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Blogging By the Sea
Friday, November 23 2012

Was this you, this past Thursday night?

Thanksgiving, for me, has always been family time. A day when we come together with all our noise and laughter, our love and enjoyment of just being together in a world where far too often, the demands of school and job take us away from family. All the traditional holiday dishes are prepared, the best china dragged out of the cabinet and the silver polished. And then we sit down to a table laden with turkey and all the fixin’s, and thank God for the blessings we far too often take for granted.  The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade entertains before dinner and football afterward. Sometimes played out in the yard in the crisp fall air while the grandparents nod off in the living room after dinner. There’s always at least one game on TV that the adults, even those who rarely watch football, sit around and enjoy together. When I was in high school and marched with the band, football was local, in the morning against our arch-rival. And the house, when we returned, enveloped us in the scents of roasting turkey and apple pie and happy chatter.

But things change and while most of us cling to at least some of the Thanksgiving traditions of our youth, we give ever more ground to encroaching materialism. When I was a child I never saw Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. Then the music and the sales began after Halloween. And now they barely let school get underway in the fall before we are inundated with the lure to buy, buy, buy. One doesn’t have to be a Christian to be appalled by the changing face of Christmas, but that’s a topic for another day.

I also remember when most of the world returned to work on Friday as usual. But as families became more mobile and moved away from each other the idea of having a long weekend to allow for travel so we could still be together on the holiday began to take root. More and more companies gave their employees Friday off as well as Thursday.  And of course, the opportunity to turn that extra day into a sale day to kick off what merchants hoped would be a banner year of holiday sales or a way to end a bad year on a high note was not to be missed. I think I must have shopped on Black Friday once upon a time, because I avoid being in the stores on that day like the plague now. I find the rude, pushing and shoving crowds to be the last place I want to be. I know quite a few people who love the idea of getting all their shopping done in a single day and especially love the idea of saving a ton of money at the same time. And I’d be happy for them, if Black Friday had remained Black FRIDAY.

But it didn’t. In an effort to be first to open their doors, shops began opening at 5:00 am for the early bird specials. Then it was one minute past midnight. And now it’s come down to shopping at 8:00 pm on Thursday night. Folk are willing to spend the entire night curled up in a sleeping bag in a line of hundreds to be first into the stores. I suppose if you have no family you might as well spend your time doing this sort of thing, but what about the rest of us? Instead of sprawling in the living room with their waistbands unbuttoned, laughing and sharing and just enjoying the leisure of being with our families, we are encouraged by sales-hungry merchants to suck in our bellies, button up our pants and warm up the credit card. And for the most part, to spend more money than we can really afford for things we probably don’t really need.

One of my favorite recent series on TV is Blue Bloods and the thing that most appeals to me about that show is the family aspect. Every week, at some point all four generations sit down to dinner together, offer thanksgiving to God and share a meal. I wonder what the Reagans would think of Black Friday and the scramble to begin it on Thursday night? What do you think? I know there are two sides to every story, so I’m really interested in your ideas, even if they oppose mine. (Click on the word comments below to share your thoughts.)




Posted by: Skye AT 01:23 pm   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Friday, November 09 2012
  As if Superstorm Sandy wasn't enough, the Northeast was treated to yet another storm, the second in 9 days. This one a Nor'easter packing gusty wind and snow. This pic was taken on Long Island. My daughter, who lives there, is still without power, but she's gotten inventive. She and her sister-in-law got up at 3:00 am to gas up the cars without having to wait for hours and hours in the gas lines. Turned out to be a good move. She also discovered that their newly installed gas fireplace could be operated without the electric switch. Although that discovery was attended by fumes that set off the smoke alarm and totally freaked out her daughter. Somehow the information that this fireplace needed to be "cured" before running had been lost in the shuffle. So, with no power and no heat, they had to run it with the windows wide open until it "cured."  At least now they have one warm room in the house.

Others have not been so fortunate. There are still hundreds of people with no homes. Power crews have come in from all over the country to try to reconnect everyone, but snow and below freezing temps have hampered that effort. And here's a downright outrageous sign that appeared on FB:
What are we paying them for anyway? Isn't dealing with no home, no heat, no water, no belongings, and now snow and freezing temps enough, but they have to WAIT for Fema folk to get over the snow and get back to work? My bet is all the Fema workers are being housed in warm hotels and eating hot meals.

We won't even discuss the election - my blood pressure is already high enough. So, I think I'll sign off here and go say a few prayers for folk with bigger problems that I have.
Posted by: Skye AT 04:56 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, November 04 2012

My granddaughters - crafts by headlamp after the power went out on Long Island

For Days they had been predicting the storm of the century. Of course, they've said that before so maybe some folks could be excused for taking the warnings with a grain of salt. But this time they were right. Hurricane Sandy, which barely kicked up a fuss here on the northeast coast of Florida, plodded doggedly northward to meet a nor'easter and a high pressure front that wouldn't let it go "out to sea" as so many tropical storms do. Instead, she barreled into the mid-Atlantic coast, destroying the New Jersey coast, whipping up a devastating fire in New York that took over 100 homes, flooding areas that had never been flooded, driving sand several feet deep into streets, basements and fields a long way from the beaches, flooded the New York subway system and tunnels going into and out of the city, took homes off foundations and left them in the middle of streets and left millions of people without power and thousands without homes. The Associated Press reported that at it's peak, Superstorm Sandy had a diameter of 1,000 miles; killed more than 100 people in 10 states; cancelled almost 20,000 flights; left more than 12 inches of rain in Easton, Md.; covered Gatlinburg, Tenn. with 34 inches of snow; and left in its wake an estimated $20 billion in property losses, placing the storm among the most expensive natural disasters in U.S. history. And if that weren't enough, a Nor'easter is now headed their way, bringing chilly temps and more rain and high wind.

Even if you weren't in its path, folk all over the country seem to have been touched by this storm. Here in St Augustine, there is much sadness for the loss of the HMS Bounty which took on water and sank 80 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras. The Coast Guard was able to rescue all but two of the crew, for which everyone is thankful. But a beautiful bit of history is gone.
Here's the Bounty when she visited St Augustine last spring. With her spars all lashed to allow her to slip through the Bridge of Lions, she dwarfed even the pirate ship, Black Raven.

Two days after the storm raged through East Coast and was whipping up enormous waves on the Great Lakes, here in my neighborhood the sun rose on an ocean was so calm it looked like the proverbial mill pond. I don't think I've ever seen the ocean this still and flat.

It's been a week now since the storm came ashore in New Jersey. 2.5 million homes and businesses are still without power, upward of 50,000 are homeless, schools are still shut in many cities and towns. The scope of the damage boggles the mind. It is heartening to see how Americans can pull together to face such a disaster, but these people still need our prayers and if you can afford to and haven't already, open your pocketbooks and write a check to help those who have lost everything.

Posted by: Skye AT 01:58 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
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    Skye Taylor
    St Augustine, Florida

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