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Christmas comes with joy and sadness

There’s always a buzz and rustling in the air this time of year as secrets are whispered in Santa’s ear and gifts are wrapped in brightly decorated paper and placed under the tree. There they sit in beguiling splendor, enticing fingers, both large and small, to give a squeeze or a rattle to try to determine the contents. Then there are the sneaky few who simply “have to know NOW” and have found ways to open their packages in the dark of night to reveal their hidden delights. They then return them to their original pristine condition until they give their award winning performances of surprise on Christmas morning. I did have one friend who was so proficient at this previewing of gifts, that she had, on an occasion or two, actually exchanged the contents of hers for those intended for a sister. These uncharitable acts were quickly discovered and set right by the mother with stern warnings to beware of mouse traps that would be placed in packages next year.

Never having had a sister I was spared this swiping of gifts. But I did have a cousin who always generously shared with me the boxes of chocolates one or the other of her boyfriends presented her. Only to find that all of the remaining chocolates had holes punched in the bottom. In other words, I got the discards of the fruit and jelly-filled candies. Still, chocolate was chocolate, so I happily ate the coating and gave the filling to our ever faithful dog who savored each treat. Oh, the memories this season brings!

Shopped till they dropped … Maridee Lawson and a merry band of family and friends recently made their annual Shopping Extravaganza Trek to various malls and shops in St. Louis. The ladies make it a two-day event, dividing their time between shopping and eating! They return with a well-laden car, lots of new stories to giggle about, and gifts that, well, are best left unknown until Santa makes his visit.

A sister-thing … The Overall sisters traveled to Marion, Ohio in October to surprise their older sister, Norma Jacob. Doris Griffith and husband Bob of Georgetown, KY, Lorene Kollmeyer, Maxine Cole, Margaret Norton and Elma and husband Sonny Jennings, all of Farmington met in Marion on the 13th of October to attend a surprise “early” 90th birthday party for Norma given by her son and daughter-in-law, Dean and Sue Jacob. Norma’s actual birthday isn’t until February 5th but her son thought the weather might be too “iffy” then so plans were made to have it ‘early’ so all could attend.

Many of Norma’s friends in Marion attended the event, including her good friend Mary Ellen Withrow who was Treasurer of the United States under President Bill Clinton. Relatives who attended were: Pat and Mary Adams of Midlothian, VA; Mike and Patricia Adams of St. Louis; Sandy Kelley of Cape Girardeau; Gail Agers of Desloge, Tom Overall of Cleveland, OH; Lorri Jane Gilliam of Park Hills. Dean and Sue Jacob entertained all the relatives on Sunday with brunch and later a dinner. The family also enjoyed remembering stories of their late older brother, Stanley Overall, Jr. who had always traveled with his sisters on their once-a-year “Overall Outings.”

Back home … Keith and Jeanette Bishop returned this last weekend after three weeks in Europe. The Bishops, who are well-seasoned travelers, this time, flew to England where they then took a cruise to various cities and ports of call. More on this after the Bishops have had time to unpack and unwind.

Local company helping with Sandy cleanup … Crews from SERVPRO® of Farmington have been working in the Long Island, New York area, helping home and business owners restore their properties. The crews are serving as part of the company’s Disaster Recovery Team, an elite group always ready to mobilize as needed to assist in storm or disaster events.

A temporary relocation … The Printing Company has temporarily moved to 205 East Liberty while their building at 227 East Columbia is being modernized and remodeled inside and out. The one-story brick building is receiving a complete facelift that will make a welcome improvement on that high-traffic corner.

Loss of a friend … Following is the message received this week from Ward Overall about the death of his friend, Jerry Trokey. “It is with great sadness that I am forwarding to you the attached obituary from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of our dear friend Jerry Trokey. Jerry passed away last Friday, December 14, 2012. “TROK”, as he was known, and I became good friends after we both graduated from Farmington High School in the 1950’s. Jerry and I happened to pursue business careers in the plastics industry and both of us happened to work for two different plastics manufacturers over the same period.

All of you who knew him know just what a great guy has been taken from us: a great guy to work with, play golf with, and just hang around with and hear his great stories and funny jokes. We will miss him. May you rest in peace, old friend!”

Jerry was a native of Farmington and graduated in 1953. He had lived and worked in the St. Louis area for many years.

We’ve lost many good friends in the past few weeks: Louis Powell, Becky Landrum, Mary Huckstep. All ladies from somewhere else who moved here with their husbands, made their homes, raised their families, embraced and became integral parts of this community. They served on numerous committees and boards for the betterment of their churches, schools, and the community at large. Each of these well-loved women was in her 90’s when she died. They had lived their lives with enthusiasm, generosity and grace. While they have now moved on to a higher plane, the imprint of their lives remains here for all of us to treasure.

Then we turn to the loss of the 20 very young children in Newtown, Ct. and the six adult teachers who died trying to protect them. We feel the sting and sorrow of their senseless deaths; we grieve with their families and that community. We ask the questions all the world asks: “Why?”… “How could this happen?” We have no answers.

As we wait to again celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, we can only have faith and the comfort that these 20 little souls are still being tended by their six faithful shepherds.

This Christmas instead of giving your children gifts that are soon broken, tired of, out of fashion, or forgotten, give them the gifts of love, security, self-esteem, and knowledge that the world is only safe as long as we are kind to one and other.

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