06
Dec
10

My Christmas Note

Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse Celebrate the Holidays

Recently Carla and I enjoyed breakfast with some friends from All Souls’ Church.  The waitress brought the order for one of the young boys in our party — pancakes with chocolate chips — the chips (6 in all) were arranged in the shape of a smile and eyes.  He bemoaned his relative lack of chips — admittedly, Chips Ahoy cookies have more chips than did this pancake.  Still, I pointed out, in proper magisterial tone, that 6 did count as a lot, at least according to the arithmetic book I recalled from 1st grade.  Following a discussion on whether the book used the term “a lot” or “several,” I had to confess that it probably said “several,” which the nun teaching the class explained as meaning “a lot” — the memory of it is hazy, but it certainly is one of my earliest memories of grammar school.  The book made the distinction between a couple (2), a few (3-5) and several <aka a lot> (6 or more).  When people would complain that they didn’t get a lot of gumballs, or pieces of chocolate, or some other delicacy, taking the cue from my Catholic school textbook (which couldn’t possibly be in error — it may even have had a “nihil obstat” and “imprimatur”), I would point out that they did, if you wanted to get technical, have a lot.  When I would hear the old Pepsi jingle, “Pepsi-Cola hits the spot, 12 full ounces, that’s a lot,” I would think — got that straight!  And if you take the “12 days of Christmas” (a lot of days), you can see that there are a couple of turtledoves, a few rings, hens and calling birds, while there are a lot of geese, swans, maids, ladies, lords, pipers and drummers.  Not only that, but when you reach the “a lot” level, things start happening.  The geese on up are all in the process of doing something (a-laying, a-swimming, a-milking, and so on).  I can’t say I fully understand what’s going on in this song — what’s with the lords a-leaping?  What are they hopping around for?  If they are resting, does that negate the song? 

So what has this all to do with this season, when a couple had a child, were visited by a few kings and a lot of shepherds?  In our current economic downturn, I think we may see only that we have a lot of problems, while we have only a few things for which to be grateful.  Here I must again invoke the authority of my grammar school arithmetic book — I’m sure that everyone reading this has a lot of problems (at least 6), but we also have a lot of friends (at least 6), and have a lot of stuff (at least 6 objects).  We’ll also be getting lots of cards, and a lot of gifts — we realize this, especially if we don’t confuse a ton (2000 lbs. according to the weight table in my arithmetic book) with a lot.  For this Christmas holiday, I’m planning on focusing on my lot of friends, and my lot of blessings, my lot of family members and my lot of pets, and I wish the same joy for you as you inventory all the blessings you have, and as you enjoy the several wonders of the season. 

xoxoxoxoxoxo,

b

P.S. Sorry about dropping imprimatur and nihil obstat into the blog — arithmetic books don’t require either, as they do not deal with matters of Catholic doctrine, but I really don’t know when else I’ll have the chance.

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