PDT Staff Writer
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. Brown paper packages tied up with strings. These are a few of my favorite things. I hear that a lot these days, with the holiday season here, that song gets played a lot on stations playing Christmas music.
But I was lying in bed early Tuesday morning, when I began to think, “what are a few of my favorite things this time of year?” There are things I look forward to every year at this time. Some of them usher in the Christmas season, while others sustain it.
I don’t feel in the Christmas spirit until I have been to my friend Jim Spinnati’s “Christmas Gift to Portsmouth” musical extravaganza. Year after year he has brought great talent to the stage of the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts on the campus of Shawnee State University. Of course my favorite performers are Joy Jones and her boys, or should I say, young men. The Bushes and Tracy Tooley, Steve Foster, the Diggles, and Danny Bentley, all get me ready for the holiday season ahead.
I see the red kettles of America’s best charity, the Salvation Army and I am reminded that the Salvation Army is where I grew up. I hung around there every week, whether it was to attend Boy Scouts, led by Bill Allwith, or to go to church services, the Salvation Army provides for the needs of a lot of people, and I trust you have given to them generously this year because the truth is, there are more people in need these days.
I drag out my CDs — Mannheim Steamroller, The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Steve Tyrell, Frank Sinatra, and one must never forget our very own Steve Free. It’s the time of year when hugs are shared more than any other time, and I love huggers. People are smiling. Stores are packed with customers, which is great for the economy. And, since I mention shopping, please, do not forget to save a few dollars to shop local stores. I can tell you, if you go through the Main Street Portsmouth stores, you will find many unique one-of-a-kind items.
Christmas parties at work are great. I always eat way too much, but it’s fun while it lasts.
My favorite things that are only available this time of year are as follows: All the great gingerbread treats and pumpkin goodies at Tim Horton’s; I am an egg nog and fruitcake freak. That’s right, I readily admit to loving fruitcake. If you don’t want yours, bring it to me. My favorite beverage - Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash soda, is only available for a limited time. Joyce and I go through a lot of that. Then, Nancy and Don McDowell always bring me a bag of coffee from Hawaii, which I use all winter long.
A Christmas season would not be complete without a trip to Ohio Christian University to see their magnificent light display. There’s a house on 11th Street near Gatti’s with the best display of lights in town, and I wait for that every year. Speaking of Gatti’s, it is Joyce and my pleasure to host our annual party there for the wonderful people in our Sunday School class. It is always fun. Tim is a great host. The food and the atmosphere are great. Janice and Curtis Shanks put out their Christmas village display each year. That display will transport you back in time.
Here at the office, everyone knows I wait for one thing every year — Elizabeth Blevins’ homemade candy. To tell you there is nothing else like it on earth is an understatement. It is caramel, made by boiling a sealed can of condensed milk for four hours and putting it in the refrigerator overnight, then rolling that caramel in pecans and covering it in chocolate. Elizabeth is one of my favorite people, and the fact that she makes great candy, and great pies too, just adds to what makes her special to me. By the way, she is an asset to Shawnee State University as well. There may be no end to her talents.
Now, let’s get down to the things that bless me at Christmas time. I love the beautiful nativity display in front of the Brant Funeral Service in Sciotoville, the subtle yet powerful message displayed at Scioto Smiles, the trumpeter ringing the bells in front of Walmart, and most of all, the simple, yet poignant message of God’s love, robing himself in the body of a baby, and coming into this world to impart eternal salvation.
Isaiah 9:6 reads - “For unto us a child is born. Unto us a son is given. And the government shall be upon his shoulder. And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.