Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Holiday

This picture of an old Triumph on a Christmas run in a moonlit classic winter village feeds my nostalgia, and one cannot deny this sort of image drives ownership, in part, of a Modern Bonneville!Naturally I prefer my reliable, easy to live with Bonneville to the original, and I am quite fond of my warm sunny winters in the Keys....Nostalgia only carries you so far!

From the Coconut Telegraph last month (see my web list if you are interested in local people ranting and arguing about anything under the sun) I found this comment. I liked it. I saved it. I print it here with all due acknowledgment to the anonymous author and poor old Deer Ed at the Telegraph.

I am a Christian and have no problem with calling a Christmas tree a Holiday tree. The fact is that the Christmas tree has never represented a religious idea but rather the idea of renewal that accompanied the winter solstice. We associate Christian ideas with the tree but it is not inherently Christian. Does the Bible tell us all to decorate trees with lights and tinsel to celebrate the birth of Christ? Is Santa in the Bible? Nonsense!

These symbols have become beautiful traditions in our society to represent a warm and meaningful season. Malls and stores around the world display this beautiful tree. It represents a different meaning to everyone. To stores, it represents the start of a very lucrative season to bring in the shoppers and make money. Some people look at it and are reminded of the birth of Christ while others view it as a symbol that represents family, love, peace and gift giving. As a Christian, I don't have any problem sharing this beautiful custom with everyone. Calling it a Holiday tree is fine with me. Christians should share the love and spread the word. The poster who brought this subject up ended his post by saying "screw you". Maybe he should consider the real teachings of Christianity and stop worrying about if a tree is called a Christmas tree or a Holiday tree.

Tortugas People

I saved these pictures from our Thanksgiving trip to Fort Jefferson. They had no place in other essays I wrote and today does not seem to be the day for much heavy commentary. Besides everybody is cloyingly sentimental about the holiday thing, so here is an antidote with not one picture that is Christmas related, I promise.

I like to think few enough people will even be reading blogs when they should be with their families, such that my pink crocs (my only footwear in the National Park) might pass unnoticed.This phallic object (below) is called a Parrot Rifle, after it's inventor I think. The rifling referred to makes the shell spin about it's axis as it flies through the air, a common refinement in modern weapons, but it spelled the end, paradoxically for brick walls just like those of Fort Jefferson.
It was cold in November, much more so than December which has more closely resembled summer. We huddled by the fire grate and wore long clothing.Of course summer reasserts itself eventually in the Keys.Sun, blue skies, and brick walls. The life of a Park Ranger is, I think, somewhat less glamorous than one might at first imagine.A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and a nice private beach. Except of course for the irritating photographer on top of the fort's walls.
I think this pensive figure was Sarah from Fort Lauderdale who bumped into our party for Thanksgiving. At the time I failed to recognize her, I just liked the picture.
I guess I was quite busy sneaking pictures of stick figures all round the fort.
This lot reminded me of nothing so much as those field trips we used to make as school children. They were actually day trippers off the ferries starting their organized tour of the fort:
This Key West woman was camping with her family and as they got ready to leave her child took a ride in the hand cart, waving goodbye to all that:
Later her kids were throwing themselves off the picnic tables and making their own fun, which is a skill more youngsters need to develop:On the beach I spotted parties of Japanese (Asian really) tourists doing inexplicably odd things. I had never previously seen women in ankle length dresses wearing snorkel gear and then posing for a photographer. Maybe they are gag holiday pictures to satisfy some Japanese (Asian?) fad?
Here was one more conventionally dressed for the beach but the pose looks bizarre, like something out of a Hollywood poster from the 30's. Talk about culture incomprehension; the American pose is barely visible at the bottom of the picture.
Here is a Park Ranger on top of the fort doing something, I know not what, more glamorous than taking out the trash: Jan was drinking coffee from his happy mug, a container covered with smiling flower faces. He posed to try and keep up. Any stray Japanese/Asian tourist watching us might have been culturally confused as we collapsed laughing after the pose was struck.This was Jan as he looks normally. We watched him cross the campground as we snarfed pancakes and wondered if he looked more like a cat burglar after an unsuccessful night, or a mobster returning from a hit.People checking the view. Lots of water out there, with whitecaps on a windy day. People from England call them, rather more picturesquely, "white horses" when the water gets all frothy:
In this next picture Carol was walking back to camp after doing her usual watching the sunrise from the top of the fort. Behind her you can see what I call "buffaloes" on the horizon. When the buffalo are running is when you stay put in your anchorage and wait for calmer weather to go sailing.
A quick look back at the beach on a cool windy day when towels become the equivalent of fluffy warm sweaters. What they were looking at so intently, I have no idea, unless it was a dried up old seashell. Tourists love those.Weather still cool:
Still cool and breezy unless you are a butch male of the species: More Park Ranger work. They nattered for a while poring over their all important list. Then they looked off into the middle distance, thoughtfully. Possibly world peace hung in the balance and I had no idea. I was just camping. This lot stood around on the swimming beach. I wondered what there is to be puzzled about when in your swimsuit on a beach designated for swimming. The woman with fins has the right idea, if you like swimming in rough waters.
Awww! I like dog pictures. Other people, inexplicably, like pictures of small noisy infants.
This next one just makes a child free man like me wish he had procreated and produced noisy, squalling, needy, versions of himself. That's me being sarcastic (not ironic please note, lest you get the two confused). And we close with Kathy glad to have made it back to Key West without puking.
It was a surprisingly smooth ride home from Fort Jefferson. 45 minutes after this picture was taken I was back at work barking orders at police officers over the radio. Camping in the rain sucks, but the memories of the sunny days, the majority of our days, are priceless. Happy Christmas.