Let me begin by stating that here in the heartland, it's about 80 degrees today. There's a healthy wind, and my main reason for braving Target on a harrowing and rare Saturday run with everyone else in our town was to find a kite for my eager boys, who were imagining hours of carefree running about with a great plastic bird (or similar) soaring high aloft our neighborhood among the cornfields. As we navigated the too-narrow aisled and dodged abandoned-in-the-middle-of-the-store carts (do people actually not realize that leaving your cart in the middle of a row is not good etiquette?) in our fruitless quest for a kite, we were shocked to find Santa and snow globes and Rudolph next to the decorative gourds and mass-produced, flame-retardant costumes, just rows away from the discounted pool toys. Clowns to the left of me, snowmen to the right. I found my head whipping back and forth between the two, trying to reconcile the state of the world in which we live.
It all started this year with Pumpkin Spice offerings in August. Actually, it started before that, when I got my back-to-school summons with the date of JULY 31 ON IT. School should not start before Labor Day; Pumpkin Spice lattes should not exist before October; and Christmas should not be strewn all over Target before Thanksgiving. And kites should always, ALWAYS, be in stock.
Thanks to global warming, I'm in a constant state of confusion as to what time of year it is. Seasonal decorations in the wrong seasons just add to my state of cognitive dissonance. When I was a wee lass back in the blissful days of yore, when parents let kids run wild and holidays stayed where they belonged, summers were long and Christmas didn't start until the day after Thanksgiving. I never had to peel back the layers of my feeble mind to determine which holiday I needed to prepare for. I just put out my acorns and colored leaves garland, bowl of lumpy decorative gourds and impossibly small pumpkins, and tall and fall-smelling pillar candle. But Target has moved headlong and wantonly toward December 25, brazenly displaying a creche next to a Grim Reaper.
After loading my cart with paper towels, dryer sheets, a shirt for a homemade Halloween costume, death liquid (aka Diet Coke) for the husband, and some socks - everything except the kite we came for - we trundled to the parking after finessing the checkout line to get to the secret one that no one but us seems to see, thus avoiding the dreaded long wait at the cash registers, I felt a little sad that everything is such a rush. I looked at my three teens, loping along in that teen way, and wondered why we need to push through our years so quickly? With all the horror in the world - Trump as our president, crazies who murder strangers, schools so stressful kids are on meds in droves - can't we just have a little anticipation for Christmas magic? Life is confusing enough without Frosty among the pumpkins.
Courtney is a most fabulous writer and teacher of gifted middle school students. She is the author of two novels - see the "Cate Books" page of this site for information! Watch for updates about future books that need to be part of your personal library. In the meanwhile, enjoy her pithy life observations.