Friday, November 20, 2009
BY BELINDA M. PASCHAL
'Tis a month before Christmas and all through the U.S.,
The economy's left our finances a mess.
We're hocking our gold, from our jewels to our teeth
To buy a big tree decked with gifts underneath.
The children are nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of PlayStations dance in their heads.
As Mom and Dad over the checkbook conspire
To somehow fulfill all their Christmas desires.
Their MasterCard's maxed out, they save every dime;
They're grateful for jobs that they work overtime.
For the Christmas they knew in their own younger days
Has swapped Elmo for Rudolph and scooters for sleighs!
The sales pitches start up 'round All Hallow's Eve:
Commercials and print ads, without a reprieve!
For Barbie dolls, digi-cams, Nerf toys and VTechs,
Buzz Lightyear and Clone Wars, Transformers and Mindflex!
The kiddies make lists filled with treasures assorted
While Mom and Dad wonder, "How can we afford it?"
But somehow they manage as most parents do,
To spin silk from a sow's ear and make dreams come true.
They start shopping in summer - sometimes early as May;
They stockpile the lay-bys and pray they can pay.
They seek bargains and deals, searching high and low places:
Flea markets and yard sales, Craigslist in some cases!
It's the deep, heartfelt wish of each mom and each dad
To provide their dear children with more than they had.
From schooling to housing to everyday joys
Like cell phones, chic clothing, and gadgets and toys.
But lately, most purse strings are pulled rather taut,
And parents can't buy all the things they once bought.
For schooling and housing trump gadgets and toys
And cell phones won't feed or clothe young girls and boys!
Some children will haul in as much as last year
While others will open a gift there and here.
Still others will wake up upon Christmas morn –
Not a thing to unwrap 'neath a tree so forlorn.
Yet many will nonetheless praise and give thanks
That their hearts are more full than their wallets and banks.
Rejoice in the moment, not in yuletides of yore
For the present's a gift that’s not sold in a store.
If there is one good thing to come from this recession,
It's that many are learning an important lesson:
Getting presents on Christmas is fun, there's no doubt,
But that's not what the day is really about.
Friday, November 06, 2009
BY BELINDA M. PASCHAL
Thanksgiving is less than three weeks away and I’m already dreading the weeks of leftover turkey. I’m not just talking about resurrecting the remnants as sandwiches, casseroles, soups and salads.
No, in years past, I’ve gotten so creative in my attempts to disguise the remains of the day that I’m pretty much to turkey what Bubba of “Forrest Gump” is to shrimp. There’s turkey lasagna, turkey quesadillas, turkey jerky tacos, chili con turkey, turkey kabobs, turkey gumbo, pan-fried turkey, deep-fried turkey, stir-fried turkey, pineapple turkey, lemon turkey, coconut turkey, pepper tur … well, you get the point.
This year, I’m heading Tom Turkey off at the pass, before he even makes his way to Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, I probably won’t reach Farmer Brown before he swings the ax – or whatever undoubtedly gross and gory manner in which the bird is dispatched. Hey, turkey, I don’t know your life; I was almost 10 years old when I learned that you weren’t raised in shrink-wrapped Styrofoam at the deli counter.
Anyway, in the event that I arrive to find ol’ Tom already gone to that Great Turkey Shoot in the Sky, I’ll still honor his remains, just not at my table. Join me in flipping the bird into something new and unusual by consulting my Top 20 Uses for a Dead Turkey:
20. Fancy-schmancy mop … take that, Swiffer!
19. Not-very-effective pool floatie
18. Handy, dandy back-scratcher
17. Makeshift marshmallow roaster
16. Modern-art table lamp
15. When placed at the base of a door, makes a festive draft-blocker
14. New-fangled bagpipes
13. Decorative candlestick
12. Tetherball, anyone?
11. Louisville Gobbler baseball bat
10. High-fashion, hipster headwear that’ll make all those coonskin
cap-wearing dweebs go greener than a seasick leprechaun
9. A couple of snips, throw in a zip and voila! An avant-garde handbag!
8. Nifty feather duster that will give your furniture a delicious golden glaze
7. Guest co-host on "The View" to make Sherri Shepherd look like eloquent genius
6. Tie two together by their necks … instant numchucks!
5. Mullet-like toupee – feathered in the front, giblets in the back!
4. "Discover" dead turkey in your Quarter Pounder, sue the pants off Ronald McDonald.
3. Très chic replacements for those tacky pink flamingos in your front yard
2. Four words: Dead Turkey Puppet Theatre!
And last, but certainly not least:
1. Isn't it about time fruitcake had some meat in it?