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Holiday in Christmasbadoia

There are a lot of Minnesota’s: The Garrison Keillor Minnesota with Uff Da’s aplenty, lots of pie and coffee, Sven and Ole, Lutefisk and Lefsa, astute literary references and a romanticized notion about the past. There is the Cohen Brothers Minnesota as embodies in the movie Fargo, with Uff Da’s aplenty, lots of pie and coffee…Um ok I guess the Cohen brothers version and the Keillor version are a pretty similar, well save for the whole bloodthirsty wood chipper thing.

There is the Prince Minnesota, which is a much funkier one then the aforementioned, with its God meets Sex bass lines, it’s Doves crying and its Purple Rains, this is not to be confused with the Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis Minnesota, which is a different kind of funky one that made us a destination spot for the diva of the moment, a reason for the celebrity sighting. Well out side of those here for the Hazelton Minnesota- that’s the one of temperance, and soulful understanding a place for mediation and repair.

Let us not forget the punk rock Minnesota the Replacements one, of course there is the Hüsker Dü one (ones a little harder, ones a little drunker- I’ll leave it to you to decide which is which) There is the Minnesota that’s National Public Radio, and the one that is NASCAR, and the one that is Rhyme Sayers. All states have more then on identity, but Minnesota seems to be more profoundly schizophrenic. It is one that gave the world Guy Noir and Mac Lethal. F Scott Fitzgerald and Jessie the Body.

guy noir, mac lethal

Which brings us to one of the truly odd things about my home state- Christmas Decorations. Before you get all PC on me (which by the way would be a very Minnesota reaction) this really is about decoration for Christmas, when was the last time you saw a really tacky Chanukah display? Christmas is the holiday when otherwise sober Lutherans, deck their snow-covered lawns with enough lights to make the Vegas strip seem dim and inflatable snow globes with licensed characters cavorting about. It’s a season that makes wearing a fur-trimmed cap not only socially acceptable, but encouraged.

Do realize oh dear and gentle reader, that I am rather fond of this seasonal decorative disorder; when my neighbors’ homes light up their dull facades and bring forth their inner Liberace. It is these kind of acts that give me hope, seriously how messed up can the world be if the guy next door has the word “peace” light up like an airport runway in his yard, It certainly is a better thought then the sign it replaced which consisted of “These Colors Don’t Run over a an American Flag Motif”. So it’s a change of heart or an irony he hasn’t picked up on.


I spent my Christmases as a kid in Hibbing MN, which is really known for two things 1) being the worlds largest open pit mine-essentially the worlds biggest hole and 2) being the childhood home of Bob Dylan. However what Hibbing always brings to mind is the wonder of Christmas decoration, as a kid living in the suburbs, I thought that Hibbing was much cooler then where we lived. They had a downtown, with a movie theater and a joke shop. It was right out of the Andy Griffith show…well minus the Hillbillies.

Downtown Hibbing got decorated with shiny tinsel decorations in the shape of candles and snowflakes, the kind of decorations that they stopped making in 1965 but keep putting up now matter how much disrepair they are in. All the trees on the boulevard were lit up with fairy lights, and all the windows had the greetings of the season.

As for the neighborhoods, many of the houses had giant painted Christmas Cards lit up in the front yard, and most of the houses had bags with candles in them that lit up the sidewalks, which lit the path for the neighbors to visit. In our neighborhood of Fridley the neighbors coming by meant something was wrong, but here it was a big party.

My parents resented being there, they kept making jokes about small towns and nothing to do, but had we been home we would just be watching TV, and at least in Hibbing they had cable. Sure I had no idea who all the people visiting the house were, but they all seemed pretty happy to see me, and thee all brought candy, which as a chubby eight year old is always on the plus side.

As I got older I saw my Grandparents work wit their neighbors throughout the fall, to coordinate with the neighbors for the holiday season, making sure that the neighborhood followed a theme. I think of this every year when my south Minneapolis neighborhood can never pull together any kind of gathering for National Night Out, or that none of the kids from the neighborhood trick or treat there, they all caravan out to “the Mall” where shopping and mini Snickers bars dance their unholy dance.

Yes I am a sentimentalist dear reader, but if you can’t be sentimental at Christmas time when can you. My Christmas has nothing to do with Jesus, or Churches, it’s the peanuts Christmas Special, and Frank Capra movies, it’s a remembrance of days that have passed, and dreams of what is to come. Its the moment to remember what wonder is like.


Happy Holidays Everybody!

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There are 2 Comments to "Holiday in Christmasbadoia"

  • Grief can take care if itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.

  • mom says:

    you forgot the food, breakfast with my mom, going downtown and looking in the windows, sleeping in beds with more covers than you ever imagined because it was so cold.
    Robbie being jealous of your presents and mostly gradpa dick singing carols.

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    A man of many lives-some know Strouth as the filmmaker who behind the documentary "Unconvention: a Mix Tape from St. Paul" about the 2008 RNC, and M-80, some as a writer, or as a producer and musician and then of course their is the whole getting a kidney transplant over Facebook and Twitter thing.
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