Better than a Hallmark movie

Published 9:09 pm Saturday, November 22, 2014

Do you want to get a sense of how well Suffolk retains its small-town charm? Look no further, then, than the front pages of Saturday’s and today’s editions of the Suffolk News-Herald.

This is, perhaps, my favorite weekend of the year in Suffolk, and it’s largely because of the events that were featured on our front pages yesterday and today. Friday’s Grand Illumination of the city’s Christmas tree — though officials will steadfastly avoid using that terrible and offensive term in public — was the sort of event one would expect to see in a Hallmark movie.

In fact, I’m pretty sure I watched the end of that movie with my wife last weekend. We have a running bet about the woman who comes back to town and winds up falling in love with the guy in the hat who seemed aloof and unapproachable in the first half of what seems like every one of the Hallmark plotlines.

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I watch the Hallmark movie channel, because it makes my wife happy for me to do so, and I’ve provided her with enough frustration and irritation that I try to take every opportunity I can find to do a little atoning.

But you can’t watch for long this time of year without getting a heaping helping of small-town Christmas charm, and Suffolk’s tree-lighting — complete with children singing Christmas carols, hot cider and a centrally located Economic Development Department booth (Huh?!) — ticked all the right boxes. Santa was there, sitting inside a little shed that had been set up and decorated for the occasion. There were children dancing and playing and friends reconnecting and even a little politicking going on here and there, because there always has to be some drama, even in a Hallmark movie.

Friday’s event captured all the great imagery that makes Suffolk a special place this time of year, but Saturday’s events (which you can read about on Page 1A) were the true meat and potatoes, as it were, of what the holidays mean to the people of Suffolk.

There were no less than three different locations around the core part of the city Saturday morning and early afternoon where hundreds of volunteers were busy handing out thousands of free turkeys, fresh and canned vegetables and other food to those who needed it.

Participants also got free Bibles, CD’s clothing and other items, and volunteers got the blessing of having helped those who are less fortunate.

That’s the kind of thing that makes Suffolk even better than a Hallmark movie.

And in case anyone’s wondering — today, I’m playing the part of the guy in the hat. I wonder if my wife will notice how attentive and accommodating I’ve suddenly become.