Steve Wilson

I have never held back vociferous disparagement of this date on the calendar, and I have no intention of abandoning that position at this late time in life. Today, as you all are aware, is the Winter Solstice; the shortest amount of daylight is available on this day and conversely it is followed by the longest hours of darkness. This is really no way to run the Universe, or at least Earth’s little part of it, but no one asked for my input so this is what you get. Were I to have my way, this day would be worlds different (pun intended).

Had any consultations taken place I would have never allowed that 23.4-degree tilt of the Earth’s axis, or at least lessened it a dozen degrees or so. Now, granted that our little planet would be far different without that tilt, for instance the Equator would be so hot very few humans would choose to call that particular latitude desirable and all weather would never vary much, maybe a few degrees due to weather patterns, which would also be a whole new ballgame.

Still, this yearly adjusting to warmer and cooler weather and longer and shorter days and nights is a pain in the tookus; especially for those of us who prefer constancy to disruption. An equal number of hours, 12 to be nearly exact, of sunshine and starshine sound real nice to me; no adjusting required. Also, I am not a fan of cold weather, which is any temperature lower than 80 degrees F., and scientists figure the latitudes in which the Central Coast of California lies would never seen temps below around 78 degrees. Now you’re talking.

But, there is nothing to be done about the planet’s situation in the Solar System, with the exception that humans may someday blow the whole shebang to Kingdom Come, so I will enjoy what limited hours are available this solstice and suggest you all do the same.

I would note today has not altogether been a bummer over the years for no other reason than it was an old buddy’s birthday, and though I have not attended that celebration in some years now, as he has been comfortably ensconced down in Mexico for over a decade in the old but beautiful cathedral town of San Miguel de Allende, I still wish to convey this: Happy 71st Birthday, Stephen Carl Clark; many happy returns amigo.


In Greenfield the other day, a sudden recall of memory, a pleasant one, flashed onto my mind’s eye as I passed by my old elementary campus and saw a parking lot full of cars and buildings that were once grass playgrounds and asphalt basketball courts. I waxed nostalgic thinking about two specific times, both occurring this time of the season, when that field of grass was site of annual football games.

During Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks many of us in the 8-to-14-year range would make our way from houses on Third to 11th streets to that square field of battle and play a rousing game of combination football; that is the younger kids were “touched” tackled and older kids were “tackled” tackled. Those were wonderful games, often more than one during the longer Christmas Vacation and always on the first day of the New Year. And if rain had rendered the grass soft and squishy, all the better because for gladiators of the game there’s nothing like being covered in mud to ring in the New Year.


As we, and by “we” I mean a simple majority of those who were or are aligned with the Christian religion, near the time when celebration takes place regarding the birth of a person prophesied in the Old Testament of the Bible, a messiah, a savior. It has been such for many people for many years now. But it is not the only celebration held at the end of a solar year.

At sunset this past Sunday the Jewish world began their eight-day celebration of Hanukkah, known also as the Festival of Lights. The story of how this commemorative time became one of the annual Jewish holy celebrations is one of war, as are many Old Testament-era stories; a war waged by a man and his sons to regain possession of a temple wrested from the people by an enemy nation. With only enough holy oil to keep the Temple lantern burning for one night the oil lasted for eight nights until the arrival of enough holy oil to keep the Temple lit and alive. Hanukkah in America is celebrated somewhat differently than in Europe due to its proximity to Christmas but the traditional eight-candle menorah is still a central part.

There is more to the story of Hanukkah of course, but the lighting of one candle for eight days seemed to me to be a simple and peaceful way to pay respects to that creative entity that in essence all religions ultimately look to for guidance and comfort and existence. For that reason, I went upon a quest to purchase a small menorah and after some very frustrating attempts at four locations in Salinas, a god-awful place to drive during this rabid shopping orgy they call Commercial Christmas, I returned empty handed. I had waited too long to order one online, they cost anywhere from $9.99 to $6,999.99, and though “oh, well; next year” when a friend offered one for use this season.

A glance at the wall clock shows it is 4:37 a.m. (Saturday, four days ago) so I have around 35 hours to purchase candles enough to last the span of time and that may prove to be a problem; not a wide selection of menorah candles in this part of the world. Nonetheless, I will make the attempt and hopefully join in with millions of others in this one little part of a larger celebration.

May you have a very Merry Christmas. Take care. Peace.

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King City and Greenfield columnist Steve Wilson may be reached at [email protected].


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