One of my favorite holiday songs is “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” I find it both hopeful as well as a little sad, and it always brings tears to my eyes. The song was written by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin and sung by Judy Garland in the musical movie “Meet Me in St. Louis.” I can’t think of a better song for this year. There are more verses, but these three and the outro, written 76 years ago, are especially fitting for 2020.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
Next year all our troubles
Will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
Next year all our troubles
Will be miles away
Once again as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Will be near to us once more
Someday soon we all will be together
If the fates allow
Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now
It does feel as if we are muddling through somehow. I was worried that businesses in our villages of the north end would have simply run out of steam after the year they have experienced — that decorations and holiday spirit would be less somehow. Yes, there are fewer lights outside, but many store fronts and restaurants are lit up from within. Step inside and you will find festive spots tucked here and there. Warm smiles, hellos and Christmas music greet you. The galleries and antique and collectible shops on Bay Avenue and in Klipsan Beach have little wonderlands of Santa ornaments, reindeer and snowmen and restaurants are adding special holiday driven fare to their take-out menus. Christmas and the holidays are here, but it comes in a much quieter package this year.
The neighborhoods on the north end of the peninsula have always had their fair share of brightly lit homes during the season. Starting shortly after Thanksgiving, one of my favorite things to do is to drive around and look at Christmas lights. Last week, for two nights I did just that, and although there were less large displays, there were still a good handful of super dupers. Similar to the businesses I had visited, many homes were decorated “closer in.” Beautiful trees could be glimpsed through windows glowing with golden light. There were small spots of light around many entries, but overall the feel was more intimate and homey than in previous years and that made it somehow more precious. However, when you came upon a large display it was still a surprise and so much fun to see!
Using Facebook, I asked people in the Ocean Park area about their decorating plans for this year. Would they do the same, would they pass and how did they feel about the holidays in general? I wanted a sense of how people are approaching the season while travel and gathering restrictions are in place and family traditions are on hold for many.
Cindy Keyes responded, “Yes, I have decorated this year and I celebrate this time of year for its natural beauty. I find joy always extremely possible.”
Rick Dawson said, “We put up outdoor lights just like always. It is important to maintain a sense of normalcy in these turbulent times.” He also shared a touching observation of his wife, Dawn. “We enjoy driving around and looking at holiday lights. It always puts a smile on my wife’s face and I love her childlike awe when we find something unique.”
Kevin Cline responded, “We are buying less this year but adding extra trees.” Judi MacPherson will be doing blue and white candles in the windows and is a fan of seeing neighbors’ displays. Susie Musgrave is putting up lights and decorations and also “loves to see others’ lights too.” Marilyn Raymer said, “We are pretty much doing the usual. Lights and candles inside but not outside, though we have a few things up outside too.” Deborah Wells reported she and Bob Bowlby have decorated their homes but that she has not yet decided on what her family travel plans may entail and Jeanne Ann Staley has added more beachy items to her décor including painted buoy trolls and painted float jingle bells. Not one complaint or Grinch like grumble.
In response to their feelings towards the holiday this year, Anna Taft’s answer reflected many when she said, “Joy… the same as every year. The holidays are about family and joy and it means it even more this year.”
I have always believed that people who choose to live here and who choose to run a business “at the end of the world,” are a pragmatic, resilient and romantic lot. They are dreamers with a firm sense of reality and an attitude of adventure. What seem to be conflicting and eclectic descriptions, somehow work in our little slice of heaven. Responses to my holiday questions and what you can see by driving around this time of year and visiting our businesses do not dissuade me from that belief. And that is said with a huge sigh of relief.
Thanks to drive-by crew
The holidays are also about giving and I would like to publicly thank the incredible crew that produced and supported the Oyster Shell Christmas Tree Drive-By, held on Dec. 4 at the Port of Peninsula. I am not sure if the cars with only adults or the cars with children enjoyed it most. Or maybe it was the volunteers who were determined to give the community a fun and safe kick-off to the holiday season. No matter, it was a brilliant evening.
From Pacific County Fire District #1, thank you to Jeff Archer, Paul Estrella, Tony Provenzano and Lani Karvia. The beautifully lit Santa’s Sleigh Fire Truck (see page B1) is a favorite up and down the peninsula every year. Thanks to Fire Chief Jacob Brundage too.
The Beach Barons Car Club provided Rudolph and the Hot Rod Reindeer to escort Santa’s ride. They also designed and provided the wonderful trio of trees across from Ocean Park Elementary. Thank you to BBCC President Joseph Natoli, Debbie Morris, Keith Gribner, Richard Willis, Pete Johnson, Roger (Ho Ho Ho) Taylor, Doug Haserot, David Fraumeni and Ralph Jackson.
Oyster tubs for the tree’s construction were provided by Ken Wiegardt of Jolly Roger Oysters and Jim Kemmer of Long Island Oyster Company. Netting that gave it shape came from Columbia River Bait.
OPACC Board members Diana Thompson, Valerie Harrison and Karen (with Curt) Stephens were tremendously helpful elves.
Many thanks go to the host, the Port of Peninsula. Port Manager Jay Personius was instrumental in the planning process (and he makes a great DJ too). Building and securing the oyster tub tree to the deck of the May West was accomplished by the many talents of Tony Kangas, assisted by Chester Land. When it came to decorating, Cindy Bade captained the effort, resulting in a beautiful tree. It was a hoot to work with them. Thank you so very much.
This holiday season comes with more than the usual challenges. But seeing people working together to help others, living in a place surrounded by the beauty of nature and remembering to be kind is the magic that can help to dispel those challenges. “Someday soon we all will be together… If the fates allow… Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow… So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.”
Hold these words in your hearts and all the very best to you in 2021!