AND THEN AGAIN……by Tamara Pettit

…..Television is a slippery slope and the onset of winter sets many of us on that ride downward.    I used to be very discerning about the programs I watched.   I was a tv version of a health food nut casting aside the junk food of broadcasting with a sneer.   “I  can’t believe you’re watching that” I would tell Shannon when I would come across her watching Hallmark movies.   When I was a kid, tv was kinda new so my mother had a dictum that the tv was not be on before the 6 o’clock news.   Days were for work, nights for relaxing.   No reason?  No rhyme?   But, learned behavior is hard to unlearn and to this day I never turn on the tv until the evening hours.  My attitude must have passed on to my kids because a 13-year-old Doug once called me when I worked at WVNCC for his  daily after school report to tell on his sister, “Shannon’s not doing her homework Mom,   she’s watching SOAP OPERAS!”    I was astonished and I might have told the children’s father “well, she didn’t get that from me or my side of the family!”

……Hallmark Movies are like potato  chips.   You can’t sample just one. I tried and found myself sledding down that slippery slope.     It was a sparse night for PBS and Masterpiece Theatre and I swear I just watched an hour before bedtime.   Before I knew it, I was into the Hailey Dean Mysteries, the Garage Sale Mysteries.   This is a make-believe world that defies reason.   The heroines work at jobs which should pay a pittance because the heroine never works at them and they live in houses that must be funded by a sugar daddy.   No worry, because they stumble upon a body once a week making their life and those around them intriguing?  Better yet, “ Can you say grown up Nancy Drew?”      I became immersed.   They were saccharin; they were sweet; they were addictive;   I was hooked.

,…..But never, ever I said would I watch a Hallmark Christmas Movie.  Those were beyond sweet; poorly written; and so formulaic it hurt that someone was making a fortune off of them while innocent viewers saw a Christmas that was never going to happen.   It started innocently enough.   I didn’t realize it was a Christmas movie (it was after all just November)   until I saw the little town that exists only to celebrate the season.  Grown people wonder around in the fake snow that never melts with coats that are never buttoned and cute toboggans that never cause hat hair.   It’s a fantasy world and I  soon discovered that I want to live there.

……  A Christmas movie was filed at America’s Resort, the Greenbrier, this summer.  “Christmas at the Greenbrier”   is debuting on Thanksgiving.   When we were at the Greenbrier this summer, they had just finished shooting the movie.  The movie even includes Babydog and all of my favorite places in our State’s premier resort.   Whether you like Gov. Jim Justice or not you gotta love him for saving the resort when it was ready to go under.  While we never spent Christmas at the Greenbrier,  Shannon and I did take the three of my granddaughters who were on the East coast that year (Katie, Hillary and AbbI) for the Easter weekend a few years ago  What was the most memorable part of the trip?  The Bunker?   Dorothy Draper’s décor?   Afternoon tea?  Nope, I’m sorry to tell you that it was spotting coal baron Don Blankenship at the next table at brunch.   The notorious coal executive who ran against Sen. Joe Manchin was much defiled in the press and was to report to prison the next day.    I guess the political gene in some of us supersedes the holiday joy.

……..Decorated my tree.   I know, I know, I should I should at least wait until after Thanksgiving, but I guess I can’t  contain myself.   While I hear all about how families decorate trees, I must confess tree decorating is a cherished, but singular activity for me.  I don’t invite anyone to help me and now that it’s done I can sit back, enjoy and, watch Christmas movies.

…….Mark your calendars for Chester Hometown Christmas Dec. 3 and New Cumberland Christmas parade Dec. 10!