Over the last 20+ years, I have lived in the little town of Blackfoot, Idaho. It’s a great little place to be from. I always counted it as a perfect jumping off spot. In three hours or less, you could get to Salt Lake City, Jackson Hole, West Yellowstone, or Sun Valley. A little more time and you could include Bozeman and Boise in that, and even Jackpot if you wanted to gamble. A perfect spot to get just about anywhere. But, what did Blackfoot itself have to offer?
Good schools, schools that were large enough to have lots to get involved in, but small enough that the competition to participate wasn’t too much. Good people, truly caring people that were always looking out for the community. Good jobs, there are four very large employers in town, of which I was lucky enough to be employed at one for over 23 years. Good ….well, that’s probably as long as the list is.
One of the other things it has though is a sense of community. I was fortunate enough to be involved in a number of community activities over the years. I participated heavily with Jaycees, the Elks, the Blackfoot Community Players and Relay for Life. I was on the fringe of the Community Table, Stone Soup and the Christmas Tree Fantasy. If you attended any events in town you would see the same people involved, almost every time. Some more heavily involved in others, but still, the same folks make things happen in every small town.
The Christmas Tree Fantasy is an event I have always admired, but only participated from the sidelines. Occasionally I would decorate a tree to donate. My Girl Scout troop did that often. Most often, I just went to the event and spent a little money. I was never in the “in” crowd that was heading this program up. Each year there is an auction that raises money for various local charities. The same people buy at the auction each year, trees are decorated and donated by so many charitable people. There is always music and candy to buy. Each year it was better than the year before. For a few years, a group of us delivered the trees that were bought to their new owners, now that was fun! I truly admire those that selflessly gave of their time to make this event happen. Maybe your town has something just like it. For me, it was the start of the Christmas season, a tradition to attend, to enjoy, to inspire. What does your community do to bring joy to the season?