Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Marshall Fields

I have such a love hate relationship with this time of year.

I hate the cold and snow.

The dry weather wreaks havoc with my skin and I hate the fact that it's dark when I go to work and come home.

But I love Christmas and holiday parties.

As a matter of fact, I've started bringing up the multitude of ornaments I've been able to collect over the years.

I have so many that it will literally take me the rest of the week (at one trip a day) to get the rest of them out of my storage unit.

Or if I wanted to make it a one shot deal, I would spend the better part of a day schlepping up and down three flights of stairs.

If you saw my tree you would think that I spend goo-gobs of cash on ornaments and the like.

Nah, I'm just the daughter of an elementary school teacher who learned that you have to pinch pennies and cut coupons where you can without sacrificing quality.

It took a long time for that message to sink in as I tend to have some expensive tastes.

My late mother would often remind me that I was not of the ruling or leisure classes. A message I often dismissed cavorting around in Lake Forest, Illinois.

But that's another story for another time.

Speaking of my mother, both of my parents died at separately within a year of each other around the holidays.

Not too long after my mother died in late 1999, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip, Charles Schultz passed as well.

It was such a hard time for me. My life had been turned upside down.

The person who had raised me (my mother) was gone and now the man who seemingly as much a part of my family as anyone else was gone as well.

The man created Snoopy and revolutionized the way cartoons were brought to children. From what I read about him, he was deeply religious and moral but not in that preachy fake ass way.

In short---and you will rarely hear me say it, much less type it---he's the type of conservative I actually like.

One that walks the walk and talks the talk.

The mourning for my mother was deepened by Mr. Schultz's loss. So much so that at one point during that winter of early 2000 I just couldn't get off of the couch.

Thank god I had an extremely understanding boss.

So whenever I hear the opening strains of "Christmas time is here" I just tear up. If I'm having a bad day I just fall apart.

That song represents my happy childhood, my mother, her love, our small little family and the happy Christmases.

All of the things I took for granted in my rush to become an adult.

You never realize how much those memories mean to you until you pass them by and catch them becoming smaller in the rear view mirror of your life.

That's why cats and kittens, it's the little things that mean so much during this time of year. Give me change from January to Halloween but the holiday season is sacrosanct.

Unfortunately change reared its ugly head last year and dashed one of Chicago's venerable institutions.

When Macy's bought Marshall Field's they made many improvements. Keeping the name was not one of them.

It angered me as well as a great many other Chicagoans.

Happy memories pissed away because of the corporate bottom line and synergy.

What complete bullshit.

So until now I like many others have quietly boycotted both Macy's and Bloomingdales (also owned by Macy's).

Money talks, bullshit walks.

Even the best bartender knows that it's not the infrequent customers that keep your bottom line afloat but the regulars.

Apparently the New York interlopers are just starting to figure that out.

So when you're thinking about your gift giving this year, cross Macy's off your list. Send a message.

With so much out of your control, wouldn't it be nice to take back a small measure of power?

No comments: