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December 11, 2001

Perry's Christmas lights again are providing us with a twinkling wonderland, something to delight all ages, and every bit of the magic is free of charge. Just drive around town one of these fine evenings and enjoy the wonderful displays that have been created by city residents to please the rest of us. Every neighborhood seems to have at least a few ingeniously decorated homes. I haven't seen the figures, but this may be a record year for the number of dressed up for the Christmas season.

And then there is the wonderful collection of lighted holiday scenes in our beautiful courthouse park in the downtown area. Don't fail to check out those decorations and pass along a word of thanks to the city employees and volunteers who create the park's unique collection. The annual Tour of Homes, held last Sunday, provides funds for this special part of our Christmas enjoyment. A lot of people help to make this possible. Here's hoping they understand how much their efforts are appreciated.

The remarks made in this space last week about my personal dislike for the removal of Christian references to this season have inspired some responses, just as might be expected. One lady said she also finds "Xmas" a distasteful, if abbreviated, way of writing "Christmas." To avoid doing that, she uses "C-mas" when a shortened version is needed. "I have used the term C-mas for years," she writes. "It's short, concise and doesn't `X' Christ out of Christmas." Sounds like a good idea to me.

Another lady says she does not believe terms like "Happy Holidays" are meant to sanitize the "Merry Christmas" greeting. She believes it is merely an acknowledgment that folks who are not Christians also celebrate the season. To her it seems to be an attempt to appeal to every one, but with the understanding that some are Islamics, Jewish, Buddhists or believers in some other faith. Christians are not the exclusive inhabitants of earth. That is certainly a reasonable point of view. My main complaint, however, is focused on those who use the term "holiday tree" for "Christmas tree." It is important to remember that "Christmas" celebrates the birth of the One who miraculously came to this speck in the universe to show the rest of us how to live.

A note from former Perryan Doris Brookhart, now of Siloam Springs, Arkansas, tells of a unique coincidence that involves the Northwest Corner. On October 19, I had a bit about a program presented by the National Troubadours in the old Grand Opera House on the east side of the square, probably in the year 1916. The printed program for that performance was among the things given to me by David Foster, another former Perryan who now lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The program gave the names of the performers for that show on the Perry stage, and it listed a Mr. Earnest Brookhart as a trumpet soloist. Doris writes: "(Mr. Brookhart) was my father-in-law and my mother's cousin. Mr. Brookhart's mother was Rebecca Harrison. a descendant of President Harrison. Mr. Brookhart taught music later at Phillips University in Enid. He was a remarkable man." He had no way of knowing in 1916 that his son would marry a Perry girl several years later.

Doris grew up here and graduated from Perry High School as Doris Gregory. She visits our little city from time to time. She is a cousin of Shirley Morton. My thanks to Doris for this interesting story.