Everybody have a James Franco Christmas, whatever that is

When I woke up last weekend, I had what I thought was a great column idea: Francophilic Christmas. Which, I guess, would be Christmas in the French tradition. I don’t even know what that is. I attribute this to the fog that surrounds my brain when I first wake up, and that I watched the Comedy Central Roast of James Franco right before bed. Oh, by the way, never watch the Comedy Central Roast of James Franco, before bed or otherwise.

Once I determined that this idea was authentic gibberish, I had to come up with another idea. However, I was continuously distracted by the ongoing blast of train whistles coming from outside. Not just one, but like hours straight of train whistles, of many varieties and tones and pitches. Then, I also determined that today must be the train whistle festival they have at the B&O Station near my house, a former train station turned banquet hall/brewery. Mystery solved, but concentration broken.

Churning 300-plus words about train whistles didn’t seem like an option, though I could think of plenty of words to sum up being awoken by a half dozen train whistles going off all at once and continuing all day long. Seriously, B&O, I love you, but the first time you did train whistle day I thought we were under siege.

So what to write now? I went to the Christmas at the Mill festival to clear my head. Mill Creek MetroParks decks out Lanterman’s Mill with festive decor and merchants selling Christmasy stuff and there’s bands playing and chestnuts roasting and cocoa on the ready. If you’ve never been to Lanterman’s Mill in the winter, it sure is a treat. Thomas Kinkade has nothing on this. Save yourself a bundle and just take a nice photo of the mill decorated with wreaths and boughs, and the waterfalls surrounded by the wintry forest, hang it above the fireplace and call it a day.

I must have arrived at the tail end of the chestnut roasting, because they were enforcing a strict one-chestnut-per-person rule. Cracking it open nonetheless, I found even one chestnut is yummy, and made my gloves smell like savory chestnut smoke all day. Informative handouts filled with chestnut facts were available, such as the great chestnut blight that wiped out the local supply in the 1800s. Well, whatddya know about that.

I was still trying to think of something to write about when inspiration struck – or rather, I my foot struck the icy step on my back porch. Mentally noting to put some ice melt on that step, I thought, ice … snow … winter … a column about sled riding, or the best kind of snow for snowmen and snowball fighting could work.

But I already wrote about the sled hill at Packard Park and the number of child casualties it claimed on the bumpy slope. Snow quality is always a debatable topic, but I am still in denial about the snow and am not sure anyone really wants to think about it being out there and on the ground just yet. FYI, good-packing snow has to crunch just right, and everyone knows that December snowflakes are no good for catching in your mouth. That was the one thing Lucy from Peanuts ever said that wasn’t disposable.

So, I guess I’ll write about how last week I came up with an idea for fleece-lined leggings for girls to wear and avoid the cold, and fleece-lined pants in general so people don’t freeze below the coat line in winter, but then found out this stuff already existed, was dismayed, and vowed never to come up with an idea again. So here we are. All I got is a James Franco Christmas, or whatever that baloney was I was thinking earlier. Comedy Central, get on it.

Did you have visions of James Franco dancing in your head? Email me at ssepanek@tribtoday.com, or comment on this story at www.tribtoday.com.