Reflections from the miscellaneous drawer

This is my bah-humbug year. I completed the goals I set for myself for the end of the year. There are now family histories of both my parents along with their parents, and I threw in an abbreviated one on Warren’s family.
But as of last Monday there was not one holiday reminder inside my house.
Yes, I have completed my Christmas list. No, I am not hoping to receive any presents. Please, no. Nothing.
Peace and quiet sounds extraordinary and appealing.
Seeing family members and sharing some time is the best gift to be received.
* * *
Driving the seven miles into town in early morning shows the arc of Ely’s lights penetrating the night sky. The tracks from my neighbor’s car precede mine across the bridge, and alongside the river a light shines from the home of an early riser.
This morning the elderly couple haven’t arisen following the longest night of the year and the young folks whose holiday lights have welcomed them home are dark now for holiday travels.
The house lights of others preparing for the day build the community of workers who like me will soon be at jobs in the area.
This morning Highway 169 is deserted of vehicles, but the road is plowed and clear, ready for those returning home for the holidays.
In the pre-dawn hours an Echo worker slips in to deliver treat bags anonymously and scolds me for getting to the office before her.
I’m working on this column and thinking back on my 80 years, half of which have been at the Echo. We’ve had a rough few weeks - we had to have a new bathroom constructed, the phone system died leaving us with no voice mail or message memory. Some staff and family are coping with health problems or needed vacation time. The usual challenges of being in business.
We have good people on staff and assisting us - Nick, Tom, Lisa, Teri, Cam, Pam, Nancy, Ann, Brad, Eric, Hailey, Tara, Ken, Joe, Trout Whisperer, Bill, Charles, Russ, Teresa and others. They all contribute to creating the Ely Echo and we share a vision of the final product each week.
I’m blessed and grateful for all this and for living in Ely.
Merry Christmas to all.
* * *
In the Ely Echo of December 23, 1996, twenty years ago, the headlines were:
• Wellstone holds private pep fest with northern Minnesotans on mediation team
• Klun, Edlund law firms aiming for Ely post
• Showing at State Theatre: Space Jam; next week: Star Trek First Contact
• Over 100 area businesses sent readers their wishes in a special Echo holiday section. Times have changed, but the town hangs onto its values.