Commentary: Social events raising holiday spirits

Noticed the Christmas cards that have magically appeared over the weekend around town?

If you happened to pass the Community Center on Saturday night – if you weren’t inside the building – you may have noticed that the parking lot was overflowing.

And it seems that Sweet Home residents have decided to battle the blues (or the short days, at least) with some of the most ambitious light displays we’ve seen in years. They’re everywhere.

Not to sound too hip-hip-hooray-ish, but we think these are signs that Sweet Home is rising, this holiday season, out of the morass of the COVID pandemic.

If that sounds presumptuous, we hope it isn’t.

Fact is, normal life is slowly returning, partly because people are making it happen. And that’s what needs to occur.

We’ve been in lock-downs and masks and we’ve struggled with authorities’ institution of mandatory vaccinations. Many of our kids are back in school, but they are not, by many accounts, where they would be if COVID-19 hadn’t raised its ugly head in the spring of 2020.

But we have nearly two years of experience in dealing with this virus under our belts now and it seems that one of the best medicines for our society and for us as individuals is … normalcy.

Things actually weren’t normal Saturday night at the Trees for Scholarships Auction. They were better. The event drew a record crowd and it raised a record amount of money to help give local graduating seniors a financial boost as they head off to college or trade school. People were generous and they were having a really good time acting on that magnanimity.

It was fun: tempting auction items, great food (served up by Angila Tack and company) and lots of people just in groups, talking and talking and talking. That’s one way to “cure” COVID.

The Sweet Home Alumni Foundation has done well with this event, which is one of the high points on the social calendar. In 18 years the auction has not only possibly raised the bar on Christmas tree decorating skills, but it has taken SHAF to the point that it is now able to grant scholarship help to second-year students, and may be able to go beyond that down the road.

As emcee Blake Manley put it, those scholarships open doors for kids who might not be headed off to work in the woods, who are done with school. He, of all people, gets that because he teaches natural resources and coaches the Forestry Club, but he’s a college graduate himself. Four-year college may not be for everyone, but those scholarships also help kids who want to be welders or electricians or beauticians.

And that’s what the 200-plus people who were at that auction were supporting.

Back to that coronavirus remedy stuff: We’re certainly not suggesting that it’s time to throw caution to the winds and forget about the danger of this malady. By now, we should all know people who have suffered – or worse – with this thing and it’s very real, whatever we’d like to think.

But at the same time, we’ve also had nearly two years to figure this out, to decide whether masks are helpful to us, to decide whether vaccination – forced or not – is an option to protect ourselves.

Meanwhile, there’s more of that medicine coming down the pike for Sweet Home – multiple events this weekend (see page 6).

Get out and enjoy some interaction if you can.

Community can be healthy.

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