And so it has been a long time but we also were part of Christmas programs and plays here when we were wee tots. This was back in the days when the place would be packed with locals and they would have their children sing Christmas songs or enact nativity plays. Brother Philip was in one when he was a kid and kept his eyes closed throughout so no one would see him. It was after one such program that I received one of my greatest gifts from Santa, a stuffed bear.
It was, then, with great anticipation that Mark and Holly said there was going to be a Christmas program at the church while I was back in Northlandia. I marked it on my calendar.
Turns out it was not a church program after all. It was the Seaton Community Club using the church for their purposes. The pastor played out the nativity scene all by her lonesome, a single act evidently devoid of any decoration or music. Sadly, times are tough for the church as the crowds are no longer there and the number of kids who attend and could participate are lacking. So what we ended up with was a rabble of sorts. A twisting, heaving clump of kids and parents darting in and out without much purpose other than to sing this one twice, it seems.
Off in the distance I heard an emergency vehicle. Soon, with eager anticipation and transfixed gazes towards the door - the Great Man enters without so much as a Ho, Ho, Ho, or a Merry Christmas.
Yes, hard times have befallen the Seaton Presbyterian church. I didn't revel in the nostalgia I was hoping for. Once they sat Santa down and the line of kids descended on him, I arose with such a clatter and left.
As I was approaching my truck I could hear toward the South of town a pack of coyotes braying in the distance. Everything changes.