AND THEN AGAIN…… by Tamara Pettit

………The Holiday Season is upon us…..just like that.  We took Max and spent a few days at the Greenbrier this week.  The weather was warm, but it was evident Christmas was fast approaching.  The Greenbrier staff was busy Saturday morning putting up their decorations.  It was neat seeing the hotel transform to a Christmas wonderland before our very eyes.……Babydog now has his own shop in the retail section of the Greenbrier.   The Gubernatorial dog has become a celebrity in his home state and one of the dog  kerchiefs for sale stated “You may not know it, but I’m kind of a big deal.”

….Some things you just can’t fake and real customer service is one of them.    Talked to a lot of employees at the Greenbrier and it is so apparent they feel a deep ownership of the place.  Many told us proudly they had worked at the hotel for more than 30 years.  They care and it shows.

…….When we returned home, the falling temperatures and sighting of snow alerted us to Fall turning to Winter.  I thought it time to get out my holiday decorations.  I’ve had lovely holidays in the past and not-so-lovely ones.  Christmas movies and commercials all portray Christmas as a most perfect time of the year.     I credit that to the “ghost of Christmas past” haunting the “ghost of Christmas present.”   In other words, the childhood perfect Christmas  we all remember dims the light of the Christmas of today.  I believe we have done humans a disservice when we define family as an intact family unit….no divorces, no singles, no loss of loved ones, everyone as if they hadn’t ever had a pothole  in the road of life.

……But, that wouldn’t be reality.  I may have had the gift of Christmas with a Mom and Dad together until I was 17, but by the time I was married and had a baby that had  ended.   “Oh no,” some would say.  “That must have been so sad for you.”  It wasn’t.  We reinvented our family.  It ended the holidays with Mom and Dad but it didn’t end us all being together separately and that too was wonderful.   My sister, Marsha, and I worked out a schedule so both parents could enjoy Christmas day with us.   Mom and Dad’s spouses soon joined the picture and yes, we were a happy family with a lot of love to share. 

…..We need to redefine “family” in today’s world to simply mean “people who love and care for each other.”     I cringe when I look at Facebook and see the comment “family is everything” as if simply being related by blood creates a bond.   It doesn’t.  Families can also be toxic.   Those who love and care for us are everything.

…..We have a new baby in our family this Christmas.   Madilynn Grace will join us and Wednesday we are gathering for a family photo of our very own family here in West Virginia.   Doug, Laurie, Katie, Maggie and Jacob won’t be  able to be with us, but I’m counting on Shannon to figure out how to photoshop them in.  (Don’t laugh, we did that once for a campaign photo and even managed to include their pet rabbit.)

…….We have a new attorney in the family  this week.    Katie Pettit passed the bar exam in California and she joins her Dad in the legal profession.  While Doug is a founding partner of Pettit Kohn Ingrassia and Lutz, Katie has joined a public policy law firm .   She is passionate about the environment and issues which disenfranchise the low income communities.    The world needs more Katies.

…..I am impressed by the New Cumberland Community Center’s continued ability to be such a resource after 98 years.  It was there for me as a child when I attended Lions Halloween parties.   My sister, Marsha, broke her arm there roller skating as a teenager.    Shannon went to a baton group there and Doug constantly played basketball on the Court.   Need I say that my grandkids have spent a lot of time there. It is a small town, seldom-mentioned gem.  We point out when things are wrong, we need to remember to comment when things are right!

……Start marking your calendars because we have a lot of holiday events beginning with Chester’s Festival of Trees on Nov. 19, 20 and 21.