Coats, Coats, and More Coats

We are in the stretch now and the end is near. The Frankfort Lions Club project to collect used winter coats is declared a minor success. The count at this point is four hundred coats, men’s, women’s, and children’s combined. As luck would have it the temperature this week is between 50-60 degrees F. It is so mild out the thought of winter coats is dim. That will change quickly as the temp will drop again and we will once more scramble for warmth. I couldn’t believe how mild it was yesterday until l dashed out in my tee shirt to clear the mail box at the street. The dash wasn’t necessary it was beautiful. I could sustain life at such a winter temp.

Officially, winter hasn’t yet arrived. There are still five days remaining of fall. On the twenty-first of December we will reach the solstice where the axis of the earth is tilted farthest away from the sun. This tilt produces our shortest day as defined by sunrise and sunset. There will be a miserably short eight hours. In those hours we will strive to continue living a normal life. I remember the days when I spent a good part of one winter in Singapore and was impressed that the change in the length of their day was one hour. They went from having twelve hours of sunshine to eleven. Another thing that impressed me was how quickly it went from light to dark, Here in the mid-west of the USA we experience a gradual darkening which produces beautifully colorful sunsets, mornings are the same but in reverse.

Nevertheless, mankind has adapted to the seasonal changes by marking them with some holidays. The coming of winter brings us Christmas. It is a time when we decorate with lights to remind us that the Christ child was born on Christmas day. The lights also bring us cheer to raise our darkened spirits. Towns all across America decorate the town center with lights and many also have a huge Christmas tree lighted and decorated. Chicago, for instance raises a forty foot tall tree that has been donated by a resident. The tree must pass the muster of the tree inspector and if it does a crew comes out to your front yard, cuts it down, and hauls it to Daley Plaza . There, it is set up, lighted, and decorated for all of us to enjoy. A small cabin is erected beside the tree where Santa Claus holds court and listens to the wishes of kids who come to sit on his knee for a photo.

In my neighborhood there is Ginger Lane. The residents of this curving street have agreed to decorate their front yards and the parkway trees with lights. It turns into a magical ride through town. My wife and I love to walk it after supper end enjoy the gayety of the many colored lights, and the creative ways in which people wind strings of lights around bushes, trees and the house. I guarantee you would not be thinking of man-made global warming when you enjoy this five minute walk.

For years I thought we were the only ones on the planet who lit our spaces up, then I visited Singapore. Believe me they know how to light a place up for a holiday. They begin by decorating their business area for Christmas, and it is amazing. Then, they take a few days break and do it again for Chinese new year. WOW!

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