The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Vicki Sternfeld-Rossi
The Times 

Holidays-the Waitsburg way


November 28, 2019

As most of you know, I moved here last December from sunny, Los Angeles, just in time to experience what was noted to be the coldest, snowiest winter in 15 years.

I’m not a sentimental person, nor do I spend a lot of time reflecting. I have one speed and one direction, “fast and forward.” However, this year I have made an amazing revelation: There’s more to a holiday than shopping the sales.

Waitsburg is a town that gracefully and respectfully moves from one holiday to another. Celebration Days, Pioneer Fall Festival, Chamber Music Festivals, wine events, along with standard holidays, all are given their due with a single-minded focus on each holiday. In Los Angeles, each holiday blends into each other, for what seems to be the sole purpose of another gigantic sale.

Maybe it’s the Southern California weather, but sometimes it seems as though the holiday festivities have less relevance to paying homage to veterans, celebrating our independence, or enjoying Thanksgiving. Instead, it is all about sales! Macy’s, Bloomingdales, J. Crew, Target, you name the store, there is a sale. It seems that the after-Christmas sales begin after Labor Day, and I swear Black Friday will soon be right after July 4th. Then of course, there are the Christmas carols blaring from the stores or mall PA system for what seems like months.

But it can’t just be the weather. In Waitsburg, the kids braved the cold and walked around trick or treating, as collecting bags of candy is a great enticement. By the way parents of Waitsburg, I am impressed with the polite “please & thank yous.” I felt like I had to coerce some of the kids into taking more than one piece of candy. Town Hall St. Patrick’s Day was delicious, with a very competitive silent auction. I loved the excitement in April and May of planning for Celebration Days. I helped clean up and replant the Main Street planters. Thankfully, I was carefully supervised, because I often mistake weeds for flowers and flowers for weeds. City girl!

The Waitsburg bonus; during any holiday season, I can read the Waitsburg Times, or the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, without 100 extra pages of store ads shouting SALES!!

Memorial Day in Waitsburg honored those who served, not the latest gift with purchase at the cosmetic counter. Main Street was lined with appreciative veterans, a supportive community, a cool jeep, and a plane adorned with stars and stripes. People mingled on the streets instead of fighting for the last parking space in the shopping mall, or cursing out the person who parked their precious Ferrari across three spaces, so it stays pristine.

July 4th had a great show of fireworks along with the typical howling of the freaked-out dogs, mine included. And, what’s better than the view from up on Jasper Mountain? I could see the sky filled with stars. The Big Dipper is really BIG! We could see planets, too, amazing! I didn’t miss the bright neon lights of Los Angeles one bit.

Now, it’s Thanksgiving and I am lucky to be celebrating with friends, in a “pot-luck” dinner that should have great food, good wine and best of all, a lot of new friends, maybe even a little football thrown in.

It’s a time to be thankful, and I am. For new friends, a great place to live, and, best of all, no parking lot altercations! Enjoy your holiday, be safe, have fun!

By the way, as a newbie here in Waitsburg, I noticed the absence of the wild turkeys. Are they smart enough to avoid being seen this week?


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