Ms. CRANKY'S HAT, well, one of them

Ms. CRANKY'S HAT, well, one of them

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Ms. Cranky will, once again, make her annual plea for not having Christmas parties at Christmas time although, so far, no one has much listened to her which makes her pretty, umm, ‘cranky.’

Ms. Cranky thinks that there are just too many parties bunched up at once and she can’t possibly go to three parties a night though she steadfastly tries.  Ms. Cranky’s philosophy and some of her family too is ‘never miss a party.’ So, she tries valiantly, clambering around town and up and down tiers of steps.  But with all these parties jammed together, she can’t possibly steal (er, ‘borrow’) Christmas cookies fast enough.

Now, Ms. Cranky wants to be clear about her Christmas cookie ‘thing.’  She doesn’t actually steal them.  She just helps herself to a few extra cookies on her way out the door and she carries her own ‘baggies’ to put them in.  But, Ms. Cranky, raised in a religious environment, also has stringent rules for her borrowing of cookies:

Like, she doesn’t steal from non-profit organizations or from someone’s home. She mostly uses her baggies and aluminum foil and coat pockets (though that can get pretty crumby, so to speak) to steal cookies from major corporations.  They can afford it.  But, if it’s a private home or a non-profit organization, she might ask the host or hostess if she could take a few cookies ‘for the road (er, subway).’  In truth, Ms. Cranky doesn’t eat a lot of sweets but she truly cherishes Christmas cookies and was once quite a baker herself. She still has little cookie cutters around to show for it but how can one bake in a Brooklyn kitchen???

But, mostly, Ms. Cranky wants Christmas parties held after the Christmas holiday season because she does not do too well during those long cold gloomy months of January, February and March.  So, if people held Christmas parties during those months, when they weren’t so busy and when Cranky and probably three-quarters of the human race really needed a good party, it would all work very well. 

But, Cranky has been gnawing on this old bone for years and, so far, not many people have budged; one couple she adores a few years ago gave a wonderful and relaxed party in mid-January and Cranky was all cranked up to go to that one and had a wonderful time.

But, actually, Christmas is the time of year you’re supposed to be sweating in overheated department stores, being sneezed on and pushed around by your fellow citizens in order to buy gifts that nobody really needs, you can’t afford and that will probably only be taken back anyway.

And, then you also have to use that Christmas party time to stand in long Post Office lines, waiting for those little yellow lights to blink or beep and then when they blink or beep, everybody starts hollering at you --- “over there --- no, go thaaat way --- go to window #12, no, go to # 6”, turn right, no, no turn leffft!” --- and, you’re so terrified you become like a deer in the headlights of the front of the Post Office Line --- wide-eyed and frozen in fear. 

Besides, you can’t go to Christmas parties at Christmas time, because at the Post Office you are once a year treated to dry packing tape that is accompanied by a weird little faded red moist (Ms. C. hates to think) sponge in a funny round glass bowl.  Every time, Cranky sees that bowl with that old sponge, she thinks of her mother and her aunts sending “care packages” overseas during World War II and thinks they probably used the same bowl.

So, a quick recap --- there are the gifts nobody needs and you can’t afford, the sneezing fellow citizens, the Post Office with its many scary scenes but, mostly, Ms. Cranky needs Christmas parties or anything even resembling any kind of party in January, February and March --- those icky months with nothing but flu and boots that leak. 

Ms. Cranky believes that many of you out there feel the same about Christmas parties in early winter and that we should form a movement --- but in this movement, we will not tent!  That’s  for sure.

Thanks for stopping by.  Ms. C. wishes you and yours the joys of the season, the real joys, and hopes you see lots of beautifully colored lights and breathe in good pine (and baking-cookie) scents.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011


Ms. Cranky was whining and complaining to anyone who’d listen that she was tired and had had a cold for months and didn’t want to be out working in the garden in the cold.  But, Cranky was part of a community garden and each year in December they had a tree-lighting ceremony and invited people to come.  So, the gardeners had to prepare the space, put up lights, hang decorations and set out food and drink.  But, it was cold out so Ms. Cranky was in a bad mood and grumbled walking over to the garden.  She was even crankier as she felt heavy in her many layers of clothes.
All went well; she helped hang decorations on the tree with interesting people who talked the history of the holiday and that was nice but she sure wasn’t going to stay long, --- no way.  Around 4:30 when most everything was done, the guests were not invited until 5, Ms. Cranky and her friend Susan went and got warm inside a friend’s cafĂ© across the street; it was closed but he let them sit while he cleaned up for the day.
And, when they came out around quarter to five, they looked across the street in awe --- dusk had fallen and the lights were looking magical, there were so many more this year; they had been put on several of the smaller bushes and trees.   The Christmas tree itself was yet dark.  It was delightful to see how nice everything looked and Ms. Cranky began ‘perking up.’  But, remember she was still going to leave and go home early, she’d been sick, it was night, it was December, it was cold, the whole routine.
Then, around five all these people arrived, like out of nowhere and all at once.  The gardeners hadn’t expected much of a crowd, just the usual neighbors, but this was a big gathering with many people they’d never seen before and everywhere Ms. Cranky looked there were mothers and fathers holding up small children to admire the lights.  It seemed like everyone was holding up a delighted child and pointing.
Ms. Cranky didn’t cry but she might have for it was such a beautiful scene.  Then, the tree itself was lit and there was even more light. 
A woman arrived with a sound asleep four-month old boy in her arms.  She hoped he’d awake as lights were the one thing he saw clearly at his age.  And, in time the baby stirred and these small shiny dark eyes looked everywhere, taking it all in, like he was eating the light, tasting it.  His eyes made Cranky so happy, she forgot she had been sick and grouchy and whining and complaining not long before.  And, she quickly started bouncing around welcoming people, thanking them for coming.  She helped pour cocoa and made sure people knew where the popcorn was.  She assisted children in putting tinsel on the tree.
And, Ms. Cranky forgot about going home early and forgot the cold and it was a most miraculous evening, there on a street corner people passed every day, next to a bustling shopping area we take for granted --- being taught by little ones --- seeing the beauty of the lights through their eyes, learning anew about astonishment and what wonder was all about.