Monday, December 10, 2007

Almost there...and 1968

Don't forget that this week is the Christmas Tree HNT!! Click here to get my thoughts/details about it from last year. And start thinking about next week's theme now (click the link at the top of the sidebar)!! Speaking from experience, it's not an easy one. The key is to "gift" someone other than your usual suspects!
I'm getting closer to being in the spirit! Been running the Christmas music all day at work (but not the car yet...), have watched a couple of Christmas movies, have the tree decorated (but not totally satisfied with it--not a bah, humbug thing. just not thrilled with it), and am humming all the music from Nutcracker in my head. I won't be full into the Season until after Nutcracker though...
Speaking of Christmas music--I've yet to hear a "bad" version of "Sleigh Ride". On the other hand, when did "My Favorite Things" become a "Christmas" song??
I realized last night how protective my parents were as I was growing up. One example is the TV. We very rarely ever had it on while eating dinner. Mostly because it was big and bulky, in a totally different room, and we only had the one (as most of us did in the day). The only time TV and dinner mixed were if there was some special movie on. But that was rare (though I definitely remember a Christmas dinner (1971) at my grandparent's when Miami and Kansas City went to six quarters in the playoffs--no way my grandfather was going to miss the end of that!!). But I digress...

Last night I watched the Tom Brokaw special on the History Channel. It was a two-hour special about 1968. I turned 11 that year. Fifth/sixth grade. I remember the "high" points of the year. There was a war, but I don't ever remember watching newscasts (as a kid? gimme a break!). I remember Martin Luther King's assassination, but didn't know what that meant to the country at the time. There was only one (maybe two) black family living in town in those days, and they were certainly a novelty if you saw them on the streets. I also remember Robert Kennedy's assassination, but because he was the President's brother, and he was going to be the next one, and I thought it sad that two brothers were killed. I remember protests, especially the Chicago Democratic Convention, but not really the campus ones. It was the damned hippies doing that, but I didn't really know what that was all about. We had our own hippies in town. They had a stained glass shop near my home. I scraped together $30 for a peace sign window ornament they were going to make me. The fuckers skipped town before I returned to pick it up.

Watching this special last night made me realize how much I didn't understand the world around me. The war was certainly not talked about in class, or the dinner table. Understandable--my sisters were far too young to understand. I don't know if my parents ever talked about the state of affairs with each other or to friends. I just know that I grew up oblivious to all but the most obvious events of the day. I was fascinated by much of what I saw last night. The 60s was a decade of profound change in this country, with 1968 being one of the most divisive, violent, evolutionary years. I lived during that time, and really have no appreciation for what happened around me.

The one thing I specifically remember was the space program, and I watched TV as Apollo 8 circled around the back side of the moon for the very first time on Christmas Eve, with Jim Lovell reading from Genesis as the Earth appeared over the lunar horizon. It was a good way to end 1968.

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