Wherever the Road Leads

Happy July 1st/4th and Merry Christmas

Give me strength.

A trip to Walton’s of Loganville the other day stopped me dead in my tracks. You may see the same thing in your local Walton’s. Walton’s??? They are a large chain and probably have a couple of locations near you.

There was a similar, though much smaller, chain when I lived in the Long Branch section of Toronto. There, we had Harold’s of The Lakeshore. I was surprised to see they went out of business about the same time I left Canada. I wonder if there’s a co-relation.

Here are the Harold’s and Walton’s logos to jog your memory.

When I go to Walton’s of Loganville, I like to park over by the Garden and Patio entrance. I find it easier getting a parking spot and there are less Low-Rider vehicles blocking an aisle with their turn signals on, waiting fifteen minutes to get a spot close by the door as a lady with an oxygen tank, a scooter and a month’s worth of groceries takes her sweet time preparing to leave.

Then you find out after the Low-Rider gets parked, that it’s a regular, rusted-out 1991 Chevrolet Caprice whose springs groan to their regular position when two, 400-pound heart-attacks-waiting-to-happen wheeze their ways out of the front seat.

I really don’t like going to Wal-Mart at all. Not because of the store, its management, selection, price or variety, but because of its customers. This is not necessarily true everywhere, but I live within an hour of where they film Honey Boo Boo.

Those folks are a trip. As much as I love the South, and as refined, educated¬† and genteel as a Southern Belle can be, there are, unfortunately, far too many people just like the Honey Boo Boo family. I have lived in Georgia and Alabama – where accents can be even more pronounced – for over fifteen years but even I have to refer to the subtitles sometimes. The Honey Boo Boo’s have more teeth and fewer tattoos than the folks at Walton’s of Loganville, though.

Anyway, risking life and limb, on October 2nd, in I walked through the Garden and Patio department to be confronted with this:

This is not a picture I searched for on the internet. I took this. I pulled out my phone in disbelief and snapped this picture. October the fargin’ second and the Christmas tree displays with lights lit are in place at Walton’s.

It’s not American Thanksgiving yet. It’s not Hallowe’en yet. It’s barely Canadian Thanksgiving and that comes the weekend after Labor Day, or so it seems. This makes the Christmas Season a full quarter of the year. That’s ridiculous!

However, I can live with the displays as long as they don’t start the Christmas songs over the P.A. system. Granted, it’s so-o-o much better now than when we were growing up. These days, everyone who sings in the shower has out a Christmas Album and YouTube video.

Used to be, there were four songs: Jingle Bell Rock, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, Frosty the Snowman and Come They Called Him Pah-rum-puh-pum-pum.

Jingle Bell Rock was composed in 1957. So, for those of us born before then, this will be our 55th Christmas of Jingle Bell Rock. And the Christmas season is now three months long?

The only thing worse than being a shopper and having to listen to Jingle Bell Rock, would be as a retail employee. I couldn’t take it. By December fifteenth, they’d be carrying me out in a straight-jacket and I’d be having medicated plum pudding in a padded room with bars on the windows come the twenty-fifth.

Currently on display at ALL large-box discount retailers, I’m sure, are Hallowe’en costumes – 4 weeks away, American Thanksgiving pumpkin-and-turkey table decorations – 7 weeks away, and now Christmas trees – 3 months away. I wonder when Easter goes on display? Soon, Wal-Mart will be like your lazy neighbor who leaves his Christmas lights up all year round.

So next year, as you’re grilling hamburgers mid-summer in the back yard and watching the ceremonies either from Parliament Hill or Washington, be thinking about what you’re going to get me for Christmas.




Edit: Okay… this was added after my friend Mike’s comments and link to a man’s house where hundreds of thousands of lights are choreographed to “Carol of the Bells”, based on a Ukrainian tradional song and first premiered in the United States on October 5, 1921 at Carnegie Hall. Click on the link in Mike’s comments, which will take you to the Mannheim Steamroller version. Below is an excellent lyrical version of Carol of the Bells, in stereo. Make sure you use the “full size” button in the corner and turn up your speakers.

This could put ME in the mood for Christmas and my hero is The Grinch!!

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  1. Iceman Ogre  October 4, 2012

    Well, those are just fine and dandy Christmas songs but you forgot the important part of Christmas…the LIGHTS! And I applaud you for putting it Christmas and not X-mas. If i saw X-mas, well let’s just say your blog might get hacked and when people click on the link, it will go to a rerun of Honey Boo Boo.
    So, back to Christmas lights. That’s where store’s like Walmart, Harold’s or Walter’s(Whatever you called that store, i have never seen them and I live one county over!), make their money, is the lights because of suckers like me. Each year, I gots to have me mo’ lights!
    Each year, usually after Christmas, when they are discounted, and then during the shopping season, which apparently is October, I buy what my budget can afford in lights and decorations for my humble little yard. I am slowly becoming Clark W. Griswold from Christmas Vacation. You can never have too many lights!
    One day, my son and I hope to achieve a dream of syncing our lights to music for all to enjoy, but until I retire and save up a small fortune for the electronics and 100K + lights, I will settle to see others with the same dream as myself.
    This link to is what I aspire to do one day.

    BTW, Gordon, if you have never seen any of these houses that light up the countryside, just google it for your county. There are a few in Winder. You just pull up to there house, usually in the back of a subdivision, lined up with a couple other cars. Tune your radio to a local station frequency and let the magic begin. And the best part, is it is completely free, except for the gas you spend to get there.

    • gordon  October 4, 2012

      I checked your link, Mike… that’s astounding. What a BLAST that would be to program!!


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