Letters to the Editor
A (sort of) Christmas tree story
(Ms. Evans wrote this letter after reading our Dec. 13 story about sculptor Kiptoo Tarus.)
Editor, The Sun:
In 1870, Mayme Cogar, future Midway Postmistress and Baptist Church pianist, moved with her family from The Pinkerton Rouse House across the street into a house her grandfather built. In the side yard, there was a small red cedar tree that, because of her birth date (Dec. 9), age (young) and/or enthusiasm, became known as Mayme’s Christmas tree. It remained just that for the 103 years of her exemplary life. The tree was striking and could be seen peeking over other Winter Street trees from the tops of hills around Midway until 2006, when an ice storm took out the top third. Finally, this summer, I had the remainder of the tree removed and John Moore, John Creech and Doris Ott got the stump moved to the Versailles Montessori School. In particular, Doris gifted this stump to the school where her sons get their education.
Enter Kiptoo Tarus, a Kenyan-born artist and friend of Nick Guagliardo (son of the Montessori School principal). Incidentally, Kiptoo is a friend to whom my daughter and I donated some of our husband/father’s (Joel Evans) woodworking tools. It turns out that about the same time that Joel’s Santa Claus posters were going up in downtown Midway, Kiptoo released the red-tailed hawk from inside that cedar stump to “cut through the wind.” Now, all these ancestors are waiting for the next adventure of this cedar tree.
Editor, The Sun:
Can you remember when you could just enjoy Christmas and didn’t have to worry about the expense of it all? Wasn’t that a golden time! Recapture the moment of your childhood when a live cedar tree was carried in, filling the house with its fragrance of Christmas. Try to recall sitting in front of the tree gazing into the shiny ornaments, the look of wonder on your own face looking back.
Remember begging to open just one present before Christmas morning? Can you still feel the magic of listening for sleigh bells and hoping to catch a glimpse of the jolly old fellow himself? In your mind’s eye, he ascended into a starry sky pulled by a team of graceful reindeer. Christmas morning finally came, with toys under the tree, especially the one item for which your heart had a passion. If your parents were creative, there were boot tracks of snow on the hearth, weather permitting.
There were stockings hung with care and cookies and milk you had left for Santa. Later in the day, a visit to the grandparent’s home, where perhaps you shared your toys with cousins, then enjoyed a meal with family.
Picture the food that was served, a golden turkey, homemade dressing and cranberry sauce. But best of all was Grandmother’s coconut cake and boiled custard. The combination of the two flavors was indescribable and unforgettable.
To sum it all up, Christmas was the best time of the year; now you have come full circle. You find yourself on the other end of the spectrum. You are the parent. It’s your turn to make sure Santa has all the right items on his list, that the tree lights are on, and the camera ready. You are the magician and your children are the audience.
Somehow, it’s hard to tell if it is more fun being the child or the parent. Now you find that your greatest joy at Christmas is seeing it through the eyes of your children and grandchildren. It reminds us of the way we were. Cherish these memories, for they are the best days of our lives.
Thanks to holiday workers
Editor, The Sun:
As many of us gather with family and friends during the holiday season, we often take for granted those who are serving us instead of serving mashed potatoes during this time. We should be mindful of those who put the needs of their community unselfishly ahead of their own comforts.
Like always, our dedicated police, fire, EMS personnel will be working round the clock over the holidays, and if you dial 9-1-1, there will be someone to answer the phone and dispatch a first responder to the scene. If bad guys rear their heads on Christmas, the jail will be fully staffed and ready for another intake.
Another group of city employees who are oft forgotten but are at the ready are our Public Works employees. Not only will the water treatment plant and sewer treatment plant be staffed on Christmas Day, there is a team ready to come out and repair any water main breaks or tend to any issues that may arise. Should the weatherman deliver a white Christmas, the local and state road departments will make sure our travel to and fro Christmas gatherings is safer than going over the river and through the woods.
In addition to these upstanding men and women we are blessed to employ locally, there will be others working while we’re unwrapping. Many health care providers will report to work as if it is a normal day. Our own Bluegrass Community Hospital will be receiving patients in the emergency room on Christmas Day. Also, the recent trend of retailers and restaurants staying open on holidays has caused many service industry employees to sacrifice time with their families. Many gas stations and convenience stores remain open for people to make last-minute purchases to complete their meals.
Finally, we must remember the military personnel who protect us year-round. Thousands of brave men and women are still serving in combat roles in the most unstable regions of our world. There are also soldiers stationed at countless bases around the globe and on naval carriers in the middle of sea. These heroes are sacrificing Christmas with their families so that we may have peace at home to celebrate with ours.
Let us not forget the reason for the season or the people that allow us to enjoy this time without fear or worry. Their sacrifices often go unnoticed, but they deliver to us the greatest gifts of all. Brian Traugott