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COUNTY AGENT GUY

By Staff | Dec 10, 2010

It is the Yule Season, which is vastly different than the “Mule Season,” mainly because nobody has ever been kicked by a Yule. I don’t think anyone has actually even seen a Yule for that matter.

Tradition holds that the Yule log – a humungous hunk of wood cut just for the occasion – would heat the house during the Christmas season. Said log would often be too hefty for humans to haul by themselves, necessitating the use of draft animals. So maybe mules and Yule have a connection after all.

This is the season when we traditionally observe traditional traditions. It says something about our culture when many of these customs include particular TV shows.

For instance, as far as I’m concerned, it isn’t Christmas until I’ve watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” This is probably because I’ve always deeply empathized with sad sack Charlie and his woebegone little Christmas tree. He never fails to remind me of me.

Another must-see is “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.” I hate to admit this, but I am old enough to remember when this traditional Christmas classic first made its debut. The narrator of Rudolph’s story is Sam The Snowman. I won’t say that I was slow on the uptake, but I was well into my teens before I figured out that Sam was not speaking for himself and was, in fact, lip-syncing.

Sam The Snowman was given voice by the appropriately named Burl Ives. Appropriate because he was somewhat burly and often wore clothing that invoked images of Currier and Ives.

Without a doubt the scariest character in the Rudolph story is the Abominable Snowman. We all cowered and covered our eyes whenever the hirsute leviathan lurched into view. Which is pretty much the same reaction I got as a teenager whenever I approached a girl.

My tradition of watching “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” would prove to have repercussions decades later. This is because both our sons were thus exposed to the show at an early age.

We took our boys to Disneyland when they were 4 and 6 years old. One of the rides I took with them was the Matterhorn, a roller-coaster that winds its way through a fake mountain.

The “fake” part is a bit redundant. Saying that something is fake at Disneyland is like mentioning that ice tends to be cold.

The journey through the Matterhorn involves zipping downwards at high velocity, which causes passengers to experience emesis-inducing levels of G force.

Without warning, the roller-coaster hurls past a furry facsimile of the Abominable Snowman. This snowman was much more abominable than the one on TV, with glowing red eyes and a thunderous, blood-curdling yowl.

This deeply impressed our youngest son, who for days afterward would tell anyone who would listen that he had seen the “bottomless snowman”. We then had to explain that the lad meant “abominable” and not “pantless.”

Now that I think of it, Sam The Snowman also seems to have forgotten to don his drawers. The same could be said about Donald and Daisy Duck.

One of the best parts of the Christmas Season is anticipation. Certainly we look forward to seeing family and friends and enjoying mass quantities of holiday food items.

It’s common to over-consume during the holidays. Many of us do this to the point where we begin to have a silhouette that causes people to mistake us for Santa Claus.

My wife is among those who can’t wait for Christmas. As soon as she can- I have convinced her that federal law stipulates that she must wait until the day after Thanksgiving – she begins to put up the Christmas decorations.

Before long, our house looks like a miniature version of Rockefeller Plaza.

It should come as no surprise that one of her favorite holiday tunes is “We Need A Little Christmas.” The “right this very minute!” part of that song rings especially true.

Her sons seem to have inherited her Yuletide impatience. This became quite clear the year that our boys were 10 and 8 years old.

Before we rushed off to observe Christmas with our extended family, we had our own little celebration that involved just the four of us. My wife and I sat and watched as our boys opened their presents. We couldn’t help but notice the markedly glum expressions they wore as they tore open their packages.

When asked about this, they confessed that they had sneakily sneaked peeks at their presents and knew exactly what they were about to receive.

“We’ll never do that again,” they promised. “Knowing what our presents were was going to be a spoiled Christmas!”

As far as I know they have continued to honor that pledge. Which is as good a Yuletide tradition as any.

Nelson is a freelance writer from Volga, S.D. Reach him by e-mail at jjpcnels@itctel.com.

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