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CHRISTMAS EVENTS - December 7, 2006

The month of Christmas festivities had its beginning for me during the Thanksgiving season when all of our family but one grandson was in for a few days. I want to tell you about some of our adventures.

We went to see “Beauty and the Beast,” performed by Parkersburg Actors Guild. I was accompanied by my granddaughters, Rebecca and Sally, and their mothers, Sarah and Lynn. It was an enchanting evening for all of us. There was colorful scenery, innovative costumes and action that kept our interest. Mrs. Potts, a teapot portrayed by our daughter, Barbara Full, was the highlight of the production!

Meeting the characters after the play was a heartwarming experience. Mrs. Potts took over and introduced the granddaughters to the characters as very important people in her life. The Beast, a really tall man, stooped down to talk to the girls. His face and manner showed that little children were important to him. They really loved him and forgot that he had been an ugly, mean Beast just an hour ago. They saw only his kindness and caring for them. Belle, the beautiful princess, had a long conversation with the girls. When asked her name, Sally replied, “I am Belle today, but some-times they call me Sally.” Belle was a good example of someone who looks beyond the outside of a person to their inner beauty.

Mrs. Potts, an elementary music teacher, had many small children surrounding her. Each of her young students was given a warm hug and felt very special as they departed.

*          *          *          *          *

The Hometown Country Christmas parade last Friday evening was a heartwarming experience on a very cold night. The volunteer fire departments were very visible with their equipment. One truck from Smithville was decorated with many lights and could compete with any float from a bigger town. Other floats, decorated by participants, ranged from the senior citizens sector to the small children in the Snowflake Contest.

Different areas of the county were represented. Michelle Siers of the lower West Fork was coordinator. The spirit of the Calhoun County High School marching band, growing in members and precision at each performance, showed Calhoun Pride with each step. Adults were scurrying about the town, getting children to their places and helping small spectators catch their treats.

The Chronicle expresses its appreciation to the volunteers who made this opening of Calhoun Christmas so special. We look forward to this event in future years.

*          *          *          *          *

I attended a performance of the music department at Davis & Elkins College on Saturday evening. Our son, Bob, was a guest baritone soloist, and his wife, Jenny, played with the orchestra. The director, Dr. Robert Psurny, is a member of the faculty of Heartwood in the Hills. The program combined chorus and orchestra for the first two movements of the Bach Oratorio.

I was not familiar with the campus, so I stopped a lady who looked like she might be heading in the direction of the auditorium. She told me where to park and the location of the building. She was waiting for me at the steps and said, “My friend and I decided that you must be alone, would you like to sit with us?” From that time forward, they were my guardian angels and guides! They are both German immigrants, Jutta, coming as a GI war bride, and Elfie, with her parents, following World War II.

Jutta’s husband left her when their son was eight years old. They were left in a country where she was unfamiliar with the customs. She earned her GED and then took training for hospital work. Elfie’s family lived in the part of Berlin that was taken over by the Americans. Residents of this sector were allowed to leave for a safer area and finally to the U.S. Otherwise, their future would have been very uncertain.

Jutta sat by me and I learned that she is a foster grandparent and works with children in the elementary school. She was telling me about a Thanksgiving program presented by the children. Later, more facts about Squanto and the first Thanksgiving were given on the radio. I learned so much from this new friend and was thrilled by her eagerness to learn more about our American history. They were excited to meet Bob after the concert and complimentary about his command of the German language. In their eyes, I was a celebrity because I was his mother.

We all attended a reception following the concert. As we enjoyed the hot cider and cookies, I learned that they are strong Christians. Before we parted, they had a prayer circle around me, for deer to stay beside the road and for safe travels to my destination. I was the only vehicle in my lane and there were absolutely no deer in sight for the remaining 35 miles of the trip.

What they did not know was that my car had an appointment to have brake repair work done and four tires replaced on Monday! I had the phone book with numbers of towing companies in case I needed it. After the prayer, I threw it in the back seat and had a peaceful, relaxing drive to the mountains.

I now have warm memories of a cold, bitter night in Elkins, because two people cared enough to befriend a complete stranger.

*          *          *          *          *

We have many events to celebrate Christmas in the next few weeks. Take time to enjoy the opportunities to spread Calhoun friendship at Christmas. You just might make a good memory for a stranger who is alone.

*          *          *          *          *

CARAMEL APPLE FRENCH TOAST (baked)

Original recipe from B&B in Millersburg, Ohio:

1 cup brown sugar                 6 eggs

3 tbsp. corn syrup              2 cups skim milk

6 tbsp. butter                         1 tsp. vanilla

3 tart apples, sliced

16 slices whole wheat bread, cubed

Oven 325 degrees, bake in greased 9x13 baking dish. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and butter in dish, melt in microwave for 1 minute. Place sliced raw apples on top of caramel. Place bread cubes on top of apples. Mix eggs, milk and vanilla, pour over bread and refrigerate overnight. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Bake un-covered for 15 minutes.

Notes: This is good for a Christmas morning brunch. Substitutes for sugar, butter and half of eggs can be used. Granny Smith apples were suggested in original recipe.

This Week's Editorial:

By Helen Morris:

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