the hallmark town

Maybe you've been watching some Hallmark channel Christmas specials.

Maybe you've been wondering if that mythic American small town exists- the one that adult children return to on holiday from their Important Jobs in The Big City- the one whose residents understand that love is more important than money- the one where belief in miracles is all that's needed for true love to be found, small businesses to recover, and families to be reunited. (Also the one where most people are white, lower-middle class, and vaguely Christian.)

Tonight I'm here to tell you to Believe.

Yesterday we braved the flurries and low twenties to attend the town tree lighting and bridge dedication. Here's the town council cutting the ribbon on the new bridge. Yes, don't worry, the secretary saved some ribbon to paste in the town history book.

After the ceremony, we walked though the park, past the reclaimed caboose car which you can tour on special occasions, into the "depot" for cookies and cider. Then we gathered in a Who-like circle of joy and sang carols with Cumberland Gap.

We listened to one of our oldest residents read a poem, "The Light of Upland," and we were admonished by another that the Christmas season is about the birth of Jesus, God's gift to us... And that what that means for us today is that Upland is God's gift to us.

A local pastor read from Isaiah. My toes were frozen, so Owen and I went to the car before the tree was lit, but Rosie and Jack stayed.  After all, they wanted to see Santa.

But I wanted you to know, if you were hoping to find your way into that mythic pastoral American small town that Hallmark loves, with good old-fashioned (and sometimes small-minded, petty, and racist) values, I've found it, it's here, complete with ridiculous hats and heartwarming carols. I do love it.

Merry Christmas.