Don’t get me started on changes of seasons

Ireally hate to point things like this out — honest, I do — but sometimes I feel like it’s an obligation. So that’s why in just a few more sentences I won’t be able to work around mentioning “the C word.”

It is something I would just as soon avoid. After all, this week marks the official beginning of the fall season. Even with the drought this year and the early turning of some tree leaves, it isn’t official until Saturday. Autumn is upon us, so I really shouldn’t have to talk about this. But just in case you haven’t been in a situation to notice, I feel I must warn you.

So, here it is. I walked into one of those big box stores on Tuesday, turned the first corner, and there, off in the distance, what did I see? You guessed it — Christmas trees. I kid you not. Sept. 18th. Three full months, and change, away from Dec. 25th and there they were, in all their twinkling white-light glory. Christmas trees.

I was kind of hoping it was just the trees. You know, maybe they just had to make some space for something in the back room so they put out the trees since they probably take up a lot of space. And even though what I had gone to the store to look for was far from the fake firs, I had to take a look. So I walked back to the trees, and they weren’t alone. Right there with them were aisles of carolers, wreaths, ribbons and bows and other Yuletide trimmings.

Being the man of strong principles that I am, I almost left the store in protest for putting out Christmas decorations way too early. But, more so than being principled, I’m also a procrastinator, and since it was already my dad’s birthday and I really needed to get him a card, I stayed. But I didn’t have to like it.

But you might as well be forewarned. If the stores are getting out the merchandise, then TV commercials can’t be far behind. And then piped-in Christmas carols on the overhead speakers. And before long, a radio station, deciding it wants to show it can fall victim to hyperbole with the best of them, will start going all Christmas music, all the time, sometime before Columbus Day. You heard it hear first.


Actually, the walk through the Christmas tree forest did make for an interesting clash of the seasons.

I’ve always like the movie “Notting Hill.” Sure, it leans toward being a chick-flick, but I think Hugh Grant is a good actor, and what’s not to like about two hours of looking at Julia Roberts?

One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when the main character is walking the streets of London all bummed because he blew his chances with Roberts (for the time, anyway). If you watch closely, you notice in the background the seasons are slowly changing. The camera walks along with him as conditions change and work through an entire year of changes. It’s an artistic way of telling us that the time line in the movie has advanced one year — a full year passes in a 30-second scene. And it’s more clever than simply putting “one year later” on the screen.

Anyway, that’s what it felt like walking the aisle of the store. First, it was summertime as I passed the last of the grills and patio furniture, albeit at close-out prices. Then, school supplies, a traditional harbinger to the fall season. And what is fall without Halloween? Another aisle or two were full of Halloween costumes, decorations and candy. Somewhere in there I’m sure was a cardboard cut out of a Thanksgiving turkey, too, before it all gave way to the Christmas trees. Three seasons passed while I walked 50 feet.

It’s enough to confuse stronger men than me. There’s only one thing to do. No more summer, autumn and winter. We all know what it really is — football season. It started a few weeks ago and goes until next year. No more trees for me for a while. Someone pass me the chips.

Russ Batenhorst

Don't expect to detect a common topic or theme in Russ Batenhorst's weekly column in the Hastings Tribune. Usually it's whatever slice-of-life observation pops into his head just in time to make the deadline for it to appear each Friday.

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