Tuesday, December 17, 2013
I love this time of year even though most of us are stressed, strained, and frazzled. This is the season when bank accounts go low and calories run high. It's the season when calendars fill up and baby sitters are hard to find. It's also the season with so many events that it's difficult to attend everything, even in our small community.
Arbor Day for South Carolina is the first Friday in December and marks the beginning of the tree planting season in South Carolina. With all the trees being cut in our county, I was thrilled to attend three Arbor Day programs. The Green Thumb Garden Club planted a Dog Wood Tree at the Court House, the DAR planted a Crepe Myrtle at Gilland Park, and the Jag Green Club planted a Crepe Myrtle Tree at Kingstree Middle School. Each event was special, but I loved the one at Kingstree Middle School because it was more than just a tree planting program, it was lesson. Dr. Kenneth Burgess helped plan the event and following the formal part of the program, he proceeded to demonstrate to the students the proper way to plant a tree. Dr. Burgess reminded us that he was the last Agriculture Teacher hired in the County and his enthusiasm for agriculture remains obvious. Dr. Burgess went into great detail about digging the hole for the tree, breaking up the roots and filling in with good soil. The local students not only learned how to plant a tree, but they also learned it's the season for planting trees in our community.
It's also the season for the 15th Annual Community Christmas Cantata that was held last week at the First Baptist Church. Each year those in attendance vow that the current year's performance was the best ever, and this year was no exception. Kudos to Harry Adkins of the First Baptist Church for leading the choir and orchestra, and to Lou Easterling with Williamsburg Presbyterian for directing the drama performance. As usual, the presentation of the Christmas Story with the live baby accentuated the beautiful music. The community truly appreciates the dedication of choir members from area churches that begin practicing for the program in early fall. Terry Shirer with Kingstree Methodist Church said that this event is one of her favorite Christmas traditions and it makes her holidays complete. Terry also said that the community is fortunate to have local sponsors support the cantata by providing funding for the professional orchestra. My mom and sisters attended the event Sunday night and thought it was one of the best. In fact, Momma and Melanie went to the Carolina Opry the following evening and both decided they enjoyed the performance in Kingstree was better than the one in Myrtle Beach. Wonder what Calvin Gilmore would say about that?
It's also the season for the Annual Kingstree Christmas Parade. The parade was held Friday night and by all accounts was a great success. There were a number of beautiful floats, excellent bands, and of course all the public officials. Alvin Chambers and the Mayor should be commended for a great Christmas Parade. Following the parade the Christmas Tree Lighting Program was held in Welch Park and was well attended. A variety of groups performed with bells, dancing and singing. It was a festive Holiday evening in Kingstree.
Friday night was also the Christmas Dance and Toy Drive sponsored by the Kingstree Kids Board. This non profit board under the leadership of Michelle Butterworth provides toys for disadvantaged children in our area at Christmas. The band was excellent, the food was good, and even though Bunny and I were in the “older” group, we had a wonderful time. Our community appreciates Dr. Butterworth and her board's efforts in collecting toys for local needy children. This group of professional women shares the true Christmas spirit with families in need in our community.
At this time in history when the PC Police condemn and attack Christmas, I am very proud of the people in this community that makes every effort to celebrate this special season. It is very concerning that even in nearby Sumter nativity scenes are being banished from public areas in an attempt to suppress complaints. So, whether we are planting trees for the future, helping those in need, or singing about the birth of Jesus it is the season to the thankful that we live in a community where we are free to remember and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.