We were invited to a kids birthday party this afternoon. Derrick, next door, was two and another boy was ten. So the Mums decided to have a joint party in a local clubroom. This led to my first encounter with something called a “Pinyada” which is yet another American custom which I had not previously witnessed. The Pinyada is a cardboard box model of some character or other, (in this case it was Spongebob) they are sold in the supermarkets and are then filled with sweets and suspended from either the ceiling or a tree depending on the time of year. Each guest strikes it in turn with a stout stick until it breaks and all the sweets fall out onto the ground. There is then a mad scramble to pick up as many sweets as possible. Evidently this replaces our custom of having “Goodie Bags” to take home after the party.
Today has been Thanksgiving. It has been a very good day, we watched Macy’s parade on TV in New York in the morning. I think this is about far as can be gone for sheer American showmanship. The parade lasted for two and a half hours and the main feature was, as always, the enormous balloons of various characters, Kermit, Snoopy, Mickey Mouse and a host of other favourites and in addition it featured excerpts from the many shows currently running on Broadway. This parade has been held, with the exception of the war years, for eighty four years. It ended with the arrival of Santa on his sledge. There were also several college marching bands which came from all over the country, from Florida to California and including one from here in Pennsylvania. For lunch we went to Jimmy’s (he’s the one living closeby). It was a smaller than usual gathering, just close family, not because Jimmy is anti social in any way but his table is not sufficiently large to accommodate the extended family. We had the traditional meal of turkey, mashed potato, cranberry, corn and oysters (these Joanie always prepares herself). I drove over with her sitting next to me holding the precious dish in her lap! Tomorrow is “Black Friday” (I told you about this last year) I think it is all getting rather silly, some stores are starting the pre-Christmas sales at 3am! Even the local Salvation Army charity shop is opening at 8 instead of the usual time of 10! Anyway, that’s it for another year, now we have Christmas in less than a month which will be held at Linda’s. The house is of sufficient size for the extended family so I should think there will be about twenty five. Of course on Christmas Eve everyone comes here to Pottsville (another family tradition) for the exchange of gifts. Joanie prepares a lovely table of snacks for the occasion. The next event will be the collection of the Tree which is scheduled early next month when Jimmy comes over with his pickup and takes us to the farm to choose one.
Well Thanksgiving is over for another year, and I feel that I never want to see turkey ever again! The early morning shopping was something of a success, some people had been queuing since the previous afternoon Today two things took place, this afternoon we went over to help with the decoration of the church. This is something that Joanie loves doing (the porch is all up and illuminated already). I have to admit it was a lot of fun and halfway through we had a break for pizza. Last year we simply could not walk down the garden to the garage due to all the ice and did not make it to the Christmas Eve service. We are hoping this will not happen this year. This evening was the switching on of the lights in Garfield Square. Guess what came before this? Yes the fire trucks with all lights and sirens blazing. Right at the end of the parade was Pottsville’s very own vintage fire truck which, in addition to carrying the winter carnival queen and princesses also carried old Santa himself. Yes, over here the Christmas holiday season is now well under way.
Next summer it is my intention to get the firetrucks on video so you will be able to see for yourselves!
Until next time
pic#1 Vintage fire truck with Santa
pic#2 crib by war memorial