On and Off The Mountain-Stephanie Grubert

We are enjoying the full force of the Christmas season this week. Gifts have been gathered, wrapped, sent or placed under the tree. Christmas treat preparation including cookies, pies, special breads and colorful desserts is ongoing. The first Christmas pageants are beautiful tributes to the birth of Baby Jesus in schools and churches. Giving trees, toy collections, and food collections remind us to think about those who are unable to shop or prepare a holiday meal.

On a bright note, the outdoor light displays in Mountaintop and throughout the country pierce the darkest nights of the year. The winter solstice late Monday marked the shortest day of the year. From now on the days will get longer. I am especially appreciative of those extra minutes every day. The days will now be getting longer for the next 6 months. Waking up in the dark at 7 a. m. and going home for the day in the dark beginning at 4:15 p. m. is tough. Every day will be brighter.

First Family of Meteorology

Tom and Noreen Clark, Mountaintop’s TV-16 weather couple, stopped by to wish the Mountaintop Eagle staff a Merry Christmas last week. Both are happy to report the warmest December in 100 years on their daily broadcasts. The Clark’s daughter Kristen is also a meteorologist currently working in Minnesota making them the “First Family of Meteorology” they playfully reported. I wish Tom and Noreen many more warm forecasts this winter.

Walking into Winter

I walked four days last week. Hiking up the Gameland trail in December is an activity I rarely accomplished in years past. Now that the rifle deer season is finished, I can safely traverse the area. There are other aerobic activities to be enjoyed in the colder season including snow skiing, indoor swimming and for dedicated gym patrons cycling, treadmills, stair steppers and other machines. Outdoor walking is the only one I can regularly embrace. I hope to finish my year with 1,000 miles. I also make sure my FitBit and Apple Watch get lots of use, counting the steps and keeping track of how much I am putting into my days. Both contribute to me reaching my goal.

Toys for Tots

The Marines came twice to the Mountaintop Eagle last week gathering their Toys for Tots collection. The Eagle had its biggest collection ever. We are centrally located and open during the day for drop-offs. The generosity of the donors, who often just come in our door and quietly leave their gifts under and around our beautiful fresh Christmas tree before dashing away, was astounding. We buy toys for our children, grandchildren and loved ones and the extra toys we give to the Toys for Tots are reaching a child with a special need. The Rotary Club of Mountaintop also collected toys and held a fundraiser to donate cash to the cause. Thank you to all who participated.

Christmas Party The Mountaintop Eagle held its annual Christmas party last week at Cavanaugh’s Grille in their beautiful dining room. The warm ambience of the restaurant and the delicious food and drink served with excellent service make Cavanaugh’s one of my favorites. We are lucky to have so many dining choices in Mountaintop. Whatever your desire, Mountaintop’s fine restaurants offer something for everyone.

Christmas in the City Charlie and I will fill our sleigh and

travel over the interstate, across the bridge, and through the tunnel to get to Brooklyn for the Christmas holiday. With warm and dry weather predicted all holiday, travellers would have one less complication to contend with. I look forward to a Christmas in the City experience. New York is quite festive this time of year. And I will be happy to embrace the 60 degree weather too,

Letters to Santa The Mountaintop Eagle is

publishing our annual Letters to Santa Claus penned by 7-year-old second graders in Mountaintop’s three elementary schools this week. Editor Kathy Flower and our multitalented Samantha Laskowski lovingly typed the letters from St. Jude’s, Rice, and Fairview Elementary Schools.

My granddaughter Maggie Dicus is a 7-year-old second grader. She regularly writes in a “journal” and this summer wanted to type words on my old manual typewriter. The innocent young children are “believers” in the miracle of Christmas. We didn’t have many wanting world peace or gifts for the poor. The children were thinking of their own little worlds.

The Santa Letters have been published in the Mountaintop Eagle for more than 30 years. It is one more time to read and go back in time and remember what Christmas was for you as a child so long ago.

Christmas is the holiday of Peace, Hope and Love. The Mountaintop Eagle wishes all of our friends, subscribers, readers, and advertisers Peace, Hope and Love this week and for the New Year ahead. We all try our best to love our families and participate in our communities. The light is ahead.