Down East 2013 ©
Get this folks: in Maine, it’s illegal to have your Christmas decorations up after January 14th. Really! And you could be fined for doing so! This was the buzz going ‘round the A&P last week, so I checked it out on the Internet, and apparently it’s true. Not that you can believe everything you read on the ‘net. Still, I found it on more than one site (there are several) dedicated to “dumb laws.”
True or not, I don’t find this notion dumb at all. Christmas is over. New Years, too. Time to move on, people! The days are getting longer. Valentine’s Day’s less than a month away, then St. Patty’s, then a good six weeks of mud season, then spring. January’s one long, cold month here in the north country, and we need all the help we can get to keep our morale up. That may be the reason some of you are reluctant to part with ol’ smiling St. Nick. But it’s hard for me to visualize crocuses poking their little green heads up out of the ground if there’s a giant, half-inflated snow globe in the way.
I am prepared to be flexible, here. You can keep your wreaths up. I’m over mine, but that’s a personal taste issue. Go ahead, enjoy your wreaths ‘til Groundhog’s Day. But that’s it! Groundhog’s Day’s the cut off for anything that smacks remotely of last December.
I know people think the groundhog is afraid of his shadow, and that’s why, if he sees it, he scurries back down his burrow for another six weeks of winter. But that’s just an old wives tale.
The truth of the matter is, the groundhog is a responsible little bugger, and he takes his job seriously. Too seriously, perhaps. He spends months getting psyched up, telling himself, “I need to be tough this year, not overreact. These people are desperate for winter to be over, and they’re depending on me to hold the line; to venture boldly out into the world, and not turn back.”
Then the big day arrives. He pokes his head up out of the ground, and what does he see? Santa, his sleigh and eight friggin’ reindeer. And of course, it scares the bejesus out of him and he hightails it back down his burrow. Then, once he gets over the shock, the poor little fella starts beating himself up about it, thinking he got the date wrong. Bing, bang, boom, that negative self talk lands him back in therapy for another year.
Folks, don’t let this happen to a groundhog near you. Do your bit for these skittish little creatures. Take your decorations down, and encourage your neighbors to do the same. Heck, you can organize a tree and wreath-burning bonfire. Make it a community event, with a potluck and hot cocoa.
Or how ‘bout this: if it’s March, say, and your neighbors still have their stuff up, sneak over in the middle of the night, and take it down! All of it: the brown wreaths, the icicle lights, Santa. Pack it up all nice and leave it by the garage door. I’ve never done such a thing of course, but let me tell you, I’ve fantasized about it.
So, let’s give Christmas the old heave-ho ‘til next year, what do you say? After all, it’s the law! Or should be.
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flipside.
Listen to the podcast here .