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The Glenville Democrat
Glenville, West Virginia
December 25, 2003     The Glenville Democrat
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December 25, 2003

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A fife-long Christmas story and other Christmas means different things to differ- ent people. ' To my 23-year-old son, Patrick, when asked, "When did you feel that you became an adult?," his reply was, "When I stopped getting a lot of Christmas presents." To other young people, their coming of age as an adult may have been another experience, some joyful like being able to drive a car for the first time and others, sorrowful tragedies like being battered by a cruel parent. To older people, Christmas can often-times be traumatic, especially i fit is the first holiday season without a loved one around. One of our readers wrote an excellent account of his father's passing at about Yuletide, and how sad it made him feel -- keeping this emotion to himself and from his later family for years. He, then, asked for us editors to return it because he wasn't ready to publicly expose his sadness. Hence, our Christmases -- every one of them -- do form our attitudes about life to a lessor or greater extent. The early years As a small youngster, I was always fright- ened of the large, imposing Santa Claus, even though I shouldn't have been. You could see some of that same fear in the eyes of the tiny ones visiting Glenviile City Hall for the Junior Woman's Club's Christmas Party after the parade on December 6, as they were urged by their parents to sit on Santa's knee. My parents used to say that I'd "get a bundle of switches," if I weren't good. The threat worked --- at least for a couple of months before Christmas. Dad, later, always told me the story that as a young boy, he ran and hid under his family's front-room sofa and couldn't be coaxed out, after seeing that Santa was carrying in a big bundle of'switches. Maybe it worked because Dad was the closest person to being a saint that I've ever known. (So, there may still be some hope for me, too!) On the other hand, as I grew older, Christ- mases became the most pleasant experiences that I can remember. All of the relatives from afar came to visit, everyone was upbeat and cheerful and the spirit of joy pervaded our Christmas Eve visits from Santa and gift ex- changes. I suspect that I was either lucky or spoiled because rd usually get the toy that had been longed for and requested. Ever seen "The Rocketeer" movie? There was an early TV series along the same line -- a man who strapped a rocket to his back and could fly anywhere. Like Superman, he'd use his extraordinarily mechanical contraption and power to help mankind. I had wanted one of those rocket suits badly, but didn't get it that particular Christmas. My Aunt Evelyn, how- ever, got Morn and Dad off the hook by recounting that she'd gone to all of the toy stores and the mechanic shops in the city, but they informed her that such a device didn't exist. I still don't think it does, and if it did, I The Corcoran Column By David H Corc~an Pubti~'-Edaor wouldn't be the one who'd be trying it out. Nevertheless, our family's Christmas Eve focus was not on the toys, but Santa would ask us to say our prayers to see if we remem- bered them. Then, after that exercise, we'd also sing a Christmas Carol or two to Mom's piano selections before tying into the gift unwrapping. The teen years Reality was starting to set in, as it was cool not to believe in Santa Claus. Also, it was neat seeing all of the little family members, espe- cially the pests, cringe at Santa's procedures like we did years before. The adults began to engage us in adult conversations, too. This was joyful, in that we were thought well-enough of to be in- cluded. In addition, we were old enough to go to the midnight church service in order to bring in the long-anticipated Christmas day itself. The candles, songs and prayers made for an emo- tional event that we looked forward to. Finally, with the advent of girlfriends, this gave us teenage boys an ideal opportunity to exit our family gatherings -- with some degree of having a good excuse -- when the action started to lag behind in order to visit the girlfriend's home and family. My older brother, T.A., particularly got away with this tactic, as he "just had to" visit his wife-to-be's home. During the college years and thereafter, I'd usually spend most of the evening with my family, but, then, break away to perhaps get together with an old high school chum, like Dave Ehlers or Jim Muller, for the midnight service. It was all good! The new family Then, when I got my own family, the procedure became an amalgamation of both my wife's Hungarian-English traditions and my own Irish-German ways. Hers dictated that Santa Claus came during the darkness of early Christmas morning, descended the chimney with the gifts, placed them under the tree and ate a snack left by the fireplace before he left. All of the presents were from Santa, too, not from the parents or aunts and uncles, like in my household. As a compromise, we'd exchange our smaller gifts on Christmas Eve,but let Santa bring the bigger ones down the chimney for the morning. Also, we'd talk a little about the real meaning of Christmas and I'd read them a holiday story/poem like "Twas" the Night Yuletide well-wishes Before Christmas." I liked that tradition. This combined Christmas, wedding the husband and wife's traditions, worked rather well for us, especially on Christmas morning when our sleepy children would become big- eyed and give their "million dollar" smiles upon coming down the stairs and seeing the gifts under the tree. Those types of memories are precious. The Adult Years Once a divorced lady told me that having a quiet Christmas, without a whole lot of family around, was her greatest joy. It seems that from the outset oftbeir marriage, all of her in- laws would descend upon their home, thereby expecting her to entertain the large family and, then, moving with them for several other days of celebration from one family's house- hold to all of the others. I can see why she breathed easier after the divorce. Unfortunately, when we become adults, we have certain expectations for the holiday ma- son that we want met, "come h--- or high water." As a result, tension and arguments arise among family members. I may have felt some of this stress, but the good times have certainly blocked it out of my memory. Do you find Christmas creating such anxi- eties? Also, when your children grow up and get out on their own, they begin to do their own individualized celebrations with their fami- lies and friends --- this "empty nest" syn- drome can become somewhat stressful for mom and dad. Divorce or the death of a spouse makes the situation worse. Many older people are faced with a new, perhaps undesirable phenomenon -- being all alone during the holidays. rm rather fortunate in that respect, in that my daughter and son-in-law live next to me. That's good for me, but I still worry about our area's seniors who have no one at or near their homes. Simultaneously, and going back to the ba- sics of Holy Day, our rural community still has quite a few church services going on during the holiday season. These give lonely people a chance to find some socialization and peace of mind, to say nothing of the spiritual boost that accrues to such activities. Indeed, the Christmas season is what you make of it. If your focus is on the Christ Child ---- the birth of the Savior of the world, that's a gigantic asset for creating one's positive atti- tude in itself -- even if you are celebrating with family, friends or, as I've indicated, all alone. Then again, please remember that you al- ways have friends here at The Glenville Demo- cratand Pathfinder. If you get to feeling too blue, call me at 462-4643 and rll cheer you up. Yes, this is interactive journalism at its best, conveying my "Merry Cb-~stmas" to YOU Pea/- serially. If you don't call, however, then this will have to suffice: "Merry Christmas to all of you readers and to all a good night!" Musings of an oldtimer --- Time on By Frances Myers Schmetzer For the past week or so, I have been pattie- paring in Christmas celebrations --- a parade, several song and dance programs, parties with one organ|zation after another, luncheons, dinners and open houses -- and all have been delightful Last Saturday I sawed down a "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree. The house from California that day. I will miss Christ- got cleaned and decorated before my student mas Eve church services because of late travel party, with a great deal of help from my two from the Charleston airport. Japanese renters, I hope you are finding the same joy in the The two girls have finished their Associate season that I have experienced and that your degrees and will move back to Japan, leaving coming year is filled with happy surprises. Christmas Eve. Daughter Peggy comes in Merry Christmas! ~!}!{i:!}iiiii {iii;{ii~iii~ !ii}!}i!i~}ii{{~!!,~i+!ii!ii i i i: I m :" Who is a Certified Community Developer? Dear Editor, I have seen several references in the Demo- crat to Jim Fealy being a "certified commu- nity developer." While he did recently attend a seminar m Charleston, so did Angle Linger, . llSheila, and Donna Waddell. In actual- I; .ty, theonly certified community developer" inGilmerCountyisDonnaWaddell, asmerely ested citizens go to seminars to learn what attending that seminar does not "certify" a they can do to make our county a better place person; Donna has taken the classes and passed to live. If we are to congratulate one person the test for that certification. This is one of the for doing this (Jim), we should alsc give the many reasons she is so valuable to our Gilmer sa_me kudos to Donna, Angle, and Sneila! County Family Resource Network. Karen Pennebaker, It is a credit to Gilmer County that inter- Troy, De=, Ed/tor, I would like to comment on Ms. R.L. Pritt's letter in the Dec. 18, 2003 edition about "Witchraft, Harry Potter and the Lost Genera- tion." Firsdy, I would like to ask Ms. Pritt if she has read any of the Harry Potter books, or if she is just speaking from ignorance about things she has heard from others? Because if she has not read the books, she really should not speak of things she does not Read the books first,t blocked the memory. Because there was another witch in Cinderella, a good witch who lives. What about her, Ms. Pritt, did you and your friends clap about her living? Or did you BOOO? As with most childrens' booEs, if you will ever take the time to read them, you will notice that there is almost always "good vs evil". Even in the Bible, Ms. Pritt, there is "good vs evil." Are you suggesting that no child should be allowed to read the Bible because of this? know anything about. If she has read the Ms. Pritt, I have read ALL five Harry Potter books, and stillhas the same conclusion about, books, the Bible, Lord of the Rings, Wizard of Harry Potter, I am only left to wonder how she Oz and hundreds more books, childrens' and finds Lord of the Rings, Wizard of Oz, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, (of which she talks) and on, and on... You see, Ms. Pritt talks about how when "the witch fell over the cliff, all the children clapped because the wicked witch was dead," but either she needs to rewatch it or has just adults', and can tell you that if you want to take all "bad" out of books, children's or adult's, whether lost or not, will never, ever be allowed to read another book. Plus, if you go to Wal-Mart, Walden Books, Books-A-Million or K-Mart, you will notice that once more you are wrong. Harry Potter is NOT by the "how to kit on witchcraft." In Wal-Mart, it is by the Bibles, In Walden Books in Clarksburg they are in the "children's section" with the rest of the children's books, and in Books-A-Million they are in the center aisle by Lord of the Rings, with the Travel section on one side and History on the other, in K-Mart, they are with the rest of the books, like Wal-Mart. Please check your facts Ms. Pritt, for I most surely checked mine. Someone who has read the books and can therefore talk intelligently about them, waits with bated breath for the next Harry Potter book to be published so the adventure can continue. Fred Waldrop Troy, for next week's newspaper) Our 'Letters to the Editor' Policy We ave in need of more letters to the editor. Feel free to send them in to us. sign the letter via snail mail. Deadlines for leuers are Mondays at 10 a.m. for remember our policy on the letters, that week's paper. After 10 a.m., they can be accepted for that week as pa/d newspapers have long been the sounding boards for political, aavertisemenrs. However, it would appear for free in a future edition. and patriotic.views and this paper is no exceptionr Also, for writers who consistently semi in Letters week after week, these alive to writing responses, please keep in mind our Editorial Policy: we messages are constantly evaluated as to content and to purpose, so they may accept iette~ on a space available basis only and they will be subject to be con stdeted as an advertisement, especially iftbey are weekly, lengthy, and the Editor's scru!my as to content relative to libel, good taste and timeliness. is the case and will be charged only our regular advertising rate. A good length. ~.~d~ly one to one-and-a-half standard typing pages, repetitious of previous letters. Nevertheless, you will be contacted if the latter double-spaced, decision of the Senior Editor will be final. Letters must " For more information, contact either DaveCorcoran, Sr. or Jodi at 304-462- be sigr, ed in order to be published - e-mailed letters must include a phone 7309. numtx~ where your identity can be verified, but you may still be required to - Last Issue Before Election: News, Letters, & Ads ~ The long-standing policy of this newspaper has always been that if, in the issue before an election, one candidate or citizen makes allegations about another candida~, of i~s~n,o~t the other party ~ given the right of reb. uttM. .rs of this newspaper know that we editors have had this policy in effect for the past etgnt years, ~,-raer to matte certmn mat the joumm|sttc aria emtcal pn nctples of fairness and equality be assured on these pages relative to both the news ~a~d. advertising side. ' ' ' i i i i i ,11 , i ii I Id As we Gilmer Countians approach this year's Christmas Holiday, we all have much to be thankful for! First of all, our area's military service personnel in the Iraqi War have been kept out of harm's way during 2003. This matter is one of great importance, and we local people will have to keep them in our prayers during this Christmas Holiday. Indeed, these servicemen and women are sacrificing much personal safety and time away from their families for their country by trying to bring about peace in that despotic and war-torn Middle Eastern land. Moreover, by being in a strange country with strange customs at Christmastide, they, no doubt, badly miss the warmth and fellowship of their families back here at home. Their empty seats at the Christmas tables will be noticed. As a result, it would be appropriate and timely for each of us not to forget them, but, instead, to write a short note to those whom we know, thanking them for their bravery and democratic spirit. Secondly, Gilmer County is growing, so many more commercial services have been added during this past year. We can be thankful for these expanded products and services, showing our appreciation by eating out more often atour local restaurants and shopping first at our area's businesses that advertise in this newspaper. Their ads are cordial invitations for Gilmer Countians to stop in, to look around and to take advantage of many good opportunities. Thirdly, we can be thankful for the dedication and professionalism of all of our public servants. They really came to our aid during the November 19-20 Flood that devastated many parts of this county and the state. Without the help of our emergencies personnel, many people would have been without hope. In fact, one family had to be evacuated from their home and several others had to utilize the public shelter at the Gilmer County Recreation Center. This flood was truly a bad one. Fourthly, our area people's vigilance, and the statewide support for Glenviile State College that followed, essentially saved the school from the Legislature and Higher Education Policy Commission's ill-advised closure plans. The public outcry to maintain GSC as a functioning and essential higher education component within the state college system was truly inspirational. Moreover; since then, the college's growingly successful efforts to attract new students and retain the current ones deserve much praise. New president, Dr. Robert Freeman's, motto for success of "Recruitment, Retention and Revitalization" is the right initiative for the right time. Additionally, Mr. Larry Baker, associate vice-president for technology, has done a splendid job in building the initial bridge between rural GSC and nationally- prominent Carnegie Mqllon University (CMU). Their combined project to install a broadband Internet access option here is especially deserving of commendation because no other small town in the state has this useful computer feature. So, kudos to Mr. Baker and his small but resourceful staff, as well as to their counterparts in Pittsburgh in John Whitehill, Dr. Bruce Maggs and the entire staff of CMU's Center for Appalachian Network Access (CANA), for working hard to make this project happen and to create a new commercial option for local businesses, especially the smaller ones. And, after GSC's beautiful Christmas musical performances and'the President's Open House, what else can we praise the college for? Truly, the college is striving to become an enriching institution for our entire community. We haven't seen such concern and closeness between the town and gown in many years. Finally, the federal prison has helped to bolster this community in its own quiet and steady-paced way. The federal employees there are beginning to feel right at home here, so this has been a benefit to many of our businesses and churches in particular. We editors certainly wish Warden Bryan Biedsoe, Associate Wardens J. D. Hill and Ron McLeod and the entire staff well as they approach their first full year of operation next January. Although many notable events have transpired during 2003, we editors, in the main, wish to thank our readers, subscribers, advertisers and news sources for a most successful year. By everyone working together, Glenviile and Gilmer County can have small, yet effective community newspapers, providing "all the news that's fit to print" with an at-home flavor. With sincerity, Merry Christmas to you all! DItC, Sr., Publisher-Editor Want a 'historic and scenic' walk? WHAT DID HORACE GREELEY QUOTE ONCE ABOYTTNE POTEM1AL OF GOING ANOTHER TRAIL ? 11118 (NOT JUST ANOTHER COW'S PATH): ON GLENVILLE'S 'RIVER TRAILr -- During this week of Christmas, George Harper, our newspaper's cartoonist and a Glenville State College art professor emeritus, couldn't think of a better present from Santa Claus to the city of Gienville and Gilmer County than the proposed new River Trail. The walking path is designed to link downtown Glenville and Gienville State College to the Hays City commercial area. In the main, it would make for a, safer path for college students to walk out to Hays City and back than strolling along the dangerous SR's 5/33/119 where pedestrian deaths have occurred. Additionally, it will be an excellent hiking and fitness trail next to the scenic and historic Little Kanawha River, just like the popular railroad trails are in Morgantown and along SR 50 in Ritchie and Doddridge counties. Although the pace of getting this project underway has been slow to-date, the city of Glenville is cooperating with the Gilmer County Commission and the Economic Development Association in order to make this dream of a river trail come true with the help of a $280,000 governmental grant project. Congratulations to these three ~ic bodies, along with the local Little Kanawha River Trail Coordinating Committee which is headed up by the Gilmer County Family Resource Network. Finally, with an eye to this wonderful season, George and Sharon Harper si~rely wish all of you readers a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. ; i