Saluda News & Notations: Cherish the most precious gift of all

Published 8:00 am Friday, December 21, 2018

“Dusk room aglow

For the last time

With candlelight.

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Faces love-lit

Gifts underfoot.

Still to be so poised, so

Receptive. Still to recall, praise.”

~ James Merrill, excerpt from “Christmas Tree”

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa or any other tradition during the holidays, you’re bound to be thinking about what truly matters this winter season.

Holiday gatherings bring around memories of those we love and times past: the scent of fir tree branches, snow, afternoon baking, hot chocolate, the flash of tinsel in soft lights.

Sparkling stars on velvet. A red sweater. Christmas bells that always went on “the” fresh coconut cake.

Gingerbread. Nutmeg. Cinnamon. Holly berries.

A cardinal outside. Old glass ornaments from decades ago, when families often went to the woods or fields for a cedar or pine to haul home.

Things change over time, but remain unchanged in the heart.

There comes a time in one’s life when fancy gifts mean little compared to having time with loved ones, the most precious of all. So many have gone, yet what remains is love and that well-burnished memory carried within.

As ever, I remember, and I know you do as well. Consider yourself loved, wherever you may be.

That’s my gift to you. Pass it on.

• Need a special gift that will help Saluda and last longer than the holidays? Consider a brick paver for Pace Park, with the name of your choice engraved. Proceeds go toward building public restrooms at this community park, to be located downtown near M.A. Pace Store. For additional information, contact Catherine Ross at 828-749-3534 or

• At 6 p.m. Friday, come to the Saluda Historic Depot at 32 W. Main St. to watch the Christmas train classic movie, “Polar Express.” Wear PJs, bring a warm blanket and munch on some popcorn! The event is free; space limited to 70 attendees.

• There will be a Christmas Day covered dish dinner at Saluda Center at 1 p.m. All are welcome.

• Please consider a donation to Saluda Community Land Trust this holiday season! Contact SCLT at 828-749-1560 or visit

• Drop by Heartwood Gallery at 21 Main St., Saluda, to pick up this year’s special ornaments being sold as a Christmas Community fundraiser to benefit Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry.

• Don’t forget if you’re over 60 and need meals delivered or to borrow medical equipment, the Saluda Center’s Meals on Wheels Program can help you out. They also can use volunteers! Contact Donna at 828-749-9245.

• Saluda Welcome Table at Saluda United Methodist Church resumes in 2019.

• Saluda School will be taking a holiday break from Dec. 22-Jan. 2. Students return to school on Jan. 3.

• Saluda Sympathy goes to the family of Charlene Pace. Charlene, along with Martha Ashley, have long been history keepers of all and anything about Saluda. So many times over the years, I’d call Charlene with a question about Saluda history — you better believe she knew the answer! She was one of those who makes Saluda a special place. 

• 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. Add your birthday to the list — no ages mentioned unless you’re under 2 or over 100!

Thank you for reading this column; as ever, the goal is to make you feel like you’re enjoying small town life in a friendly mountain town called Saluda. Feel free to contact me at, 828-749-1153 or visit