Page A2 / The Joan De Arc Crusader / Saturday, December 24, 2022

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ďDoubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.Ē Ė Voltaire


Letter from the Editor

By J. Bueker

A tale of two trees

     The evolutionary pace of holiday decoration technology has accelerated impressively in recent years.  Our home for instance is adorned this holiday season with one of the latest and greatest of these modern-day marvels of technical virtuosity: a seven-and-a-half-foot tall Mr. Christmas LED 55-Function Tree with Alexa Integration. This baby is beyond amazing.
     The Mr. Christmas tree features nine different color options that combine with six distinct light functions to deliver 54 possible combinations of shimmering holiday beauty, all of which can be selected and controlled by voice activation via Alexa. The lights can be made to fade, flip, sparkle, and twinkle, or if you are in an old-fashioned sort of mood, set simply to an old-school steady glow. Essentially, we now have 54 different beautifully lit Christmas trees at our command.
     As I behold the glowing spectacle of this incredible high-tech Yuletide wonder, my thoughts inevitably meander back in time to that palpably primitive era of the Buekerís very first Christmas celebration on Joan De Arc Avenue in 1963, which took place almost immediately upon our arrival at 3219. I remember precious little about that first JDA Christmas with one very important exception: my kindergarten twig Christmas tree.
     I was attending kindergarten at the Westown Community Church that inagural year in Arizona, and as Christmas approached, our teacher Mrs. Williams assigned to us an adorable little holiday project: our very own hand-made Tannenbaums. Leading us outside the church to a shrub that was growing on a railing alongside 33rd Avenue at the time, our teacher instructed us each to break off an appropriately small branch, which we dutifully carried back to our classroom. There we painted the twig a shiny gold, embedded it in a mound of green clay decorated with small colored pebbles, and topped it off with miniature ornaments and garland.
     For the next dozen Christmases, I proudly displayed my kindergarten twig tree in the living room at 3219 and later in my bedroom (as I entered puberty, I became a bit more self-conscious about my sentimental little tradition). Looking back now, I suppose it was a silly little custom in one sense, and yet it exemplifies for me the timeless sentiment that the beauty of the Christmas season ultimately resides in our hearts and minds and memories, and not in any of the increasingly dazzling exterior manefestations of the holiday with which we insist upon decorating our homes, streets, and cities each year. My kindergarten Christmas tree ultimately disappeared into oblivion when we departed Joan De Arc Avenue and I mourn its loss still.
     And so, as a fun and whimsical little Christmas project this month, I set about to re-create my long-lost kindergarten twig holiday tree. After selecting a suitable branch from a shrub in our backyard, I procured some green clay, gold spray paint, and colored pebbles, and minutes later voila Ė what is old is new. I am displaying my new kindergarten twig Christmas tree near our Mr. Christmas LED colossus as a stark reminder of a much simpler Yuletide time and place.
     So enjoy your holiday tree dear readers, whatever it may be! A very happy Christmas and prosperous New Year to all.



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 News from around the block (writerís)

     Seasonís Greetings, fellow Joan De Arc-o-nauts. Once again Christmas time is upon us and you know what that means: itís time to come up with an original idea for a Chuckís Corner end-of-the-year column. This has become an increasingly more difficult task because Iím pretty sure I ran out of good ideas a decade ago and have resorted to recycling old material ever since.
     Okay, more than a decade ago. Shut up.
     I could always pull out the ďYear in ReviewĒ shtick, but 2022 was too weird to even attempt a parody. We did get some new babies in the family, which is a blessing, but too much of the news in the world has been depressing and hardly worthy of the kind of holly jolly entertainment that we here at Chuckís Corner strive to deliver this time of year. Hard pass on that idea.
     Iím pretty sure Iíve recounted every old Christmas memory that ever existed within my skull several times here already. I swear Iím not going to be one of those old guys who repeats himself endlessly and Iím sure as heck not going to be one of those old guys who repeats himself endlessly. Who has two thumbs and doesnít repeat himself endlessly? This guy. (Thumb gesture)
     Oh, how about a story on New Yearís resolutions? Iím personally resolving to try to be more patient in 2023 because I really, really need to do that a lot and so does literally everybody else from what I can see, so letís all just do that, okay? Not going to fill a lot of column inches with this idea because that about covers it.
     Holiday poem? Did it. Every other good idea I can think of? Iíve probably already done it, but how am I supposed to know? Iím old! The one thing I absolutely have not done yet, however, is to write an entire story about how I cannot possibly come up with a good new story idea.
     I guess Iíll have to save that one for next year. Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!


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