The Good Month Of December

Dan Boylan
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Wednesday - December 06, 2006

Yep, it’s a good month, December is.

In Hawaii, December actually begins, of course, in late November: the day after Thanksgiving, to be exact. Like our brothers and sisters on the North American continent, we all head for the mall on - what do they call it? - black Friday, I think, in search of Christmas gifts.

But here in the Islands that date also marks the arrival of the first shipment of Christmas trees. As my 11 regular readers know, that date trumps birthdays, anniversaries and holidays with my wife, the high-strung Filipina.

I swear, that woman’s never met a pine tree she didn’t like. Her goals in life are many - getting her daughter and me to straighten up our respective rooms, and personally meeting her favorite Korean soap opera hunk among them. But none transcends her determination to one day purchase, place properly (“Is this the fullest side? How about this?” “Is it straight? Are you sure?”) and decorate the perfect Christmas tree.

So, of course, a nearly perfect Christmas tree now stands in our living room (I won’t say “perfect.” Every woman needs something transcendent to live for.) I like it. The smell, the lights, the brightly colored packages that will - in three weeks - surround it. December is a good month.

For me, December also marks the season of great basketball expectations. In my dotage, I feign continued interest in baseball (did love those Tigers, though) and UH football (though by the end of this season my feigning grew less faint. The Warriors are fun, aren’t they?).

But what’s left of my sporting heart belongs to the UH basketball boys.

Historically, December is their best month. They’re home for most of it, against teams like Northwestern State and the University of Tennessee-Martin. And they win. Indeed, they’ve frequently gone undefeated in December.

Then comes January, the Western Athletic Conference season, all those beefy WAC big men, and those road games. Thus losses come as well. For those of us who care so much for the basketball ‘Bows, January can be tough, February downright traumatic.

But in December, with those home game wins, we dream of March Madness, the NCAA tournament, the Final Four. Ah yes, December is a good month, if only for basketball fantasies.

December is a good month for politics as well. It brings hope.

December is the year’s omega month, and December 2006 finishes what has been a very rough political year on a positive note.

New congressional majorities, a presidential commission, even an increasing number of our delusional president’s congressional backers are calling for an end to the madness in Iraq.

After a rough, rough year at the gas pump, both national and state governments are talking seriously again about the need to develop alternative sources of energy.

And after half-dozen years of self-congratulation at the rising value of our Island homes, we’ve discovered in this year’s waning months that there are victims of the homeowners’ prosperity: the homeless, the renter, many of those who do the essential work in our service economy.

On Monday, Gov. Linda Lingle was sworn in for a second four-year term. Not only does Lingle own the Capitol’s fifth floor until 2010, she also boasts an overwhelming mandate to govern as she has for the past four years, i.e., hug the political middle ground and continue to nurture, with all the instruments at her disposal, the state’s booming economy.

In the new legislative chambers, Democrats enjoy huge majorities in both House and Senate. They’ve chosen new leaders in the Senate and shuffled key posts in the House. Their mandate is also clear: to continue to play the dominant role in policy-making for the state while remembering the daunting powers and popularity of the woman upstairs.

Yep, I like the looks of every December - particularly this one.

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