Jan. 2, 2018

Christmas with a difference

0101 - We spent Christmas in the U.S. southland. Though Christmas is Christmas, there are curious cultural differences between us and the South.

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

Here's a difference, Christmas dinner is 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 – an important family tradition.

The real eye opener was the Christmas Eve service 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.

I learned that this church sends members of the congregation to firearms training courses. They are then scattered throughout the audience, packing heat, to react to  any attack by a loony toons or a terrorist.

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

Our son’s Christmas gift from his in-laws was a gun, for the second Christmas in a row. 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 may also join the club, but first she wants a new Mercedes first.

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 hounds and weapons.

Different? Absolutely. But somehow under their circumstances it did not really feel 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.