Holiday Fishes Coming Your Way


It’s a silly heading. I’ve been thinking about logos for a few weeks. I saw a billboard with holiday wishes from a local seafood restaurant and wondered why they hadn’t taken advantage of the obvious. I’ve come up with a few billboards over the past few months. Such as:

In my head I have this great picture of my dog as an advertisement about the importance of

Trinity Church during Houston's 2004 Christmas...
Trinity Church during Houston’s 2004 Christmas Eve Snowstorm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

adopting from the pound or a shelter. The camera angle is from my point of view as I’m sitting, looking down. It’s Big Boy with his paw on my knee and his big “bulldog” eyes looking up at me as if to say “Thanks for rescuing me. Now, please give me whatever it is you’re eating.”

Another of my billboards is a clean up Houston campaign. It’s a picture of a woman walking away from the camera. She’s obviously in her home. She’s tossing a fast-food drink container over her shoulder, discarded liquid arcs across the scene. The heading would be “You wouldn’t do this in your living room, would you?” Next line: “Keep Houston Clean.” Pales like vanilla ice cream when I see it in writing.

So I’ve got this idea of red and green fish with holiday hats tail-dancing across the space singing “Happy Holidays” and the caption below . . . well, you get it.

Thing is, the billboards are going, going, gone. No more billboards in Houston, as their lease runs out, so they are removed. Hallelujah! The idea is to leave air space along the roads. No more ugly. I’m all for it. In 1982, when I graduated from Texas Academy of Art, a month’s rental of decent billboard space was $12,000 a month. It went up considerably in the last thirty years. A tiny billboard of perhaps ten feet across and twelve feet off the ground in Sugar Land was $8,000 a month in 2004. That’s the size of a poster board when you are traveling at sixty miles an hour down the road.

I haven’t been well. I’ve had a cold all week. It’s New Year’s Eve as I write this. Happy New Year. 2011! Hip! Hip! I’m better now. But it’s been a rough go. The first day of it was last Monday, the day after we returned from Arkansas. We went to Arkansas on Friday and came home on Sunday. Britt was sick with a cold. This means Amy and I were shut up in the car with his illness all weekend. I didn’t sleep at all last night, due to taking too much codeine.  Codeine is good, apparently, because it muddles your brain into  believing you don’t need to cough any longer.

A little about Christmas songs. I had this sudden brain storm last week (Christmas) that these Christmas songs were just a little bit toooooo happy. Suspiciously happy. Don’t-cha think? Honestly? Don’t-cha hear -Methinks she protests too much? I mean, who is really happy at Christmas? I don’t see very many happy people. It’s the kids. They are really happy up until Christmas. Then they aren’t exactly happy, either. Not at Christmas. It’s always “Is this all I got?”

Really?

Okay, maybe I’m being extreme. My children have grown up into really great people who ask why we are still spoiling them.

I never, ever thought I would say it, but my parents were right. Christmas is way too over the top with commercialism. It’s all about the decorations, the music, the events, the parties, the presents, the family (everybody’s got to be made happy – see the movie: Four Christmases), what to get, what to give, where to go, what to do. I started to think about this years ago really when my father was still alive. I thought about maybe escaping to Tahiti for Christmas or somewhere that wasn’t very Christmas-y and maybe not give gifts at all between my husband and children. Then I spent the Christmas of 2007 mostly at the hospital with my dying father and I was glad we hadn’t taken any of those past Christmases away from him with his grandchildren.  And now my mother is 85 – and how many more years will she be with us? So maybe Christmas has to be pared down right here and now. Maybe we can do this.

I know that this year I didn’t pull the tree down from the attic and do the home decor up big like I usually do. I like Christmas and decorating and being extravagant but this year I wasn’t feeling it. I couldn’t get past that dullness either. Maybe it was this cold virus  knocking at my bronchial tubes like tuning forks and waiting for the opportune moment to pop forth as the most awful cold I’ve had in five years or more. I don’t know. I tried to put on a happy face and liven up Christmas at my mother-in-law’s. She’s a dear lady and I love her much. I’m afraid the liven up thing didn’t work.

And I missed the Christmas Eve service this year.

I went to a Christmas Eve service at an Episcopal Church last year. Wow. Gorgeous. I’ve never seen anything quite so fancy and colorful. The music made me think a bit of heaven’s own choral beauty had streamed down to our ears that night. Maybe these services were designed originally to have us common folks thinking that. Perfection made corporeal. I was brought up in simpler church thinking, which matters not. God is God in the greatest as He is in the smallest. Elijah found him not in the fire, nor the wind but in  the still small voice. It’s not as if He needs us to advertise for Him. (i.e. billboards – God listens). Though some, and especially ME, need to be reminded about things:

like Christmas isn’t about happiness at all.

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