Dr. Josh Azriel is a colleague at Kennesaw State. He is a brilliant man. I seek his council from time to time, and I asked him earlier this week about if he is participating in the shopping frenzy known as “Black Friday.” “Heck no!” he said rather emphatically. Actually, his words were a bit strong for a family newspaper.
I stopped the insanity of participating in “Black Friday” years ago. Getting up at 2:30 a.m. after a long Thanksgiving day to save $14 dollars on a no-name television just doesn’t crank my tractor. In spite of the threat of an employee strike at some stores, the day always goes off without a hitch with the exception of the usual fights among customers with pushing, shoving, name calling and hair pulling over a sale item. Some stores opened Thanksgiving night to begin the shopping craziness early.
Do you remember when nothing was open on Thanksgiving? I never thought I’d see the day where you could buy beverages from St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Lynchburg, Tenn., on Sunday in Georgia. Do you remember the time when everything was pretty much closed on Sunday?
I remember the days when Head Avenue was alive with hustle and bustle of shoppers every Saturday. People would socialize in the produce aisle that Forney Walker kept stocked at Evan’s Red and White. “How’d the Red Devils do last night?” would be an inquiry you’d hear from folks shopping for the family. People would gather outside the Empire 5 & 10, also known as the dime store, to visit and catch up on town gossip.
How many of you remember back in the day that around Christmas time there was a big wooden bowl of apples, oranges, and tangerines? My grandmother had that along with a bowl of pecans, Brazil nuts, walnuts and other difficult-to-crack nuts. Peppermint candy and chocolate covered cherries were also near those bowls of treats.
We’d put up a fresh Christmas tree that I’d cut down in the woods near Slaugher Pen Creek. It usually was a tree like the one Charlie Brown had in the Peanuts comic strip. I love the smell of a fresh Christmas tree don’t you? A neighbor I had in Marietta had a cedar Christmas tree a few years back that caught fire and burned his home to the ground. My friend Jeff Hogan, who is with the fire service at John’s Creek in Fulton County, says they answer a lot of calls beginning this time of year from people who fail to keep their trees watered. I’ve been a Walmart lighted artificial tree fan for years.
What kind of decorations do you put on the tree? I have about a half dozen Elvis ornaments as well as adornments from the Crimson Tide, the Braves, and the red hot Falcons. Don’t you love to sit and listen to Christmas music while looking at your tree? “Holly Jolly Christmas” by Burl Ives, Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Elvis’ “Blue Christmas,” and “Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” are songs I miss playing on the radio this time of the year.
Forty one years ago this weekend I got a job at WWCC in Bremen, and I learned a lot about people’s Christmas music tastes. Andy Williams who died this year had a great classic “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” that makes you feel good doesn’t it? “Jingle Bells” by the barking dogs makes me want to roll up a newspaper and smack the radio. Did any of you ever really learn to love Elmo and Patsy’s “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer?” I didn’t either.
Christmas time is only time of the year you hear artists like Dean Martin. I miss Dino. I loved his ice cool mellow voice singing “Silver Bells.” There’s no way we can have Christmas without Gene Autry’s “Here Comes Santa Claus” or Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.”
A friend of mine called me years ago one morning from Hong Kong when “Christmas in Dixie” by Alabama was on the radio. Did you know that Christmas classic was produced by Haralson County’s Harold Shedd?
What gets you in the spirit of the holidays? I decided long ago it surely was not egg nog or fruit cake. Someone gave me a Claxton fruit cake in 1985 that still works as a great door stop. Are you all still working on leftovers from Thanksgiving? A turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich is pretty good. Is dressing supposed to turn green after two days? Do you realize that the Bulldogs could be national champions if they get through Tech and the Tide? A point to ponder, Christmas is a shade over a month away.
Rhubarb Jones is a Tallapoosa native and is a member of the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame in Nashville and the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. Comments are welcome at P. O. Box 6, Tallapoosa, GA 30176 or via email at email@example.com.