Saluda News & Notations: It was almost the worst Christmas ever, but then …

Published 1:31 pm Thursday, December 28, 2017

May you grow still enough to hear the small noises earth makes in preparing for the long sleep of winter, so that you yourself may grow calm and grounded deep within. May you grow still enough to hear the trickling of water seeping into the ground, so that your soul may be softened and healed, and guided in its flow. May you grow still enough to hear the splintering of starlight in the winter sky and the roar at earth’s fiery core. May you grow still enough to hear the stir of a single snowflake in the air, so that your inner silence may turn into hushed expectation. ~ Brother David Steindl-Rast

It was almost the worst Christmas ever. Given the “present” of a nasty cold bug, I missed everything before, during and after the 25th. Dinners, parties, gatherings. A robe and slippers, broth and enough Kleenex to stock a third-world country are my daily rituals. I warned people away from the house so they wouldn’t get the plague, too, and then warned my son not to come on Christmas.

Then Christmas Day, Alexander said he’d brave the plague and bring Chinese hot-and-sour soup for lunch. So, I disinfected counters, doorknobs, and stayed my distance –letting him do the serving. (It was rather nice to be waited on for a change!)

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The best thing was, sick or not, spending time with River Dog curled beside the Christmas tree in his red sweater celebrating his 6th birthday, a fine young man sipping hot chocolate, and filling up on that feeling that comes in your heart at those times. Pikachu hid, worried I’d try to stuff her in the dreaded Christmas outfit again.

The Christmas spirit kept knocking all day! A basket of bright sunshine at the door, tangerines. A box from the Christmas potluck meal, Christmas Eve dinner leftovers and gifts. A bit of whiskey for a night-time hot toddy along with a tin of treats. Kleenex, garlic, EmergenC packets and more from Patty Martin who is our parish nurse, as well as love personified. These are the gifts of the greatest value, for they are from the heart; you cannot buy them for any price.

In the sparkling Christmas winter night, a bright half-moon shone overhead against black velvet, Grandfather Owl hooted off in the distance, a night-bird squawked low in the woods.

On Boxing Day, robe, slippers and green-tinged zombie face, I limped along as fast as a sick zombie can go, down to the dog park following my red-sweater-wearing escapee, praying no one on earth would see. (Murphy’s Law: you WILL be spotted.)

Slowly, our Saluda police chief drove by, keeping his expression as normal as possible, as the robe-wearing zombie collared a red-sweater wearing River and waved. There is a sense of humor in the universe. And all of this is the best medicine.

At the recent Saluda Fire & Rescue Christmas dinner, awards were presented to Assistant Chief Robert Dellinger for most training hours and most calls answered; EMT of the Year went to Engineer Kelly Pace; Employee of the Year was Deputy Chief Zach Pace; Officer of the Year went to Lieutenant Blake Sigmon; Firefighter of the Year was Safety Officer Dean Dellinger; and the Chief’s Award went to Board Vice President Dennis Kuhar. Congratulations!

Saluda Welcome Table at Saluda Methodist Church resumes Jan. 9.

Saluda Community Land Trust can use your generous donations or volunteer help. Contact SCLT at 828-749-1560 or visit

The annual Saluda Center Gala is rescheduled to Jan. 7.

Saluda School will be closed for the holiday break from Dec. 22 through Jan. 1; students return to class on Jan. 2. 

Happy December birthday to Judy Ward, Holly Wilkes, Theresa Wilkes, Perry Ellwood, Donnie Hunter, Jeff Bradley, Preston Mintz, Carolyn Morgan, Susan Casey, Jeff Jenkins, Nikki Ammerman, Cas Haskell, Mary O. Ratcliffe, Laura Fields, Lord Blanton, Beth Brand, Jim Carson, and Tom DeKay.

Thank you, dear readers, for reading this column. You can contact me at, 828-749-1153, or