Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Reason for the Season #5

Hark the scary angels sing!

Perhaps the fondest memories of my childhood Christmases were forged here:

The Cozy. It is truly a marvel. As a kid, the magic of driving out into the country to pick out and cut down a Christmas tree from the farm was exponentiated by the thrill of the following once a year, fully sanctioned display of gluttony at the Cozy. Just a hop, skip and a jump from Camp David in Thurmont, Maryland, the Cozy is a mini-metropolis with an Inn, a few mildly scary shops, and, blessed day, a restaurant. During The Season, the Cozy gets decked out to the nines:

Sorry it's a little blurry, but you get the idea. To a kid it's pure magic. To an adult, it's pure kitchy magic, but magic nonetheless. The whole Cozy experience is an opioid assault on the senses. The decorations are a visual masterpiece, but the gustatory pleasures reign supreme. Although there is the option to eat these:

If you are me, you will eat this instead:

Amazing. My just-say-no to nasty food policy came to a screeching halt at the sight of this mouth-watering display, created by yours truly at the finest buffet known to man. Please suspend your judgement and trust that the food, however unaesthetic, was delicious in the extreme. Perhaps childlike glee skewed my palate, but I am pretty sure the food was genuinely good tasting. Ryan's plate was equally disease provoking:

You might say we ate like pigs.

When I was little, the sight of a pie buffet was almost more than I could stand. Now I think I see it more clearly, as the Sara Lee extravaganza it truly is, but I still remember how this looked when I was seven:

At times I wish I were a minimalist. I look at those who prefer salads without dressing, walls without pictures, clothes without colors, and hikes to parades, and secretly wish I were one of them. But when I walk through those Cozy doors, a little part of me squeals at the excess and the extravagance. Gaudy, cheap decorations and oozy, greazy food are not for every day, but even the most stoic spartan has an Achilles heel. Mine is the Cozy.

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