Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Kev, Live from Sugar Land, Part 2

Yeah yeah, original title. Anyway, some random thoughts on the eve of Christmas:

A sweet history: It really does seem appropriate to be in "Sugar Land" on Christmas, doesn't it? I didn't grow up here, but my folks moved here after my sister and I were out of the house, mostly to be closer to the golf course, which they are--as a matter of fact, they can ride there in their golf cart if they want. (That would be golf cart #2, by the way; the first one spontaneously combusted in the garage a few years ago. For real. Fortunately, nothing was damaged except the cart itself, but still...that's just weird.)

Sugar Land got its name because it started out as the home of the Imperial Sugar Co., which had a plant here until just little over a year ago (the building still exists as a hulking landmark to the area's past). It was truly a "company town" at the beginning, and some of the original company-built houses, rather barracks-y in nature, can be found in the old section of town. It was also the inspiration for the movie The Sugarland Express, a train-robbery tale that marked the directorial debut of a young Steven Spielberg.

Now, of course, Sugar Land is just another tony suburb, as Houston has grown around and past it. My parents' neighborhood alone has been home to the likes of Houston Astro Jeff Bagwell, former Houston Rocket and Dallas Maverick Rodney McCray (he lived in the house with the really tall front door, of course) and billionaire John Moores, who gave so much money to the Unversity of Houston that they named their school of music after him; he also owns the San Diego Padres. (None of these people live there anymore; evidently, that was just their "starter neighborhood." Yikes.) My folks don't live in something as big as any of those houses, but it's still really nice.

At any rate, it's somewhat entertaining to drive around here on Christmas Eve, so I can have "visions of Sugar Land dancing in my head." (Foil me now, guys.)

Christmas spirit: Dead or alive?
Reasons the Christmas spirit might be dead, as seen today:
1) Rude guy who pulled out in front of me in traffic before I could even have a chance to motion him in.
2) People honking at each other incessantly in parking lots.

Reasons the Christmas spirit might be alive, also as seen today:
1) People actually donating to the Salvation Army kettle in front of the shopping center.
2) Random lady wishing people (including me) a Merry Christmas as she walked down the sidewalk at the same shopping center.
3) Retail clerks who were courteous to a fault, even though it was 4:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Moral of the story? Umm, people were really nice this holiday season, until you put them in their cars. (Sounds like the rest of the year?)

It's not just me... I think everybody was late with Christmas this year. Perhaps it's just that life is more complicated, people are busier...but, as my mom pointed out, we "lost" a shopping week since Thanksgiving was so late this year. Most of the people out shopping this afternoon (and they were out in droves) probably didn't want to be shopping on Christmas Eve, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. The more I've talked to people, though, the less I feel like a slacker for putting my lights/tree up on Monday and shopping today. Everyone's doing it, so it seems.

So I hope everyone's Christmas Eve goes great. I may be doing something unusual tonight, at least for me; if so, I'll put it in the next entry.

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