Column: "Two Cents' Worth": Celebrating has always been a major inconvenience

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

by E. Alan Long

Well, the holidays are over, and I, for one, am glad.

Call me a curmudgeon, or Scrooge, if you will, but I have never been comfortable acting like I am just overjoyed and full of good feeling for my fellow man just because it is a certain day on the calendar. I call that kind of behavior "forced fun," and to me it's no fun at all.

It's not that I don't like people, and it's not that I don't appreciate the meaning of the holidays. I've never been particularly demonstrative.

And don't tell me to loosen up with a good drink. I am capable of feeling just fine without chemical enhancement. Besides ---- trust me ---- if I ever started drinking, no one in Carroll County would have enough.

Part of my lack of enthusiasm can probably be traced to my upbringing. I grew up on a very diversified farm, and in the first 20 years of my life, more often than not, Christmas and New Year's Day started with hauling hay and chopping ice for the cattle. The poultry houses, of course, had to be checked at least four times a day, and more often than that if the weather was warming up, or cooling down, or windy, or still. So, even on Christmas Day, the holiday was catch as catch can.

And, as far as Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve were concerned, well those were not holidays, even though I was out of school. The regular winter work day, six days a week, was spent climbing and pruning apple trees, a job that ran from the time the sap fell to the end of January, provided the weather was good.

Becoming a newspaper journalist really did not change the scenario much. Newspapers come out regularly, and there is always a paper to fill, regardless of what is, or is not, going on. Oh, we reporters generally get off on the holiday itself, but we always wind up having to crank out the full volume of stories and photos. The real rub is that we have one less day to do it all in.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the season, especially the musical aspect of it. I do my share of singing for church and community. But please, don't lay a guilt trip on me if I just want to take it easy and bask in everyone else's enjoyment.

Too much celebrating can just be darn inconvenient.

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