Tonawanda News

December 28, 2012

Parsing the events of the season

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Hey, good to see you! How was your holiday? Yeah? That’s great! Me too.

Christmas, for me, was excellent, the right amount of socializing, eating, reflecting and resting, in doses I could handle. If yours was off in one category or another, well, you’ve got next year to modify it to your satisfaction.

The one “song of the season” I cannot stand, the one about grandma and the accident with the reindeer, I heard but once on the radio. My favorite, Chuck Berry’s “Run Run Rudolph” I heard a dozen times by different artists. Amy Grant and Celine Dion have better voices, I have concluded, than I’ve previously credited, and note this is the only time of the year old chestnuts like Bing, Perry and Gene Autry get any airplay (and add David Bowie to the category; if you think professional sport disregards its pioneers, take a look at the music business).

Only once this year did I offer “Happy holidays!” to someone and get the snarling, bite-your-hand-off response that I should have said “Merry Christmas.” My reply is always, “I withdraw the good wishes.” There.

Happy holidays, indeed. This is the time of year to celebrate Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the merciful end to the Buffalo Bills’ season, the tossing of old calendars and the installation of the new, and many others, as those rock and roll road shows used to say on theater marquees. We’ve got holidays galore, something to celebrate all the time; the end of the year is when we notice it, and thus do we attempt to bounce merrily into next year.

Personally, the concept of pushing the reset button, the Start from Square One, the resolution to make changes, has always been attractive to me, a typically American image highlighting the possible (and the symbolic junking of the old, down-to-one-page calendar, straight into the garbage can, recycling bin or shredder), and that’s what we have when we consider the opportunities of the new year. A clean sheet of paper, redolent of potential.

Except for a cloud on the horizon, brought to you by those Keystone Kops in better suits. I refer to the United States Congress, offering us tax increases and a gallon of milk for $7, not because we deserve it but for a certain intransigence in making a deal. 

By the time these thoughts turn into ink there will be additional downward twists and turns, but presently the problem is Mr. Boehner’s inability to get his hard-line colleagues on the same page as the other Republicans. When the Tea Party finally collapses under the weight of its own dudgeon and joins the bone yard of political splinter groups, will historians consider any of them heroes?

My hometown of Kenmore will offer a New Year’s Eve celebration this year, a public five-course feast in a Delaware Avenue banquet hall ($65 per person). There is something attractive about the main drag of this village on a night like that: lampposts lit and decorated like Christmas trees, the tree on the Village Green lit like the Christmas tree it actually is, cars pulling over to unload spangled revelers entering the party. And if you’re not doing that, there’s the Delaware Pub and Grill or the volunteer firemen’s party up the street, and durable Mike’s Subs a little south. Happy, shiny people everywhere.

I make the occasional joke that where I once ran into friends in bars and at Sabres games, I now see them in doctor’s office waiting rooms. Except at this time of year: it’s in liquor stores, and they’re stocking up for one thing or another, purchasing by the box and not by the bag, inviting me over or at least offering lukewarm promises to get together. Even if it never happens, the good wishes beat the strident insistence on “Merry Christmas.”

We kick 2012 to the curb, welcome the promise of next Tuesday and wonder if we “have a strong foundation when the winds of changes shift,” as Bob Dylan put it (ask your mother who he was). Yeah, the wind will shift a lot in 2013 but for now let it have only enough strength to lift that sheet reading “December” off the wall.

Sincerely, readers, happy new year, and don’t tell me to rephrase that.

Ed Adamczyk is a Kenmore resident whose column appears Fridays in the Tonawanda News. Contact him at