Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Mary Ricker, My Great-Great-Grandmother

Over the last few years, I've introduced you to some of my ancestors.  Last year, you met Isaac Winebrenner, Sr., who had the interesting distinction of being my Dad's paternal and maternal Great-Great-Grandfather.

You also met William Amos Troutman, my paternal Great-Grandfather. William was the illegitimate son of Amos Troutman and Mary Ricker.  Both Amos and Mary came from farming families in very rural Somerset County, PA.  Mary was 18 years old when William was born in 1876; Amos was 20.  Amos is the descendant of Wilhem Trautmann from Reichelsheim, Germany.  It was this lineage that took me to Reichelsheim last October when Kevin and I visited Germany.  I'll talk more about Amos and his family later - today is about Mary.

Mary Ricker, c1860
Mary Anna Mahulda/Mahalie Rickard (the spelling of her last name would change over time) was born in 1858 on her maternal grandfather's farm in the Northampton Township in Somerset County.  Her mother, Muhulda Bittner, was not married at the time, but eventually did wed Mary's father, Jacob Rickard, who immigrated from Prussia most likely during Germany's first efforts at unification.  From that marriage, Mary would eventually gain 3 brothers and 1 sister.  By the 1870 Census, two of the brothers and the sister had been born.  The census does not list Muhulda living with Jacob, but its possible she was living elsewhere awaiting the birth of the third son.  Muhulda's younger sister, Catharine Bittner, was instead living in Jacob's house, listed as a "keeping house", along with Margaret Rickard, age 31, assumably a relative of Jacob's, perhaps a younger sister.  So we can assume that Mary's parents got married sometime before 1870.

The actual relationship between Mary and Amos is lost to history.  We can assume (also from the 1870 Census) that the Rickards and the Troutmans were neighbors, since their names appear as Properties #93 and #95 respectively.  Because of this, Mary and Amos undoubtedly knew each other all their lives.  It's unknown if they were ill-fated lovers or if William was born from a one-night stand.  But it was not an uncommon practice in those days to name an illegitimate child after its father, and that's what Mary did when William was born in 1876.

Interestingly, when Mary gave birth to Harvey Walter Deal three years later in 1879, again illegitimate, she did not name him after the father, allegedly a man named Saul Deal.  It's unclear if Mary was just unlucky in love or if she was just a little harlot.  But by the age of 21, she had two children by two different men.  A distant cousin of mine who was Mary's niece, says that Mary "was indeed a bit of a wild thing".  Mary's tune apparently changed over the years because when a niece living with her became pregnant at the age of 16, Mary threw her out of the house.

Mary would eventually be made an honest woman in 1884 by accepting James Wilson Baker's hand in marriage.  Baker was 4 years her junior, being 22 to Mary's 26 (you go, girl!).  Interesting that it took Mary to the age of 26 to get married, encroaching upon spinster age.  Perhaps it was her reputation, or perhaps Jacob kept a tight reign on her.  So Mary left her father's farm with her two boys, ages 8 and 5, and moved to the farm Baker owned.  Baker must have been quite the honorable fellow.

By the 1900 Census, we can surmise that Mary's father Jacob had died since Mary's mother Mahulda was living with the couple, as did two additional female borders. The census also states that of the three children to whom Mary gave birth, only 2 were still living (William and Harvey).  So there was another child, but we don't know if that was Baker's child or perhaps yet another illegitimate child from before their 1884 wedding.

By the 1910 Census, Mary and Baker were still living on the farm.  The census records that Mary still only lists two surviving children, so it's safe to assume that Mary and Baker never had biological children of their own that lived. However the 1920 Census lists a 6 year-old an adopted son named Irvin Garlitz living with them.  No additional information is available about him.

James Wilson Baker died in 1922 at the age of 59, and Mary died in 1931 at the age of 73.  They are buried together in White Oak Cemetery, the same cemetery as William.  The tombstone James and Mary once shared has since disappeared.

Friday, February 05, 2016

What Does Hallelujah Mean?

The first time I heard this song (many years ago) it touched me.  It's been covered by many artists.  Both the melody and the words are haunting and powerful - but the lyrics are confusing.  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this song is that it likely means something different to everyone who sings or hears it.  The words and lyrics have been added and deleted over time to fit certain situations, but this blog is about the original song.  I've struggled myself to understand the meaning behind Leonard Cohen's lyrics.  And here is an explanation or interpretation that makes the most sense to me:

The logic of the song is there can be many different hallelujah's; "hallelujah" can be expressed in many settings and different circumstances.  Cohen uses this theme to talk about the hardships of love.  There are many biblical references in the song (King David, Samson and Delilah). I will not go in to them, others have already explained these references in great detail.

There are many versions of this song. Even Cohen did not always sing the same verses.  I believe the version he performed during his 2008 tour (maybe still does) is the most logical (complete):

Verse 1: 
Now I've heard there was a secret chord 
That David played, and it pleased the Lord 
But you don't really care for music, do you? 
It goes like this the fourth, the fifth 
The minor fall, the major lift 
The baffled king composing Hallelujah 

David loves music, but his love does not. He does not understand this (is baffled) and tries to explain (the cords are matched by the actual song), thus composing the Hallelujah.  I believe this is about unmatched interests in a relationship.

Verse 2:
Your faith was strong but you needed proof 
You saw her bathing on the roof 
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you 
She tied you to a kitchen chair 
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair 
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah 

The man (David) falls in love, but the relationship is not a healthy one. It ends up with him submitting and losing his power (himself). It is a destructive relationship and the Hallelujah is one of despair.

Verse 3:
Maybe there's a God above
But all I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya.  
And it's not a cry that you hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Maybe the most "black" verse, reflecting on the bitterness of love. When you hear a Hallelujah it's probably not because of joy (seeing the light), but because someone is hurting and the Hallelujah harkens back to a more positive and brighter time.

Verse 4:
Baby I have been here before 
I know this room, I've walked this floor 
I used to live alone before I knew you. 
I've seen your flag on the marble arch 
Love is not a victory march 
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah 

The relationship still exists, but it's hollow. It is like it was when he was alone. He has seen the glorious side of love (the flag on the marble arch), but the love is not lasting and his heart is broken, therefore the Hallelujah is cold and broken.

Verse 5:
There was a time you let me know 
What's really going on below 
But now you never show it to me, do you? 
And remember when I moved in you 
The holy dove was moving too 
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah 

He remembers when things were good, how their lovemaking made him feel like they were really together, and their Hallelujahs were those of joy and ecstasy.

Verse 6:
I did my best, it wasn't much 
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch 
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you 
And even though it all went wrong 
I'll stand before the Lord of Song 
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah 

The conclusion of the song: here Cohen turns from occasionally looking back to completely looking forward.  We try, but often fail in love. We start with the best intentions and though it can go wrong, we still need to try. In the end it is worth it. This Hallelujah is optimistic, because it shows that the hardships have not defeated David.

This last verse is not included in most covers, but for me the last verse makes the song complete. It takes it full circle, bringing back the biblical relationship between the subject and a (the) Lord. It also gives the song a hyperbolic ending, which I prefer.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Iowa Never Picks A Winner*

The first step in voter preference expression for the next President of the United States takes place today in Iowa starting at 7PM CST.

I still cannot understand why the Iowa Caucus is such a big deal.  Historically (*but with one exception) Iowa has rarely chosen the next U.S. President.  The only time since 1972 that the Iowa Caucus predetermined the next non-incumbent president was Barack Obama in 2008.  Let me remind you of who has won the Iowa Caucus over the last 40 years or so.

Note: Candidates in bold eventually won their party's nomination. Candidates also in italics subsequently won the general election.

Democrats - 


per Wikipedia
Not a stellar record, amiright?  Also, let's keep a few things in mind about the Iowa Caucus:
  1. Democratic caucus participants (though not Republicans, whose caucuses vote by secret ballot) must publicly state their opinion and vote, leading to natural problems such as peer pressure from neighbors and embarrassment over who one's preferred candidate might be. Participants are often required to listen to speeches from local political leaders.
  2. An Iowa caucus can last around two hours, preventing people who must work, who are sick, or who must take care of their children from casting their vote.  Plus, for this year a huge snowstorm is expected to whallop Iowa on caucus day.  Lots of people will stay home by choice and necessity.
  3. Each precinct's vote may be weighed differently due to its past voting record. Ties can be solved by picking a name out of a hat or a simple coin toss, leading to anger over the true democratic nature of these caucuses.  Additionally, the representation of the caucus has had a traditionally low turnout.  Others question the permanent feature of having caucuses in certain states, while perpetually ignoring the rest of the country.
Caucuses and primaries are children of the media, designed to whip us all into a frenzy in the guise of being interested Americans.  The only day that matters in this entire production will be in November 2016 when we all (hopefully, all) go out and exercise our rights as Americans to vote for the best person for the job.  Until then, I'm not really paying attention to what happens.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Challenger Disaster - 30 Years Ago

Following the belief that you always remember where you were when you heard horrible news, I am remembering where I was 30 years ago - January 28, 1986 -  when the U.S. Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in the sky a few minutes following takeoff.

I was in my car - my first car - driving to the beach.  My goal was to get a job for the summer, so I drove down for some interviews.  It had snowed a few days before, but the roads were clear and wet.  Dirty water would spray lightly on my windshield and would streak across the glass when I turned on the wipers because my 1979 blue Chevy Chevette was out of washer fluid.  Occasionally I would stop at a fast-food restaurant and get a cup of water to throw on my windshield during the trip.

I was on Route 50 heading east, near Salem, MD when I first heard the news on the radio sometime before noon.  Music stopped that day and the radio was filled with reporters regurgitating the same news over and over, just like they do today when a disaster happens; "experts" trying to make sense of the senseless, explaining their points of view as to what could have happened; it would be weeks before we actually would know.  Six astronauts and 1 teacher died that day, and the teacher's family, students, school district, and many others watched the explosion happen in real time.

I got to Ocean City and had my interview, and I remember talking to my interviewers about what I had heard.  I checked in to the Quality Inn Hotel on 17th Street & the Boardwalk.  I had always wanted to see what that place was like because it looked so nice.  We used to go down to Ocean City every summer and would stay on the bay side up around 30th Street.  The Quality Inn was the only high rise at the time and it was right on the beach.  So I treated myself and got a room on a top floor overlooking the winter ocean.

For the rest of the night, I sat in the room with the lights off and the TV on, watching the coverage of what had occurred earlier in the day.  I kept the balcony drapes open so I could occasionally look up to see the moon shining on the sea.  I ordered a pizza and just watched the news the rest of the night - watching the moment of the explosion time and time and time again.  The media had been everywhere during takeoff because they wanted to capture the emotions of the teacher's family and students as she lifted into space.  So the news replayed the expressions of wonder, then confusion, then horror on the faces of those who knew her and the others.  It was gut-wrenching, but I watched because I grieved for them - part morbid curiosity, part trying to understand what happened myself.

The following morning, I drove back to Frostburg.  I got the job I went after and would move back down to the beach a few months later.  And I eventually added washer fluid to my car.  But I would always remember where I was when I heard the news about the Challenger exploding.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Snows Of Yesteryear

The Troutmans, so far...
Christmas Day
Since I turn 50 in the next few months, I feel that I am now old enough to use the term "back in my day".  I mean, if I am old enough to be a member of AARP, then I have the right to wax sentimental about the days of my youth.

As folks along the east coast dig themselves out from under Winter Storm Jonas, I thought about how the winters have changed since I was a kid.  Back in my day, as I remember it, we didn't have occasional snowstorms that would occur sporadically throughout winter; it would start snowing sometime after Thanksgiving and would continue - for the most part - until March.  There always seemed to be snow on the ground.  There never seemed to be snow, then melting, then nothing, then snow again, like there is now.  It used to snow big time.  And now when it snows, it's big time news.

I remember Mom putting plastic bread bags on our feet before putting our boots on. Whether just walking out to the bus or (eventually) walking to school or playing outside, those damn plastic bags had to go on our feet, regardless.

I remember the ridiculous amount of time it took to get ready before going out sledding or to play in the snow: full snowsuit, boots, hat, gloves, muffler, scarf, and several layers of clothes.  You built up a sweat before even stepping outside.  It became almost impossible to move in that outfit.  Once you fell on the snow, it might take 10 minutes to get back up.

I remember the hats my Grandmother would crochet for us every few years.  They were made from very thick yard and, man, were they warm!  It's missing it's original puffy ball on top, but I still have the one she made me in 1976.  It was red, white, and blue, as was just about everything that year due to the bicentennial.  I still wear it on really cold days.  I haven't found anything the keeps my head as warm.

As you can see, Kevin gets a kick out of it.

I remember walking across the alley and sledding down Carters' hill.  We used cardboard boxes, inner tubes, and wooden tobaggans before plastic sleds were created. The goal was to get as far down into Bowser's yard as possible, disregarding the fact that it would be a really loooong, exhausting walk back up to the top of Carters' hill.  The fun typically ended when someone started crying, either due to snow in the face or just being too cold to continue.  It was the signal that we had been outside too long and it was time to go back in.

I remember shoveling out the driveway . . . A LOT, then hiking over to Granny's house to shovel her sidewalk.

I remember a night when we went to Granny's, and my relatives and neighbors were already there sledding down the hill on her road - at night, running into parked cars and bushes and fences.  Night time was always the best sledding time.  And then we piled into Granny's house for homemade ice cream with Grape Nuts.  Nothing worse than when your insides are as cold as your outsides, but it sure was nice.

I don't actually know how correct I am about all this, but this is how I remember winters: consistent snow from December to March with no real breaks.  If that is so, I imagine it was perhaps harder then, but for some reason it seems simpler.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Going After Old Friends

On a recent trip to NYC, I managed to get a drive-by hug from my dear college friend, Kathy, who was understudy swing for the Broadway production of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.  It was beyond lovely to see her and talk with her again after several years.  Despite chatting now and then on Facebook, I did the math and realized to my horror that I had not actually seen Kathy in about 18 years.

Eighteen years!

Before NYC, the last time I saw Kathy was back in 1998 when I was visiting Chicago from DC and she was performing in the Chicago production of "She Loves Me" or "Crazy For You" or something like that.  No doubt she was fabulous in whatever it was.

    1994                                                    1998                                                2016
It felt sooo good to see her and reconnect with her that I made a new year's resolution that during 2016 I will try to reconnect in person with as many of my old college friends as possible.  It's totally doable, provided of course that they want to see me too.  Fingers crossed.

I'll admit here that I am not the best person in the world when it comes to staying in touch with people.  I think I used to be once because there are entries in my old calendars regarding letters and cards I'd sent to people.  But over time, cherished friendships faded away, in part because I did not hold up my part of the bargain.  I've placed blame on geography and schedule, but the truth is I just didn't work hard enough.  I'm not saying it's completely my fault that my old friendships have faded away, but I will take my share of responsibility.

Some of it possibly stems from my introvert tendencies, while still the ugly feelings of insecurity creep into play.  Being somewhat of a stable force in my 20s and 30s, I had attracted mostly artistic, creative, genius dreamers as my friends, all of whom had gone on to fulfill their passions and have amazing lives and careers while I had remained somewhat constant and, by comparison, boring and predictable.  I would have nothing to contribute to conversations when asked, "what's new?" or "what have you been up to?"  As mentioned before in this blog, it was one of the reasons I wanted to leave DC back in 2005.  When asked, "what are your hobbies?", I simply had no response.

All this changed, of course, once I met Kevin.  Because not only is he the most interesting person I know, he takes me along on his adventures, either physically or spiritually.  And I would love for my old friends to meet him, just as I want to meet the people with whom they are now sharing their lives as well.

So, look out gang - I'm coming (back) for you.  My goal is to add an updated photo next to the last one we had taken.  I hope we get to spend some time together, reconnecting and reminiscing.  You were the most important people in my life for 4+ years, and I want you back.  This is by no means a complete list, but it should serve to get me started:

                                BJ and Me, 1995                                    2016                                  
                                Dane and Me, 1993                           2016                                                   
                                     Dar and Me, 1995                                2016                                  
                                         Jeet and Me, 1993                               2016                                                 
                                     Leigh and Me, 1994                             2016                                       
                                         Paige and Me, 1992                                  2016                                            

Friday, January 08, 2016

School of Rock

I learned something about myself on New Year's Day this year:  I simply cannot see a play or musical about childhood that won't reduce me to a crying mess.  It happened when I saw "Billy Elliot" a few years ago (cried all the way through the Second Act) and it happened again recently when we saw the Broadway production of "School of Rock".

Children on stage =  Dop being a hysterical mess.

The draw to see the show, first of all, is that our friend, Broadway's Michael Hartney, is part of the cast.  And she's hilarious!  I met Michael years ago and spent one of my last night's in DC with him, but we were actually in NYC, then Michael and his friend James came to visit us for Market Days in 2006.  Michael has also recently gained some internet fame and recognition from his original YouTube video about RuPaul's Drag Race's Worst Queen Ever:


Anyway, back to the musical.  Like most people, I wasn't sure what to expect from School of Rock.  First of all, I've never seen the original movie.  That's right, I admit it - didn't see it.  Mostly because I am not a fan of Jack Black.  I don't think he's funny.  So there it is.  Second, I love me some Andrew Lloyd Webber, but I was as skeptical as anyone that he could handle something at noxious as SoR.  But I stand, sit, squat, and kneel corrected.  The songs are amazing.  And the song If Only You Would Listen was the butt-kick to my emotional descent.  And Stick It To The Man is the kids' power song of assuming control.  What kid wouldn't want to sing this song???

We met Michael after the show to congratulate him on the several, hilarious characters he created for the show, and he gave us a backstage tour - my first time standing on a Broadway stage!  It was thrilling!

Kevin and I do a pretty good job at attending the theater.  We fortunately have the same taste so it's easy for us to decide what to see.  Besides SoR, we also saw A Gentleman's Guide To Love And Murder.  Last time we were in NYC, we saw Evita, Peter and the Starcatcher, and, coincidentally, Michael at UCB-East production of Characters Welcome.  In London, we saw Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, Memphis, and The Play That Goes Wrong.  The week before Christmas, we saw Gotta Dance in Chicago.  We get around.

Someday, I will tally up all the shows we've seen over the past 10 years together.  It will impress me.  Until then, I hope to see more of my talented friends trouping the boards.  May they forever keep me laughing and, to some extent, crying.

Monday, January 04, 2016

State Magnets

A few years ago, Kevin and I began collecting magnets for the US States we visit together.  It's been fun for us to be able to see where we've been together and where we still need to go, all in one look.

We don't collect just any magnet.  Our preference is the ones put out by MGI Companies.  Our collection is current (Alaska is just out of the shot in the upper left corner) with two exceptions:  during our recent Christmas trip back east, we passed through Delaware (which has been ordered), and the New Zealand magnet in the lower left was brought back to me when Kevin and Matty spent two weeks in a van traveling around the north and south islands.

We even have a magnet for British Colombia, Canada which we visited during our Alaska cruise in 2013, as well as magnets for all the countries we visited when we were in Europe in October.  As you can see, we will need to hit New England and most of the center of the U.S. (or as people-who-don't-live-here call it, The Heart Land).

We are just about halfway to a completed collection, with many more adventures to follow...

Friday, December 18, 2015

One Day In Oregon

This past weekend, we took a little vacation to Portland, OR to see a few of the (apparently) many friends we have who live in that city.  I say "apparently" because it came as a complete surprise to us just how many people we actually know who live there.  We didn't advertise ahead of time that we were going because we thought we had gotten in touch with the few people we know there.  But once I checked us in to PDX on Facebook, we received several notices from other friends who are also living there without us being aware of it.  Suffice is to say, we may need to make a second trip back soon.

True to form, Kevin and I murdered our vacation.  By that, I mean he and I pack more experiences into a trip than anyone else I know.  We are not ones to sit around.  Rather than recount our entire vacation, let me just give you 1 day as a sample:  Monday, December 14th.

That morning, we woke up and drove to Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook, OR.  It was a sometimes-dicey drive through the Tillamook State Forest due to rain, fog, and even a little snow.  But once we arrived, it was lots of fun.  In the factory, you can actually watch some of the cheese making and wrapping process.  It was actually fun to stand over top of the workers like a boss and watch the processes as the cheese made its way along conveyor belts.  What was cool was to watch the automatic weight devices kick out any block of cheese that didn't meet expectations.  And of course, there were lots of free samples to try, too.  That always makes a trip better!


Once our bellies were sufficiently loaded with lactose, we drove onward to Cannon Beach, OR to photograph the Haystack Rock, or as Kevin knows them, the Triple Stones from Kevin's favorite movie, The Goonies.  Once that was accomplished, we drove a bit further into the town of Astoria, OR to see the "Goonies House" used in the film.  There have been many reports lately of how the current owners, despite originally greetings movie buffs, are now vehemently turning people away.  There are several "No Goonies" signs near the house to keep spectators away.  They've even previously covered the house in blue tarps to dissuade movie fans.  But we got lucky on the day we were there - no tarps.  We got as close to the house as we felt comfortable doing while still respecting the owner's privacy.

Triple Stones & Goonie House
When we take trips, I do most of the driving while Kevin scours apps like Atlas Obscura and other Roadside America to see the weirdness that is the world we live in.  On our way to see the World's Largest Frying Pan, the road we were on closed due to mud slides.  So we re-routed to see the next best thing, the World's Largest Egg in Winlock, WA.

World's Largest Egg, Winlock, WA

After which, we drove on to Olympia, WA to have dinner with friends Peter and Suzanne and their son, Stewart.  Kevin and I have a thing about visiting State Capital buildings (it's a fairly new thing we've started.  So far we have Wisconsin and Texas under our belts).  We popped into the capital building and snapped a few photos.  That would be Kevin sitting in what I assume to be Santa's chair at the base of the tree. 

This whole vacation was a great opportunity for us to see some of our dearest friends who all seem to live in this same part of the world.  Peter is one of Kevin's oldest friends, having gone through high school and college together.  This was also a chance for me to meet their son, Stewart, who I've been watching on Facebook since he was born 3 years ago.  We rounded out dinner with Pete showing us Olympia's Artesian Well at the Artesian Commons, which also has its own Facebook Page.   Both Pete and Kevin had to sample the water.  So far, no cholera!

After our goodbyes, Kevin and I drove the 114 miles back to Portland to our hotel.  All total, this one day we drove about 500 miles round trip; went from sea level to about 3,800 feet above; 
drove through sun, rain, sleet and snow; passed through two states; walked through a state capital building; saw the sites from a movie; ate cheese and sampled many flavors of ice cream; saw the World's Largest Egg; ate seafood; drank from an Artesian well; and saw dear friends.  THIS is how you vacation.
Oh, and the next day?  We climbed a waterfall.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Christmas Songs That Annoy Me

I love Christmas.  I love everything about it.  Even the songs that I've heard every year for the past 50 years still somehow make me feel warm inside.  Every song, that is, except three.  There are three Christmas songs that 1) fortunately only get played once a year, 2) don't really have anything to do with Christmas or the holidays, per se, and 3) are just plain stupid.

The Christmas Shoes
I hate this song so much.  First of all, I can't stand forced sentiment, like when someone writes a song that's supposed to be a tearjerker.  There are lots of country songs that fall into this genre, like Tim McGraw's "Don't Take The Girl" and Kathy Mattea's "Where've You Been?"  But back to these freaking shoes.
So somewhere in the world around Christmas time, a man - and quite possibly other extended members of a family - allow a little boy of undetermined age (let's say 11 or 12?) to break his piggy bank and leave his dying mother's bedside (hospital?  living room sofa?) so that he can go out ALONE to buy a pair of shoes for his mother before she succumbs to whatever illness from which she's been suffering.  She is, I surmise, moments away from potentially "meeting Jesus".  This mother who, apparently, also never allowed her child to believe in Santa Claus since she always "made Christmas good at the house" and "did without" most years. Instead, she chose to teach her child that God only loves you if you sport expensive, material things and show up to meet Him while wearing only your best holiday footwear.  The smelly robe she will most likely die wearing must be inconsequential.
The song even comes with a snooty retail clerk who is not about to demonstrate any Christmas spirit and puts the weight of the purchase back on other consumers when the kid comes up short in the cash department (which we all KNEW would happen). The best part of the song is that the singer seems to have gleaned some kind of Christmas message from the whole experience; an understanding of what Christmas "is all about": sending your kids on a fool's errand to the mall in times of stress so that you don't have to deal with them, thus making them someone else's problem.
Baby It's Cold Outside
Have you ever actually listened to or read the lyrics of this song, specifically the lyrics that are traditionally sung by the woman?  I'll sum them up here: she's being drugged and kept against her will.  Her constant pleas to leave are simply ignored by her selfish date.  She's worried about her family, the neighbors, and her hair.  All he cares about is his pride, his fireplace, and how fast he can dump another "drink" into her.  He won't even lend her a comb!
Yeah, it's a song about date rape and kidnapping. REAL Christmasy, this one.  It's one the creepiest song out there, holiday or otherwise.  And for some reason, it keeps getting recorded by artists and DJ's keep playing it on the radio over and over.  It's in heavy rotation during the holidays and I've no idea why?  "Think of my lifelong sorrow" of having to listen to this song for another couple of decades.

Twelve Days of Christmas
This song is essentially the holiday equivalent to 99 Bottle Of Beer On The Wall.  It's. So. Boring.  And for some reason, it's hard for people to remember.  Which is understandable because it makes no sense.  If my true love showed up at my house at Christmas with a marching band, dancers, and geese, I'd kick him in his holly and berries.   
And what exactly ARE the 12 days of Christmas?  When does it start or end?  And who thought up that Christmas list.  Would the giver really be your true love if they gave you all this stuff?  Is the true love an ornithologist?  What's the fascination with fowl: swans, geese, turtle doves, calling birds, french hens and a partridge??  Can you imagine the stick from all of those things?  How fast would you be packing your stuff and running out the back door?
So that's my cringe-worthy list.  Every time these songs come on the radio, I grunt my best Grinch-grunt and roll my eyes.  I'd love for all three of them to be removed from rotation.  But alas, they are part of the fabric of Christmas.  Perhaps easy to overlook in the grand scheme of things.

But still...