“Last Minute” market

Six local farmers (or more) will bring fresh and delicious local produce and other goodies to the Grange Hall tomorrow evening (Dec. 23), from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Dharma Farm (Jeffrey Knox and Abby Lydon), Spring Horse Farmstead (Jillian Jermyn), Hawthorn and Thistle Farmstead (Steph Grant), Crystal Lake Nursery (Sharon Turner) and Wild Fruitings (Sean Mulkern and Cat Regan) will be on hand. Just before Thanksgiving, when these local producers put together a sale, it was really successful and a lot of fun to drop in on. So, they decided to do it again just at the right time for really special fresh foods for the holiday table. Everyone’s hoping for another well-attended event and great chance to exchange holiday greetings. These growers can be found, too, at community farmers markets and wherever they are is worth the trip. Not only do local growers give us high quality edibles, their products don’t have any of the chemicals with atrocious names — the ones we hear of in bad news. For me, from an additional point of view, getting acquainted with local food growers is a bit of a hedge against the somewhat wacky and toxic ways of the big world these days. Ah, but that’s not a Christmas story, is it? Just drop on down to the Grange Hall Friday evening. See you there!

One more chance for benefit

The drawing for Tanya Amazeen Jones’ beautiful painting will be at the Last Minute Market (Winter Farmers Market, above) this Friday evening. This will be the last opportunity to get tickets into the drawing for this handsome pastoral watercolor of a deer at dawn. The raffle proceeds are entirely to assist Kim Emerson with costs associated with her kidney transplant surgery. Kim was similarly helped through a public supper recently. Artist Tanya Jones created this piece of her artwork for this purpose and Kim is deeply grateful. Our whole community can feel proud of the generous spirit that makes these kinds of good deeds happen among us.

Letting books go

Because I’m continuously in the process of “downsizing”, I’m painfully aware that disposing of belongings, things, stuff and other detritus of life is time consuming work. Books, especially, are hard because they’re so lovable. But even after coming to grips with that, finding new homes is a challenge. Worst case scenario they go to recycling or rubbish, which is hard because paper goods recycling is pretty persnickety. Misty Darton, our library director, related her experience when disposing of the leftovers from the giant book sale, the paper backs went in the mixed paper bin at Tri-County. But hardcovers have to go in the rubbish. Libraries and used book stores can take donations only up to a point. Used book sellers are running a business and will buy what they believe they can sell. Karen Jelenfy, who for many years operated Village Books here in our little town, says that she and Pete sometimes rescue still in decent condition from the transfer station to sell in their booth at Elmer’s Barn, Pete’s Comics and Books. She also suggests giving books to the various “little free libraries” scattered around the area. Most of us feel as though books are precious and valuable, but there certainly is no shortage (Sherman’s for instance), even though to purchase new, they are ridiculously expensive. So, for good books at bargain prices, watch the giveaways, inexpensive book sales and used book outlets like Gibbs Bryant Room. You’ll be seeing some of mine I hope.

What’s that you say about Christmas?

Well, the observance we now know as Christmas is a world apart from its early days. The date evolved from pagan celebrations around the time of the Winter Solstice. In the year 601, Pope Gregory ordered the church in England to stop forbidding these rituals and, instead, adapt them into the ceremonies. Christmas moved very slowly and gradually not only into the church but around the world. It was banned 1647 and the ban was imposed on Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1836 Alabama legalized Christmas. The U.S. made it a federal holiday in 1870, and the final state to make it legal was Oklahoma. Geez, kind of busts our bubble, huh? Many historians believe Jesus was born in the spring. There is no mention of the date in the Bible but when the Church folded around the pagan solstice observance, it was easy to think that time of year was winter. In Boston in the 1950s, church leaders wanted the song “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” banned because they thought it promoted physical intimacy. The singer, Jimmy Boyd, was dispatched to explain why it wasn’t obscene and the church relented. Pretty good publicity, too. The song was a big hit. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” holds the Guinness World Records title for the highest-charting holiday song. “White Christmas” is the best-selling song of all time. And “Silent Night” is the most recorded Christmas song in history, with over 733 different versions copyrighted since 1978.

Have a Merry Christmas.