Life in the First World always staggers me when I compare it with our own lives in Zimbabwe.
We have had occasion to visit Georgia again recently and one of the first things that struck me, if not THE first thing, was the absence of the ubiquitous plastic bags and super cool packets that festoon our streets back home.
Don't get me wrong, I love Bulawayo with all my heart but there is life out there and its rather nice too !!
One of the nicest things that the USA has that we do not have in Zimbabwe, is seasons. We have summer and winter only, it is summer right now in the USA and it is stunning.
There are also different shopping seasons too which really appeal to me (as long as you avoid doing the conversion thing ) Its coming up to the 4th July in the USA so red, white and blue will predominate.
October is the Halloween shopping season in the USA. The stores are full of ghouls, ghosties, goblins and bright orange pumpkins. Scarecrows glare at you coyly from every garden nook and cranny. Skeletons hang menacingly amidst the purple cobwebs in most American porches and there are special houses that are prepared as "Haunted Houses" that you can visit and get the frights of your life !!
Great fields of enormous bright orange pumpkins are grown especially just for Halloween and the flowers that you buy for the house are tastefully selected in orange, purple and yellow, this years Halloween colours !!
Of course the most decorative season is Christmas (although it is not going to be called Christmas season for much longer if the appalling anti Christmas activists have their way), now it is deemed politically correct to call it the "Holiday Season" (cough splutter hiss shriek)
Easter is another of the big buying and selling seasons, Thanksgiving is another, Super Bowl fever also makes money for the retailers and of course the 4th of July. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and so everything one buys or wears is pink ! And of course you only wear green in March for St Patrick's Day !!
Valentines Day of course is a big money spinner and people even decorate their houses in red and white and if you go out to dinner on Valetine's night, be sure to wear red won't you !! The gardens in Texas are mostly unfenced, beautifully tended and neat, but flowers are not a big part of a Texas garden. Mainly because the heat kills them in summer and the snow kills them in Winter.
A few homes sport pansies and petunias, but the weather is so radical that gardening is not a favourite occupation. Temperatures can reach 104 degrees farenheit (40 degrees centigrade) in summer and the summer lasts a long time !! Then in winter you are below freezing for much of the time.
And so the penchant develops, I suppose, for decorating the garden with pumpkins in October, Christmas trees and Santas in December, harvesty looking decor at Thanksgiving and Easter bunnies in April or May.
The American public is so delightfully patriotic!! Patriotism any form always brings a lump to my throat and I always cry when anyone sings a national anthem. I still feel like standing to attention when I hear "God Save the Queen" but of course the anthem that is the most poignant of all is our own "Blessed be the Land of Zimbabwe". All Zimbabwe families should possess a Zimbabwe Flag (and of course a Highlanders Flag !!)
Many American homes fly the American Star Spangled Banner all year round with fervent patriotism. It is customary to fly the United States flag only during daylight. However, if a patriotic effect is intended, the flag may be flown twenty-four hours a day, provided it is properly illuminated at night.
Whole reams of instructions on the correct Flag Ettiquette can be found and it makes quite interesting reading. There are also about twenty five designated "Flag Days" where ardent patriots make sure their flag is raised appropriately!
Some of the flag days include New Year's Day, Martin Luther King's Birthday, Abraham Lincoln s Birthday, George Washington's Birthday, St. Patrick s Day, Armed Forces Day, Father s Day, Independence Day, Labor Day , Patriot Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and of course Christmas Day (sorry I mean Happy Holiday Day !!)
I must admit I still prefer my garden to a Texas garden. I love a garden full of flowers and shrubs all year round even if you cannot see it for the electric fence, the ten foot wall and the razor wire !!