Man About Canton: Merry Christmas

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Did you know …

Now that Santa Claus has read his mail, made his list, and checked it twice, he and his sleigh are ready to deliver tons of presents to those who didn’t pout or cry and have been good. As usual, his loaded sleigh will be powered for his worldwide trek by his group of eight dedicated tiny reindeer; and if the weather is foggy, a special reindeer with an unusually bright red nose will probably lead them. In addition to all the nice gifts, Santa will also be carrying a special bag with lumps of coal for those who have been naughty, but happily there haven’t been many that have earned a lump of coal. Santa will be making the long trip from his home at the North Pole, where his large crew of elves busily spent a whole year making all those gifts he gives away on Christmas to a large number of sleeping kids and adults who anxiously await his arrival. When Santa and his reindeer-led sleigh leave your rooftop, he will again call out to all within earshot, “A Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”

The colorful and festive holiday lights at the town hall, library, and on the sidewalk trees in the downtown business district look wonderful and certainly dress up the town for the holiday season.

Speaking of festive lights, the next time you go by the Veterans Memorial Park at Canton Corner Cemetery, drive in and see the individual spotlights that tastefully light each of the town’s six war memorials, which also have individual Christmas wreaths hung on them. In addition, there is the 15-foot decorated fir tree behind them. The overall patriotic scene is another fine Tony Andreotti production, and seeing the war memorials together at night is an impressive and unforgettable experience.

The Christmas Tree Association estimates that 25 million Christmas trees are sold in the United States each year, and according to the U.S. Commerce Department, 50 percent of all artificial trees worldwide are manufactured in China.

You may not realize it, but the popular winter song “Jingle Bells,” which is about 150 years old, never mentions Christmas and is instead about old-fashioned winter fun. Most people know and sing it, and it has been recorded by hundreds of singers.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was created in 1939 in Chicago for the Montgomery department stores for a Christmas promotion. The lyrics were written as a poem by Robert May and were not set to music until 1947. Gene Autry recorded the hit song in 1949.

Like many years in the past, you probably will see at least one copy of the letter that 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote to the editor of the New York Sun in 1897 questioning whether or not Santa Claus really existed. When you see it, take a moment to reread the editor’s response. It explains it all.

The Canton Council on Aging had a very successful holiday party at the Canton Town Club on December 10. Entertainment was provided by Tom Bruhl’s one-man band, and Foley’s Backstreet Grill provided great food. Over 180 seniors attended the event, including MAC, who attended along with Selectman Bob Burr and state Rep. Bill Galvin. According to Council on Aging Director Diane Tynan, this year’s holiday party had a waiting list, and the COA may have to look elsewhere to accommodate the growing number of Canton seniors.

On Sunday, December 18, Canton Town Club president J.R. McCourt and his associates gave its members an early Christmas present with a free “steak bake” with all the fixings, including potatoes, corn, and salad during the Patriots’ win over Tennessee. J.R. did most of the cooking himself, and the food was great.

Talking about Canton seniors, the Canton Recreation Commission held its annual Senior Citizen Christmas Party on Sunday, December 18, at St. Gerard’s hall. The Cactus Gang country and western band entertained the well-attended party, and food was provided by Queen Anne’s Catering and served by members of the Canton Recreation Commission and the Board of Selectmen.

Canton High School senior Elizabeth Hamilton was named to the Boston Globe All-Scholastic Volleyball Team. Hamilton was the Hockomock League MVP and led the Bulldogs to the Division 2 central sectional finals.

The current law in Massachusetts provides unlimited 411 calls for seniors over the age of 65, disabled persons, and state and local government officers, but you have to call your phone company and request the necessary paperwork.

According to the youth risk behavior survey conducted last year at the Galvin Middle School and Canton High School, the state average for alcohol use is 18 percent for middle school students and 19 percent for high school students. According to the survey, 12.3 percent of Canton seventh graders said they have consumed alcohol, but the number rises to 20.1 percent for eighth graders. For CHS students, the numbers in grades 9 and 10 are 11 and 17.7 percent, respectively. However, the figure jumps to almost 27 percent for Canton High 11th graders and up to 37.2 percent for CHS seniors.

The head of the International Energy Agency expects oil prices to remain low in 2016 as demand weakens and supply remains high. The price of oil has fallen below $2 a gallon, the lowest since early 2009.

MAC will end this week’s column with one of his favorite Christmas quotes, which typifies a Christmas message of joy: “An artist once drew a sad picture of a wintery twilight, the trees heavily laden with snow and a dark, dreary house, lonely and desolate in the midst of a storm. Then, with a quick stroke of gold paint, he put a light on in one window, transforming the entire scene into a vision of warmth and life and good cheer … the birth of Christ was such a light in the dark world.”

MAC wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season.

That is all for now folks. See you next week.

Joe DeFelice can be reached at manaboutcanton@aol.com.

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