One thing I can never get used to in America is their strange aversion to calling Christmas by its real name. Happy Christmas.
As I have commented on before, the incidence of church going in this fine country is enormously different to the UK. There are more Christian churches within 3 miles of our house than in the whole of most counties in England. One of these days I am going to do a survey of churches in the area, but I still haven’t summoned up enough courage to blog on that subject yet.
My very knowledgeable son tells me this strange behavior is due to “the separation of church from state”. Apparently the constitution mandates that there is no governmental acknowledgment that we have just celebrated a day on which the majority of the population think that their God’s son was born.
Most people in the US don’t say Merry Xmas, and there is no Boxing Day holiday the day after. Strange though it might seem, in America there is no celebration of the day when the upper classes in England used to give their servants their annual present. Somehow, that tradition got lost during the American Revolution.
We started our holiday with a trip into the mountains. One of the key benefits of living in Denver is that the trip from our house to the car park by the ski lifts at Breckenridge took less than two hours. The other benefit, particularly to a poor skier like me, is that the slopes are wonderful. The pistes are wide, the snow is lovely, and there is no ice to scare me to death.
I mean that there is no ice on the slopes, obviously there is always far too much ice in the drinks.
As a very poor skier, this is the place to practice falling over. When this happens in the Alps, the snow boarders spray snow in your face, and the kids use you as a ski jump. In America, when the inevitable happens to me the whole slope stops, and several people try and help you up. And they don’t even push in at the lifts.
However, the highlight of my Xmas was not my visit to the Emergency Ward.
Now let’s be clear, arriving at ER at 5 past midnight on Xmas morning in the UK would be an exercise in painful patience, as one waited for 3 or 4 hours for the drunks to be processed. I was processed and in a bed within 10 minutes.
I will skate over the procedure to return my arm into the proper configuration, but put it this way, I was a lot more sober than my wife by the time they got my shoulder back in one piece. The only delay, was waiting for them to wheel over the portable x-ray device over, and develop the pictures. Twice, without even moving me. The whole process took two hours, and everyone was very pleasant, and extremely professional.
The only problem was finding dear Heather as she wandered around the hospital, so she could pay for our part of the costs. We have an excellent insurance policy, one of the best money can buy, but we still had to process a credit card charge for $250 before they would let me out. The insurance company will have paid over $2,000.
My feelings about this issue are a bit complicated, who would wish they had waited 4 hours instead of 10 minutes? But with the issue of “Obama care” in the news every day, I keep asking the same question….what happens to the 44 million Americans who don’t have health insurance cover?
But I have an admission to make. I didn’t injure myself on the ski slopes, I fell over in my neighbours’ garden while staggering home from a few drinks.
I have promised not to sue the neighbours, that probably proves I have little chance of turning into an American.
However, I did fall off the first ski lift we got on.
Happy holidays. Despite being an old man with only one working arm, I had a great Xmas with family and friends.
We are all looking forward to our second calendar year in the America, it is a fascinating country, with lovely people, but really quite different.