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December 24, 2001

Americans, despite some trying times in recent months, can truly give thanks for many things in this wonderful Christmas season. We are at war and one of the consequences of that condition is the placing of lives in peril. Still, we pray for the safety of the men and women of this nation as they carry out their duties and seek to replace terrorism with hope for justice and peace. We are thankful for leaders who have the gritty determination to see this terrible global nightmare brought to a conclusion, although that may take months or years to achieve.

Economic conditions are still wobbly, partly as a collateral of the terrible ordeal manifested in New York and at the Pentagon on September 11, but we know things could be much worse. There is no shortage of sugar, tires, nylons, new cars and the other civilian goods that quickly became rationed or just disappeared after the U.S. was plunged into World War II sixty years ago. The stock market seems hardly to know how to react from hour to hour. Up one day, down the next. In Perry, we know of the business difficulties at the Ditch Witch plant, but we look with confidence to the future when that amazing company again will be leading all of us back to good times. Fortunately it is not directly subject to the whims of the New York Stock Exchange. Remember, though, some of its customers are and the Charles Machine Works, Inc., and its leaders must deal with reality. We can be very thankful that a morally responsible enterprise such as that is our neighbor and benefactor.

Patriotism in this country continues to be at an all-time high. One indication of that is the scarcity of 3’x 5’ U.S. flags. The one that I have flown from a pole above the garage door for several years wore out quite some time ago and I just didn’t get around to replacing it right away. Then came the current crisis and I still do not have one. The usual sources have been out of flags that size for months. About a month ago I finally ordered one from a catalog and was told to expect delivery “by mid-December.” The latest update advises that the item is now on back order and may be shipped “within thirty days.” I’m not holding my breath.

Georgia Curtis advises that she cannot find a photo of the St. Louis Hotel, the red brick hostelry that once stood at 708 Cedar street, where Dr. Brian Busby’s dental care suite is now located. Georgia has received several requests for a picture of that grand old place, but she has been unable to locate one. Let her know if you can help.

Back to the wartime shortages of other times…. We’re all delighted that the price of gasoline in Perry is among the lowest in the U.S. Thanks to the old supply-and-demand principle we can enjoy regular unleaded and premium fuel at the most favorable price in many months. For a while recently that meant around 83 cents a gallon for regular, depending on where you choose to fill your tank. The price is higher now but that was a nice Christmas present for a while.

Here’s a sincere Christmas wish for happiness to each of you. Now, to wrap this up, here’s a bit of philosophy to live by, or not:

Work like you don’t need the money.
Love like you’ve never been hurt.
Dance like nobody’s watching.
Sing like nobody’s listening.
Live like it’s Heaven on Earth.