Dec. 30, 2017

Christmas with a difference

A Christmas with a difference – and it seems all right

By Merv Unger

1229 - We spent Christmas in the U.S. southland. Christmas is Christmas, but there are interesting and curious differences in cultures.

This was not our first Christmas to see our family in West Virginia, but the stark differences seem to stand out more.

For instance, Christmas dinner is comprised of lasagna as the main course. The turkey has already been gobbled at U.S. Thanksgiving just a few weeks earlier. Christmas Eve dinner included fried oysters as an important family tradition.

The Christmas Eve service was at a church that seats 2,000 and it was more or less full to the brim for four services. It was interesting to note the police cars and officers directing traffic. Everything went smooth as silk.

In the U.S. where attacks on churches and other large gatherings are becoming too common, that risk can pop into your mind.

Our son informed us that this church sends members of the congregation through firearms training courses. They are then scattered throughout the audience, packing heat, to be ready for any attack by a loony toons or a terrorist.

My cousin is a pastor in Texas – he has a gun stashed in his pulpit, and congregants also pack guns in church.

My son’s Christmas gift from his in-laws was a gun, for the second Christmas in a row. But fear not, both are antiques, handed down in the family for almost a century. I doubt if they could be fired without some serious modification. His Christmas gift from his wife, a membership in a new shooting range near their home.

She might also join the club, but first she wants a new Mercedes convertible.

Hand guns are viewed no different than any other tool or implement that is in every household. West Virginia is a great area for hunters – deer, wild turkeys, and more, so you can't tell them to give up their hunting dogs and weapons.

Different? Absolutely. But somehow under their circumstances it did not really feel all that foreign, it didn't seem all that abnormal. It's the second amendment in their constitution, to proctect them from their own government. 

Think about that one for a moment.