paid dearly for needing that today.
Happy Saturnalia! Once a year ... and that's enough.