A local convalescent facility puts on an annual Christmas extravaganza for several nights in December, with a zillion lights, fake snow, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, a living Nativity scene, carolers, hot chocolate and treats, etc. They do a really nice job sharing the Christmas spirit, and all free of charge. My oldest granddaughter had been counting the days until we could go.
Tonight was our night…her mom was off work, the tree was decorated, and it was time to go get Christmasy. We bundled up as warmly as we could and still walk well and drove to the festivities.
First stop: A visit with Santa Claus. Of course, there was a line of impatient children and their parents waiting to see the big guy. Waiting for a few minutes gave us a chance to talk to the girls about what they were going to talk to Santa about. The line moved steadily forward for about 15 minutes, and then ground to a halt. Meanwhile, the holiday train passed by us, filled with laughing kids and their parents. Pretty soon it came by a second time, with a new group of passengers. The girls were getting very restless, as were the children (and parents) in line behind us. What was the hold up?
It didn’t take too long to figure things out. The first hint was the man circumventing the line by walking through the cordoned-off garden area and heading to the front. Our section of the line talked a bit about how rude it was to stomp through the beautifully kept garden beds when the paths were clearly marked and well lit. Then we saw why he did it. Mr. Sneak-to-the-Front-of-the-Line was calling to the rest of his family — his extended family, apparently — to join him in stomping through the garden and heading to the front of the line. They had been off enjoying the other features of the evening, the train ride, the fake snow, while he not only cut in line, but held places for all of them.
We waited a few more minutes, as more and more of his family and friends followed his bad example across the garden and up to the front of the line with Santa. Finally the girls decided there were other places in town to see Santa, and they didn’t want to miss the rest of the evening waiting for rude adults. But the shine was definitely off the evening.
We visited the Nativity scene, explored the pathways, and headed indoors for hot chocolate (and warm air) and treats. The men’s choir sang seasonal songs with great gusto, and we thawed out. Our evening came to a screeching halt when the littlest granddaughter got sick all over her mama, sending us home quickly.
On the drive home we talked about parents whose actions teach their children to misbehave and be rude to others. Not the conversation we would have anticipated at the end of what should have been a really fun time, but ended up being only so-so.
I wonder what the rude parents and their children talked about on the way home.