By President Liz Singer
December is a month of celebrations. I have always loved December. As a native Californian raised in Los Angeles, I did not grow up with snow. Although one of my favorite holiday songs was “Over the River and Through the Woods,” its lyrics did not have the same meaning to me as they do to East-Coasters.
“Over the river and through the woods
To Grandfather’s house we go.
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh
Through white and drifted snow.”
Matter of fact, they were a mystery to me, as the only snow and woods I ever saw was on our family’s official start of the holiday season trip to Big Bear Mountain and Santa’s Village. Santa’s Village was 80 miles northeast of LA in the San Gabriel Mountains. My family — consisting of myself, my brother (4 years younger), and my mother and father — would pack up our 1950 Chevy station wagon with winter gear (hard to find in LA), sandwiches for the long car trip, and chains for the tires. Yes chains! Off we would go, San Bernardino Freeway to Big Bear, then up the mountain. As we drove up the incline, we would start looking for SNOW. Whoever could find the first patch of icy grey snow won. At that point we would pull the station wagon off to the roadside and start the “putting on the chains” process. This is quite a feat (with which many in other parts of the country were familiar). First you must put the chains on the road, and then you drive the vehicle onto the chains. Then the chains have to be attached to the tires. That done, we were ready to venture into the wilds of the California snow country.
Up the steep mountain to Santa’s Village we went. The day was always fun, exciting, and emotional as it was the start of my family’s Christmas celebrations. But now, as I look back on it, I realize that the best part was actually and always the anticipation of the day and the car trip rather than the arrival at the Village.
For many of us, the Ethical Culture society is family/community. Our times together, as evidenced by times past, are grand! So I have a feeling that for you, as for me, the anticipation of our shared holiday time has already begun. And this year, do we ever have celebration in store for the holiday season! Just read this issue of Outlook and find your special niche for celebration.
Come join us in all the festivities!