Clinton Township Newsletter

December 2013 issue of Clinton Township Newsletter

Clinton Township Newsletter, Clinton New Jersey, May 2013 Issue

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C L I N TO N TOW N S H I P N ews l e t t e r " 'Maybe Christmas', the Grinch thought, December 'doesn't come from a store.' " – Dr. Seuss J u l i e F ly n n , E d i t o r 2013 "Happy Holidays" by ® EDITOR'S COLUMN Ruth Keesing What's bothering me this Yuletide of 2013 is the number of names I've had to cross off my Christmas card list because these folks are no longer on this earth. I am counting my blessings that I seem reasonably healthy, but it is sad that so many dear friends haven't survived the last 12 months. A lot of things have changed over the years. In "bygone days" most people didn't start Christmas shopping until after Thanksgiving. Now the stores are filled with Santa Claus and Rudolph and silver trees before Labor Day. By December 26 they're showing Easter bunnies. You can't get a parking space at Bridgewater Commons after 9 am between Thanksgiving and Christmas unless you sleep in your car overnight. And didn't the store clerks used to be more polite? Christmas letters used to be filled with tales of childrens' accomplishments, promotions at work and cruises on the QE 2 and the Delta Queen. Now they disclose harrowing stories of open heart surgeries, hernia, slipped discs and medication mistakes. And, this is the last year we'll mail our cards for $.46 a shot. I remember baking holiday treats for weeks before Christmas, putting them in the freezer or in colorful tins – and this was when I was working fulltime. Couldn't wait for the day I retired and had ample time for such endeavors. I hadn't heard of cholesterol and calories were never a concern. Now I have the time to bake up a storm but there is only one of me and I don't dare bake so much anymore because I would certainly EAT all those goodies and my elastic waist slacks would be screaming for more space. "Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world." –Susan Lieberman "But the elves have to come and paper our doorways – it's tradition." one of my teenagers stated, looking down at me. "Well, the elves are busy and they're, um... tired." Three sets of slightly forlorn eyes stared back at me. "But, by golly, the elves aren't too tired to paper the doorways this year, because it's tradition!" I rejoined, realizing that this particular Flynn tradition would, usefullness outlived, never die. With that, all three happily departed for the kitchen (and devoured everything in sight). I'll back up a bit. When we first moved to our little house in Clinton Township, we were faced with the dilemma of two big open doorways to the living room and nothing to hold back small children from jumping into a mountain of presents and candy on Christmas morning at 4:00 a.m. (as I used to do). The possibility of the resulting meltdowns at our big family get-together later in the day required a solution. What to do? Luckily, the elves came up with a quick fix: Paper the large doorways by taping together all of the leftover wrapping paper. (Unfortunately, when it comes to this practice, elves aren't very environmentally conscious, nor are they neat.) The result was a messy, hodge-podge,wrapping paper doorway, glowing from the Christmas tree lit within. Our children loved it. "Now kids," I said, "the elves mentioned that you aren't allowed to break through the paper until all children (and parents) are awake, and breakfast has been eaten. They took this rule as sacrosanct and followed it accordingly, slightly annoyed that their parents ate breakfast verrrry slowly (as mine used to on Christmas) but knowing it was worth the wait. My Christmas trees get smaller every year, but my spirit hasn't lessened one tiny bit. It is still my very favorite holiday. I now go to my daughter's house, open tons of presents and enjoy a prime rib roast dinner prepared with love and skill by my son-in-law. Mostly everyone has stopped giving me clothes so I don't have to make trips to stores to return stuff. I have wonderful kids and grandkids though, alas, some are in far off Minnesota – but we share our day via phone and Skype. Then, breakfast finally eaten, the magic moment arrived. Two kids manned one doorway, another kid (and their big-kid-Dad) manned the other. At the count of three, everyone burst through (except tired Mom.) After a couple of years of this tradition, they were quite surprised to find out that the elves didn't do the same thing at their friends' and cousins' houses. They were also a bit confused to find out that the elves did, however, deliver new Christmas pajamas to the McCutcheon kids across town on Christmas Eve. I explained that while Santa's traditions were set in stone, the elves were just making up new ones all over Clinton Township, willy-nilly. I sincerely hope your holidays will be as joyful as mine and that we all have many more. My fervent hope is to stay hurricane-free and blizard-free in 2014. Thus, I was a bit perplexed when my teenagers, no longer small and all three quite wise (pun-intended) to the magic of Christmas, insisted that – even though they happily sleep until noon, meltdowns are no longer a threat and they're content to have breakfast and maybe coffee before opening presents – the tradition must go on. Perhaps this year the elves will make up a wacky new tradition for your family as well. Whatever (and however) you celebrate, I hope you all have a very happy holiday! Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah! and Happy Everything-Else! Please Shop Locally this Holiday Season! D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 3 –Julie Flynn 1

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