“The flute calms the spirit and penetrates the ear with such sweet sound that it brings peace and an abeyance of motion unto the soul. And should some sorrow dwell in the mind, a care that wine cannot make us forget and banish, it lulls us to sleep and is balm on account of its sweet and gracious sound, provided that it adheres to modest music and does not excite and inflame the soul with too many notes and passages, which would weaken it and could easily come to grief on account of the wine.”

–Meylan, in The Flute, p.11

Well…………..It’s that time of year again….Time to pass along some holiday cheer, if there’s any to be found. I realize the domestic economy has tanked, and has become a sea anchor for the global economy as well. Internationally, we’re engaged in drug wars, wars of pacification, wars of democratization, and wars I suspect are just to try out new toys. I also realize the top five products currently available to U.S. consumers, at bargain prices, are Portland cement, shoe polish, corn tortillas, paper cocktail umbrellas, and my flutes. I think I read that in Forbes.

Now I don’t expect you to pass up the great deals out there on Portland cement, but I will again be lowering the price of my flutes for the month of December. Typically I lower the prices by 10%, but this year will be a little different. I’ll be figuring the cost of materials for each flute, as well as an hourly wage typical of a car wash employee…like the old days. Some flutes will go down in price significantly, some, not so significantly, and some … not at all.

I suspect this holiday shopping season will be completely avoided by most consumers. Everybody is broke, and I understand that. However, if you DO find yourself caught up in the Christmas season, torn between purchasing one of my flutes, or a live pony and little cowpoke outfit for your child, please keep in mind, you don’t have to feed a flute, and you’ll never need a shovel.

The domestic economic downturn has created an interesting set of circumstances for what, 6 months ago, was a marginally thriving middle class. Specifically, food banks across the nation are operating at the lowest inventory levels in their history. With unemployment approaching double digits, as well as nest eggs, investment portfolios, and emergency funds simply vanishing over a period of about 10 weeks, our middle class has been forced to utilize food banks themselves…at unprecedented levels. The food banks are starting to run on empty.

Now I haven’t had an original thought since I was about 6 years old, and today is no exception. However, my wife mentioned a plan that I find to have serious merit. During this season of giving, particularly for colleagues and extended family members, rather than give a fruitcake, or cellophane covered wicker basket full of cheese and soap that you can’t tell apart, make a donation to your local food bank, on behalf of one another. Specifically, make a cash donation for one another, because the food bank people can buy food at lower cost than we can. Everybody wins. Plus, you don’t find yourself in the shower, lathering up with a bar of cheese. Additionally, here at Rancho Relaxo, and the world headquarters of Querencia Woodwinds, for the sake of energy conservation, I will probably tone down the seasonal exterior lighting, and forgo the opportunity to make my home look like a Third World liquor store. I’m hoping I can resume that activity again next year.

In closing, I’m reminded of the phrase “Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward men,” or all, or something. I don’t know if it came from the Bible, Santa Claus, or Hallmark. In any event, it’s truly my wish for everyone this season. Rich Halliburton/Querencia Woodwinds.