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Times Have Changed, and Plymouth Rock Has Landed… In Jail

Plymouth Rock in cage, photo by ScruffyNerf on Flickr

Why is Plymouth Rock being held captive inside …what appears to be… an animal cage?! Did it grow frustrated with being a stepping stone, and angrily maul a fanny-pack-wearing tourist?
Did I miss the the headline “Plymouth Rock Kills Florida Man in Aggravated Attack”…?

After posting the photo (bravely taken by ScruffyNerf on Flickr) to my FaceBook wall, I received all manner of suggestions, including my favorite (from Lydia’s dad):

“You don’t know how tempting it is to want to break in there and paint on black and white stripes, and bolt on a ball and chain, maybe add a baby rock, and post a sign that reads “it’s the guard’s”.
So many possibilities.”

Then a British friend teased that it should “be in Plymouth… If so, we want it back. Stealing our rocks. It just wants to come home to England…”

Um, sorry old chap, but this Plymouth Rock was a native to this continent. It has never set foot rested its stones on British soil.

The Rock had the misfortune of being named after your shipping port town, after our pilgrims (having emigrated from Plymouth, England) landed on the shores of this New World… oh-so-creatively called “New Plymouth” …. in “New England”. O_o

According to omniscient Wikipedia, the rock originally weighed over 20,000 lbs…. and after being moved about, serving as the town’s lawn ornament for awhile, and having pieces chipped away for souvenirs, the State of Massachusetts decided it was safest behind bars.

Why not a glass shrine? Couldn’t the architect conceive of anything more attractive than a zoo pen?
I half-expected to see a warning sign posted: “Do Not FEED the Rock”.

This photo illustrates perfectly how I feel regarding holidays.

I’d love to spare you my personal rant about the commercialization of holidays… but this is my blog, after all. If you’re brave enough to plant your feet on my turf, you’d better be prepared for an attack from my native tongue.

This year’s Black Friday Sale, which begins Thursday evening for many large retailers… corrupting the purity of Thanksgiving, just proves that Big Corporate Businesses could care less about “family togetherness” for all the pretty imagery in their commercials.
It’s all about the MONEY. They don’t care about you or your family. They don’t want you to save money, live better, shop smarter, or whatever cute catch-phrase they slap on their plastic semi-recycled bags.
.
They certainly don’t care about their employees…. who are robbed of enjoying the simple holiday pleasures of a sit-down family meal, and forced to work 12-14 hour shifts, “policing” the crowds who will appear at 9:00PM, 10:00PM, and even midnight… anxious to lay their money down on some cheaply made, Chinese sweatshop crap …that they couldn’t imagine living without …for ONE MORE DAY!

I apologize for sounding a tad bit bitter. As it’s affecting my family personally, I have a hard time looking at the Bigger Picture.   What IS the Bigger Picture exactly? What is so gosh-darned special about buying something on sale, that you need to ruin someone’s holiday for it?

And yes, before you accuse me of being insensitive to all the military personnel, the firefighters, EMTs, nurses, and doctors who never get to spend time with their families…. let me assure you that I’m grateful for those people. They are our heroes! They save and protect our lives.
They hold respected and admired positions in this community, and this country.

What do retail associates have in common with them? Last time I checked, the cashier ringing up your tube socks at Walmart wasn’t doing you any great service… or you would have felt more grateful towards her. Maybe even named your unborn child after her. ;)

Why do post offices, trash collectors, banks, and schools get the holiday off? Aren’t their jobs more important to the community than the employee who stands around guarding a pallet of flat-screen TVs?

Can’t we stop talking about “buying” and “selling” and “sales”… just for one day?
Can’t retailers wait and hold a Black Friday Sale – ON A FRIDAY?! Wait… Wow! What a novel idea! Tara, you’re a genius.

My 13 years of retail experience can arguably be one of the main reasons, if not The #1 Reason, why I suffer from holiday-phobia. Fuzzy warm holiday words like “peace” and “goodwill” seem to mock the hell we experience on the sales-floor each season.

I will celebrate with my family and cook a lovely meal to “Give Thanks!” when this madness ends on Friday night! ;D


In the spirit of our forefathers’ journey to a harsh, unsettled country… led by the strength of their religious faith to deliver them from the oppression of The Church of England… I decided to paint a pair of Pilgrim Cats. :)

Pilgrim Cats by TaraFly, acrylic paintings on canvas

Like the colonists of Plymouth, I, too, hope to be freed from the chains of retail enslavement someday. My journey to self-employment will be no less harsh and unsettling in this time of economic uncertainty, as was their voyage across an uncharted ocean in 1620.

Fortunately many solo-preneurs have already charted this course, each taking his or her own route, establishing guideposts along the way.
“Beware – Thar Be Dragons!”

I have an amazing community of artists at my fingertips… my own Wampanoag tribe so-to-speak, willing to help with friendly hands and sympathetic ears. Get it? Ears of corn!

I can’t help relying on corny jokes after my brain has retired for the night. Guess who is working a 12-hour shift in a few hours?

Anyway… I painted this pair of kitties on stretched canvas with acrylic paint. I started working on them simultaneously, so the two portraits would share the same color palate and nearly identical backgrounds. They are both black and white cats… dressed in black and white! LOL

The male Pilgrim Cat is in the rough stages, because I took an interest in my female Pilgrim and wanted to finish her first. Her solemn Purr-itan face is almost done (mustn’t forget the whiskers! I always do.) … and hopefully this weekend I’ll get to finish her white collar.

Pilgrim Cat Lady by TaraFly, Cats of Plymouth Colony

I was hoping to have them finished before Thanksgiving…. I started them two weekends ago. Instead, I must be grateful to my boss for giving me overtime with holiday pay. And for my loving family who demands my undivided attention at home.

I am thankful for my family. And I’m thankful for you… for taking this journey with me, even though I can be a wild and tempestuous shipmate, with a head as hard as Plymouth Rock.
Perhaps someone should lock me in a cage for safekeeping.

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