AND THEN AGAIN…… by Tamara Pettit

……..Merry Christmas!   It’s Christmas week and I am ready for Christmas.   While my shopping list is short, (the grandchildren being of the age where money is the preferred gift) I  discovered last year during COVID that I no longer need trek to the mall to get gifts.   That was a gift of its very own.    I sit in the comfort of my own home on my computer and a short time later the  package arrives at the post office or on my doorstep. You may think that’s where the problem ends.   Nope, that’s where the problem begins. Those presents come in boxes.    They come in boxes tall and boxes small.  They come in boxes big and boxes bigger.  Some come with Styrofoam and some come with dry ice.  They all  come with boxes with no place to go……but our garage!

……Here is my Christmas dilemma.  Who takes those boxes away?   When those boxes go into the garage they go forth and multiply.   At first they hug the wall, but then they  become  bold and extend out into the garage.  I now have a narrow path to my car door as I step on Styrofoam gone amuck and boxes stacked on upon the other.  What to do?     I know, I could take a box cutter (seriously does anyone want me to take a boxcutter?)out into the frigid garage and stuff the little boxes  into the big box.   I just can’t bring myself to brave the cold and defy the odds of piercing a vein or getting the mother of all paper cuts.  So, like the ghost of Christmas past, the boxes will remain in the garage until the tulips emerge.  

…….The family is coming  for Christmas Eve dinner.  We have planned the menu and this year will have my world- famous Vodka Sauce.   It’s a recipe that I got from a cookbook put out by one of the Sopranos when they used to  come to Mountaineer.   Steve Schirippa was the entertainment director at the Riviera in Las Vegas  prior to joining the Sopranos and his recipe is one of my family’s favorites.   I’m going to try a charcuterie tray this year.  Actually, I’ve done one every year we just called it a meat & cheese tray before we learned this fancy word.   I think if I add a fig, it transforms into charcuterie..

…….I’m intrigued by the concept of the Parks & Recreation fundraiser and the direction its Board is headed in the event.  The “Puttin on the Ritz” event  sounds fun and the former Victorian Hall in Weirton  sounds like a great venue.   Mixing alcohol and gaming for the event, however,  is a little dicey.  I’m sure the alcohol license is held by the hall or catering company, but the gambling even though it’s with faux money is questionable.    We knew a former Mountaineer employee who started a company during that very same thing for charitable events.   She thought she had dotted all the I and crossed the t’s (as did her attorney)  but was shut down at a Make A Wish event in Morgantown when the State decided even faux gaming is gaming,  (rationale was you’re receiving something of value in exchange for the faux money.)      I’m assuming the Board is a 501-C 3 so it is eligible for a one-time raffle license since Nick Travis,  the board chair, tells me they will be conducting a 50/50 raffle.

…..Governor Justice announced this week he is proposing a 5 percent pay raise for State employees and teachers The State has a $269 million budget surplus so now is the time to do it.  As they say, the Governor propose, but the Legislature disposes.  Looks to me though, like legislative leadership is on Board with the raise as we concurrently got letters from both the Senate and the House leadership as well as the minority leadership stating their support.   With the revenue up, and the entire House of Delegates and half of the Senate up for re-election I think the legislature will be happy to give State employees and teachers a raise. 

…..Are we capable of being happy and thankful for an extended period of time or is our attention span too short?   I think we have to remind ourselves frequently of the blessings we have when bad things come knocking at our door.