I think if there are any truisms out there that are indeed “true”, the one inferring that we’re never too old to learn surely has to be up there somewhere among the top ones. As a classic example, I have spent my entire life referring to those tassel-looking things that fall off of oak trees every spring and cause a great deal of mess on my roof and driveway as “those oak tree thingys”. It is probably one of my life’s greatest educational failures that I have known no other terminology for those creations of nature than “thingys” but I, nor for that matter, anyone else in my circle of family and friends seemed any more enlightened on the subject. If they were, they chose not to share it with me and left me running a muck in this world emulating yet another one of those sometimes referred to ‘dumb Southerners’. 🙁
But as of very recently that has changed as I have once again taken to the Internet to see if I couldn’t come up with something more sophisticated in nature (no pun intended) to better define and describe those little “thingys”. I am happy to say it was a successful venture and I can now refer to those “thingys” which have been such a pain in the butt over the years in a much more appropriate manner.
As it turns out those things I call “thingys” are actually flowers. Yep… and they even have a gender. They’re ‘male’ flowers. The whole drooping, hanging “thingy” is made up of very tiny little male flowers which at a designated point in time release their yellow pollen in hopes of finding an oak tree’s female flower, a human’s nose, or better yet a nice, clean car. Seems it matters not which one!
Now the female flower is very, very tiny and is normally located where a leaf stem joins the twig or small branch from which it is attached. And if the female flower is pollinated, she will grow into a nice little acorn. The acorn as I already knew, falls from the tree and if not consumed by a tree rat, will quite possibly grow into another stately oak tree. That fact led me to the conclusion that all our oak trees must then be female oak trees. I’ve never really thought about trees having a gender before but I guess that’s all changed now! I guess when someone asks me what kind of tree this is or that is I’ll also have to tell them what sex it is!
Oak Tree Female Flower
I actually learned one other thing during this educational adventure, that being that “thingy” is actually a real word and not something just made up by us less fortunate who sometimes find themselves a bit short on the command of the English language.
Although I have long been aware of the Christmas Eve tradition of tracking Santa Claus on radar, admittedly until now I was completely unaware of how this tradition actually began until reading and listening to a current back-story on National Public Radio. I assume, unlike me, that everyone else is well educated with regard to this subject. Nevertheless, just in case I thought I would share an overview of my latest enlightenment session. Besides… tis’ the season to be made aware!
Rather than just retype part of what you will hear on the short recording below, I will just defer for the moment to that subject recording regarding how that tradition began…
“How Tracking Santa with Norad Radar Began” – A National Public Radio Presentation
What more or less amazed me the most about this story was that I grew up during the Cold War and was actually 14 years old in 1955. Granted however, I was certainly past my Santa years at that age. Here is an image of the Sears ad referenced in the story you just listened to above.
And of course I would be remiss did I not honor the man who had the compassion to fulfill the dream of one small child, and then so many others so I have also enclosed his photo.
Other than the fact that the Christmas season is now upon us, I am not quite sure why but recently I have been thinking a lot about Santa Claus. It has been around six decades or so since that jolly old character last visited me so it is not in anticipation of his visit and delivery of a list of goodies that has me engrossed in thought. At any rate, whatever the reason there has been a couple of things on my mind and this time of year certainly seems the appropriate time to share my thoughts with those of you willing to listen.
There must be thousands upon thousands of artistic representations of our beloved Santa circulating in this world. There are paintings, drawings and photos of Santa in every conceivable body configuration and attire imaginable. But as you and I know, there is only one Santa so all the varied assortments of representations certainly come from the minds of those who have not ever seen the real Santa. I have seen the “real” Santa.\r\n\r\nFor me, there is and has always been but one Santa Claus and everything this child could imagine about this man is embodied in the pictures accompanying this post. And that Santa, who is sometimes referred to as the Coca-Cola Santa, was created by artist Haddon Sundblom and his rendering of Santa had its artistic debut in a 1931 edition of “The Saturday Evening Post”.
(The Saturday Evening Post – 1931 / Click to Enlarge)
There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that Mr. Sundblom actually met the “real” Santa and convinced Santa to let him paint his portrait. Without that magical moment, we would have been left with nothing but our own imaginations and thousands of fictional representations of our beloved Santa.
(Coca-Cola Santa – 1953 / Click to Enlarge)
Christmases may come and go as they do along with the many visions of Santa that are showered upon us but that is of no matter to me. Those visions fall as water off a duck’s back on me until someone shows me a picture of the Coca-Cola Santa. Now there is the “real”, non-fictional Santa!
(Coca-Cola Santa – 1938 / Click to Enlarge)
In concluding my recent thoughts regarding the “real” Santa Claus (shown above) I will be posting additional information regarding the subject matter of this post in a few days so stay tuned if this subject interests you…. :)’, ‘Will the real Santa please stand up!!
Every now and then someone comes along and seems to calmly explain to the masses that which you have been chomping at the bit to say in regard to a particular issue but they are much more uniquely qualified to make the point and catch the attention of your targeted audience. See attached video…..
(Barkley Interview Week of 11/24/2014 on Philadelphia Sports Radio 97.5)
Thank you Mr. Charles Barkley….
UPDATE 12/5/2014: Apparently the video I had originally posted has been pulled from ‘YouTube’ and other major news outlets due to copyright issues. I have subsequently found the interview on the subject radio station’s website where the interview was conducted. Interested individuals may listen to the interview by clicking “here“. Please note that the part of the interview regarding the Ferguson, Missouri situation begins at the 5-minute mark of the interview.