By Dick Platt
Corsicana Daily Sun
I don’t know about up there in Texas, but down here in Sarasota, Fla., we seem to have gone directly from Halloween to Christmas. For the last three weeks of October, we were commercially inundated with all things Halloween — spook houses, costume shops, theme parties and specials on bulk candies. Then, on Nov. 1, the Christmas decorations started to appear, the TV commercials turned to tinsel and toys, and the daily paper became loaded with “tis the season” inserts.
Truth be told, our Halloween turned out to be a bust. Our new street is populated with “snow birds” and senior Floridians with just a sprinkling of tricycles and bikes in evidence, so we did not know what to expect in the way of “trick or treaters.” Just to be safe, The Little Woman (she doesn’t care for that name) bought several bags of those miniature candy bars but we did not have one goblin come by. Now, the problem is what to do with all that left over candy. The way it looks, TLW will be noshing periodically on the bowl full of Crunch Bars and Butterfingers while I have a stash of Baby Ruths and Snickers in the refrigerator. Darn the luck!
The best treat we had over the Halloween weekend was on Sunday when we had our son and his family over for dinner. I had a nice shrimp and scallop cocktail prepared as an appetizer but Curt topped it with a big mess of stone crab claws. Stone crabs are in season now and being harvested throughout this area by individuals and commercial fishermen. As I said before, they catch them in traps, break off the claws that are of a certain size, and toss the crabs back in the water. They quickly rejuvenate the missing claws but it is generally accepted that one should not break off both front claws as it would leave them defenseless. I wonder how often traps are pulled up and filled with crabs with a claw already missing.
The claws come already steamed by the vendor and kept on ice until sale and consumption by the untold number of stone crab lovers. Curt cracked the claws open with a meat mallet and prepared a very tasty mustard sauce (a Joe’s Crab Shack recipe) and we made quick work of the plate of crab meat. There was only one big drawback! I wrapped all the shells up in newspaper and threw them in the trash which I then took out to the trash barrel in the garage. This was on Sunday and our trash pickup is on Wednesday — get the picture? That’s right, by Tuesday, our garage absolutely reeked of a fishy stench from those shells. The situation was exacerbated by the fact that, when I last used the car, I had left all the windows and sun roof open. TLW had to run some errands on Tuesday afternoon and she was not happy about my little faux pas. She was several miles down the road before she could close the car back up and turn on the AC.
TLW is already obsessing over having the family over here for Thanksgiving. We already have a boneless spiral ham in the freezer and she will be acquiring all the trimmings and the turkey as the date nears. I always upset her because I don’t partake of everything at the feast she prepares. All I want is the turkey leg (maybe both) and a big piece of her world-famous pumpkin cake. I don’t want anything to do with all the leftovers except maybe the other leg and more of that pumpkin cake. Believe me, if you ever tried her pumpkin cake, you would throw rocks at pumpkin pie!
My point about the loss of the Thanksgiving season is the fact that all the television ads and newspaper ads and inserts have all gone directly to Christmas. All the stores, from Toys R Us to Target are hyping their Christmas specials. I just saw a half-page ad for a “Pre-Holiday Decorating Sale,” which featured “...wreaths, garlands, centerpieces...largest selection of pre-lit trees...” Even “Wheel of Fortune” has a Christmas motif. Playing Santa used to be a seasonal job, but it’s becoming more of a full time job. Give me a break!
I will say that this area is heavy into acknowledging Veteran’s Day with special events, memorials, parades, and yes, of course, the Veteran’s Day sales. Everything from new cars to furniture is on sale and there is a huge list of restaurant and retailer discounts and specials.
Speaking of Veteran’s Day, I want to give a big shout-out to the Mildred ISD Student Council. I just got an invitation to their annual Veteran’s Day program forwarded by the U.S. Pony Express. I attended these functions for several years when we lived out on Golden Pond and they did a wonderful job of recognizing current service men/women as well as prior-service and long time retirees like me. They fall the whole school out into the Lane Gymnasium and all grades participate in the recognition programs, entertainment, and refreshments afterward.
For some reason, my name was on two different invitation lists as I always got two separate invitations. Last year, I reported to them that I would be gone to Florida and should be deleted from their lists. I guess I was only removed from one list, so here is my official request to the good folks at Mildred ISD to remove me entirely — with my eternal gratitude. Keep it up!
I’ll close with a few helpful hints about counting calories during the upcoming festive seasons. Balanced foods like gingerbread cookies and diet soda cancel each other out. Whipped cream, sour cream, and butter actually act as poultices that, when laced on other food, draw out the calories leaving them calorie-free. Food used for medical purposes never counts: this includes hot chocolate, Jack Daniel’s, malteds, toast, and anything from Sara Lee.
Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org