We all have had plenty in Malheur County recently to put us in a good holiday mood. With a boisterous year behind us, who couldn’t use a little cheer? Now, as 2017 winds down, everyone should take a deep breath, reflect, and consider how each of us will make the next year a better one for our community.
The fun of the season has been at every turn, thanks to volunteers, business donors – and kids. There were parades. Ontario’s Winter Wonderland Parade had it all – marching bands belting out holiday tunes, small ponies decorated with holiday garlands, floats with shivering kids and queens waving at the audience. The Nyssa Nite Lite Parade too had it all – including a decorated state snow plow. Wouldn’t that be fun to see come barreling down the highway during a snowstorm?
Holiday bazaars were everywhere – churches, schools, granges and the big, robust one at the Malheur County Fairgrounds. Bazaars are great entertainment even if you’re not shopping. You see crafted goods not available anyplace else. No one’s going to get rich selling wood-carved tree ornaments or yet another holiday scarf. But the vendors always seem pleasant and willing to chat even if you’re not reaching for your wallet. Food, certainly is a vital part. The cinnamon rolls at the Boulevard Grange or the pies at the Ontario Senior Center were pretty inexpensive – and darned good.
And the music – everywhere. The Treasure Valley Community College band gave it all to get the crowd in good spirits at the tree lighting at Four Rivers Cultural Center. Troupes of singers showed up on sidewalks, outside businesses, and in churches. Grade school kids from Vale last week serenaded for free along the city’s main streets, providing a heavy dose of cute. Last weekend, more kids took the stage in Ontario, performing “Elf” with gusto – and for just five bucks. What a deal.
Charity is evident everywhere, and local businesses often took the lead. Steve’s Hometown Toyota once again led the way in rounding up bicycles and other goods for Help Them to Hope and other groups. In Vale, Logan’s Market stepped up to help local foster children. And the Les Schwab stores in Vale, Nyssa, and Ontario paired up with high school students to stock local food banks with more food.
And let’s not forget the communities of Adrian and Harper, who rallied without hesitation to help two families who recently lost their homes to fire. They wrapped those families in care and support, helping soften the awful blow of losing nearly everything they owned.
For those of you have gave, whether with money, goods or time, thank you. Even the smallest gesture of charity is meaningful. And every one of them is needed. For that generosity, many more local families will have a better holiday and likely a better future. That’s a comforting gift to our community. — LZ