O Little Town of Belchertown!
Christmas transforms Belchertown, “America’s small town,” into one great festival of lights, and a generous, over-heaped smorgasbord of huge glowing plastic statues – bright figures of dogs, birds, moose, and more, all dressed up to resemble St. Nick, gently bobbing in the cold still air and reminding us of the true meaning of this Season.
Plastic is the stuff of Christmas, surely! Plastic, that happy derivative of crude oil pulled, with near-unimaginable sweat and ingenuity, from the very depths of the Earth! Plastic, re-formed and brought to life in China, that mysterious, unsleeping, heathen land where secular America’s Merry Christmas is lovingly manufactured! Plastic, in all the colors of the rainbow, everything in between, and then some! Ever since the Walmart Superstore opened over in Ware – just a short trip down Route 9, then take a sharp right down 32 – the spectacle just grows more wondrous with each passing year, spurred onward and upward by a friendly competition among warm-hearted folk all over town, perilously over-taxing the electrical grid to generate high-amp holiday feeling.
In the day, the sight is arresting. Temporarily deflated Christmas statues, like so many gaily-colored popped balloons, festoon the otherwise dreary winter landscape, like the aftermath of a Civil War battle where the contestants are not North versus South, but Disney versus Warner Brothers. But at night, these flaccid gas-bags, Lazarus-like, spring to life once again! This fateful cycle, emblematic of spiritual rebirth, is repeated endlessly, every night, throughout the whole of December and an increasingly larger piece of November as Christmas, a giant, voracious amoeba, grows and engulfs those lesser holidays, Thanksgiving and Halloween.Listen, too, to the sound of a Belchertown Christmas: The exquisite, holy silence, broken only by the occasional sound of speeding cars and trucks merely passing through, moving people who mistakenly think they’ve got better places to go . . . And, of course, by the steady breathing of the thousands of air compressors it takes to keep those variegated plastic bags of Christmas cheer blown up big and fat all night – like the calm, reassuring wheeze of one giant Iron Lung.
- December 25th, 2011
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