In Hague, our Christmas celebrations are a tad unusual. We kick off the season with a dog parade the first weekend of December, with prizes awarded for the best-dressed dog. The canines and their owners promenade up the only road in town, arriving at the Community Center, where Santa is on hand to hand out presents to the dogs – oh, yes, and to any children who might be around. But since this is becoming more and more of a retirement community, there aren’t that many wee ones in town anymore.
The children who attend the party are a bit skittish about Santa. After all, there are lots of people around who look like Santa at all times of the year, so it’s sometimes hard to know which one is real. A typical born-and-bred Adirondacker is as likely as not to have a long white beard and big, bushy white eyebrows. He often carries a pack – the Adirondacks are known for their hand-made pack baskets – and frequently dresses in red garb. To be more specific, a red and black plaid wool or flannel outfit, particularly during hunting season. And to a small child, these guys thus have an amazing resemblance to Santa.
So, here we are at the holiday party at the Community Center, with barking dogs chasing each other around the room, kids who are wired after indulging in all those sugar cookies and candy canes, and grumpy Santa look-alikes, who have been dragged to the event against their will. And, because town law prohibits us from serving any kind of alcohol on town property, we can’t even spike the punch to keep everyone jovial.
Oh well. At least this year there’s no danger of anyone knocking over the giant tree, the dogs will not get territorial and pee (or worse) on the floor and none of the kids will throw up on the real Santa’s lap. Yeah, you get the picture. You probably don’t really want to hear too many details about events from years gone by.
Wishing all of you a happy and safe Christmas – or any other holiday you might be celebrating. And here’s to a 2023 in which our lives have at least some semblance of normalcy. On second thought, maybe what makes living in Hague so much fun is that there’s never all that much normalcy even in a ‘normal’ year! So instead of trying to get back to ‘normal’ – whatever that is – let’s salute quirkiness, individualism and a community in which everyone does their own thing while also looking out for our neighbors.
Photo courtesy of Ginger Henry Kuenzel