SEASONAL BLUES, WHITES, REDS, AND GREENS

We don’t have to tell you about this seasonal influx of what’s called “The Holidays”, because it’s been known for quite some time.

Recently, results have been coming in over the sales figures from the so-called “Black Friday” weekend, a period that extended from Thanksgiving Day (or the day after) well into “Giving Tuesday”, a day set aside where one is supposed to give a fair amount of currency to one’s chosen charity or related non-profit group for the good this group dose for their own causes. This form of spending and giving would add up over these amounts.

So what are the results? Well, according to various sources, shopping sales were up, while traffic in physical stores were down. In fact, many retailers reported that the once expected of crowds rushing in to grab the latest and greatest toy, kitchen appliance, or whatever was indeed a “hot” item didn’t materialize. There were no massive gangs of folks nearly breaking down the doors just to grab something or another was reduced as much as half off.

So what was the reason for all of this? It was a mixed bag. It ranged from people shopping for bargains retailers offered as early as the Labor Day weekend. Many sales were done online, meaning that there was no reason to enter a retail outlet to grab the goods. The exception to this rule was based on getting an online item, and to pick up the item in a retail store, saving for any shipping costs that may have occurred. And all this is taken account for assuming that the desire goods to grab were even in stock!!

And perhaps another reason may loom. As much as others are stating, the pandemic is far from over. Granted, it’s not as bad as it once was from a year before, but it still exists. Many people are still rather skittish of going into a crowd just for the sake of shopping, masked up or otherwise. And since there is a new variant of the virus lingering, there will be no telling if this variant will make any effect on seasonal shopping. So it’s all based upon a catch-as-catch-can episode of thoughts.

Other reasons range from the rate of inflation made folks give second thoughts of spending for this year. Gas prices have also increased, meaning folks are a bit more hesitant in traveling to a retailer for shopping. And the other reasons can be based upon exchanging physical gift giving with those on their list by offering a personal service to the person on the list, such as offering them to do their yard work, or offering transportation services for the person, or even giving them a baked good or a dinner entry. Those forms of personal gifts are more of that–personal gifts. After all, if one has a friend that would need a ride to the airport, they can call upon that person to give them that needed ride. That ride would serve as the gift.

However, it’s still early December, and this holiday shopping is going to last for a while. So until the accounting is done for the month of December, one will discover who will be the real results. Only time and tide will give those issues front and center. It’s just another notion of “hurry up and wait”!

And you can still wait until the last minute to get one’s shopping done. Just remember that the malls are opening later for one’s personal choice. And contrary to what the rumor dictate, shopping malls are still alive and living. They just ain’t what they used to be, just like everything else!

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December 7th of 2021 will mark the 80th anniversary of the “day of infinity”, the day where the USA was attacked by the Japanese empire, starting the county’s involvement in the battle known as World War

Too many notations had been documented over those last decades about this battle as well as the American involvement in the fighting. However, there was indeed a human side to the conflicts that occurred. Many of the fighting men taking part (yes..it was a male dominated war, although there were many females involved as well), who were rather young, mostly in their 20s, with some that were as young as seventeen years. A few were married, while the rest were single. Perhaps the biggest element they had to face was the fact that they missed their home, their family, their sweethearts, and those others they all left behind.

During the war, the United Service Organizations (USO) that was founded in early 1941, provided entertainment to those serving in the Armed Forces in order to boost morale to those serving, and to let those who were stationed in distant remote locations throughout the globe that they were not forgotten stateside. And out of those entertainers that “did their bit” throughout the conflicts was comedian Bob Hope.

Throughout the war and far beyond the battlegrounds, Hope and his entourage would entertain the troops no matter what conflicts they had to face. And those service folks would deeply appreciate Hope’s presence with his comedy troupe, giving them all of the laughter they really needed. And one way they expressed their gratitude was to send Hope letters giving their thanks as well as a few “shout outs” from where they were, where they were going, along with the notion that they may not ever come back! Hope received as many as 38,000 pieces of mail from the service men and women a week written on any form of surface they could get access to, from clean sheets of typing paper to fragment scraps (including toilet paper) all addressed to “Bob Hope, Hollywood USA” or some variation with many of these letters as addressed did get to him! And Hope himself would even take the time to write back, even while he was working stateside from shooting a feature on the Paramount lot to doing his weekly radio program at NBC.

Hope actually kept all of the correspondence received, as well as the replies he created as saved through carbon copy generated notes. All of these letters were never made accessible to the public. They were just saved in a massive amount of boxes and folders Hope stored away in his home in North Hollywood.

DEAR BOB..Bob Hope’s Wartime Correspondence with the G.I. ‘s of World War II (University of Mississippi Press) is a detailed review of the letters and notes exchanged by Hope of those service men from 1942 through 1945. Martha Bolton, a longtime writer for Bob Hope, and Linda Hope, Hope’s eldest daughter, compiled through the massive amount of correspondence saved through all of the decades. The book details how Hope began entertaining the troops by performing a remote broadcast of his Tuesday night NBC show from March Field, a military base located in Riverside, California located some 60 or so miles east of Hollywood. Hope’s producer Al Capstaff had a brother stationed out there, and the idea was to bring a bit of novelty in the radio show by presenting a program by entertaining the service men at the base. At first, Hope was a bit hesitant of trekking out to a military base just to do a radio show where NBC at Sunset and Vine was a more proper and rather close-by location. But nevertheless, the program was done at the base and became a hit with the troops present and with the radio listeners. This remote broadcast was presented with the thought that this would be a one time event taking place in mid-1941. Then of course, Pearl Harbor was hit, and Hope’s team sprang in action!

Throughout this book, the authors expressed much of the situations Hope and his comedy team went through to get out to where the troops were for their blend of humor, music, as well as an appearance with few showgirls that were part of this entourage. There are many examples of these letters as addressed to Hope, as well as many replies that Hope jotted to those writing in. Most of these letters were very informal. The service men saw Hope not just another big time comic appearing in movies and on radio, but they addressed him as a brother, a family member, and as a good friend. Hope also addressed these men as the same. It was a war where everyone did their part, no matter how small their part would be. The letters Hope received and later sent really mattered on both sides of the battlegrounds.

The book is also loaded with photos taken by some of the service men as well as from other sources that showcase Hope on stage, mingling with the G.I.s, and displaying that he was part of those serving for the cause. This book itself is for those fans of the human side of World War II, for those that were actually there, as well as those that appreciated what Hope did for his nation and for the world at large!

Of course, Hope continued his shows for those in the service through peacetime and through other conflicts up until the Gulf War of 1990-91. Perhaps their may be another book sequel compiled soon consisting of letters and correspondence that Hope sent and received from those in service at Korea, Vietnam, and beyond. Hope was eventually awarded as an honorary veteran by an act of Congress in 1997 that placed him as a person that fought and served not with military might, but a stream of jokes and gags as created by the team of writers that fed him the lines, and those other entertainers that bounced their bit of mirth and merriment to and from Hope that made his shows a must see by the troops, no matter where they may be and even how and where the shows were performed. Those minute yet important episodes were the memories to be thankful for!

DEAR BOB..Bob Hope’s Wartime Correspondence with the G.I. ‘s of World War II is available where books are sold and exchanged, both in-store and online.

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