“Christmas is not as much about opening presents as it is about opening our hearts.”
Here we are again: Christmas. Already! Can you feel it? Because it is definitely in the air, especially in that sub-freezing blast that just blew thru.
But that’s part of what makes this time of year so overwhelmingly magical, with everything all decorated, lit up, and festive, with the excitement building throughout the month. It’s just a neat season; people seem to act kinder, to treat each other a little nicer, to show a little more respect, are just friendlier, at this time of year.
In fact, I was walking into Sprint the other morning to grab a cup of coffee and some stranger even stopped to hold the door for me, then wished me a Merry Christmas. That’s kind of nice, ya know.
But while some private citizens and organizations – and strangers holding doors for strangers – go above and beyond the call to make the Christmas season as special as possible for others, many public servants are just as concerned about the year-round, ho-hum, mundane, day-to-day operations – that can potentially suddenly erupt into crises that possibly put the entire general public at risk or in hardship, and place these individuals in danger or difficult and trying situations.
On that note, I present THANKS FOR CARING CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS to:
All local Law Enforcement/Emergency Management/Fire/Rescue and other First Responders who without hesitation will race to the aid of their fellow man without concern for their own safety, and who dedicate endless hours prepping and training for public safety matters ranging from manhunts, to possible community disasters such as rapidly-developing weather-related events, including tornadoes or hurricanes, to protecting us from chemical truck or rail spills, or other such occurrences, which might pose public health concerns. EVERY day.
Likewise, often unappreciated – until you really need them, a BIG Thank You goes out to all Linemen and Utility Support Crews who brave weather – blistering hot, or freezing rain – that you wouldn’t send a cur dog out in, and work tirelessly, from one outage to the next, hour after hour, practically without ceasing, trying their very level best to re-establish as much service as humanly possible, as fast as humanly possible, often assigning their own family concerns a lower priority than those of their customer. Hurricane Matthew reminded us – yet again – how valuable these Hometown Heroes are.
A jewel in our midst, the Marlboro Civic Center is truly an absolute treasure. Just this month the Civic Center has hosted a wide variety of student-based musical shows, as well earlier this year the wildly popular Lip Sync Battle, another excellent Marlboro Players production, the sold-out Clint Black concert, and a multitude of other events that, well, really just wouldn’t have worked out near as well, if at all, at any other local venue. And it’s time to step up and help support the grand old dame celebrate her 100th birthday in 2017, with several fund-raising programs expected to help pay for much-needed renovations, including an additional opportunity to have a personalized brick installed in the sidewalk in front of the facility, maybe commemorating a class year, or participation in a stage production, or honoring a family member. Or celebrating a national football championship, perhaps? Just saying…
For over a decade, there’s been a glow in the sky at night north of Bennettsville for a couple months just after Halloween as Michael Adams has fired up Candy Cane Wonderland, and warmed the hearts of toddlers young and old alike from miles around with Christmas inflatables, lights, dancing figures, and seasonal songs in his drive-thru display on Family Farm Road that has, over time, become a tradition for many area families. Adams’ display is but the centerpiece of a multitude of fantastic light shows put together by residents throughout the county – some even timed to display in sequence to music — and every one just makes it all the merrier. Not to be outdone, downtown merchants and city and town support crews throughout the county have also done a great job of decorating their storefronts and main thoroughfares, and it makes driving thru them a joy, and reflects well of all of us to passing motorists.
Lastly, I want to give a big, plump, stocking to us…me and you, each other. We’re pretty unique. We’re just one big community. When one hurts, we all hurt. And we lost some this year. Thru accident, and incident. Both young, and old; some sudden, and some slow. We leaned on each other thru wins and losses, thru wind and rain, thru flood and fire. And stood and awaited more; whatever was next. Like the old saying goes, “Bring it.” Because we don’t back down, just lean on a neighbor and carry on. I always tell people, ”Yeah, I’m from Marlboro. And we may be poor…but we’re proud.” And I am proud to be one of “us”.
As you can probably tell by now, I love quotes, and here’s another that’s most apt, especially to these times, this one courtesy of trusty old Bob Hope, who said:
“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”
We don’t. There’s no reason to wait, folks. Absolutely none. But the good news is, loving others is what we’re best at; that’s how He made us. Go out and prove it.
May each of you have a safe and joyous Christmas.