Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church


Can it be December already? What happened to 2010? It’s hard to believe that we are in holiday mode already. I was touched by the sentiment expressed by the clerk at Giant who pointed out, as I was picking up Thanksgiving dinner, that he had a lot to be thankful for — he woke up that morning, he had a roof over his head, he had a job, and a family. God had been good to him, he said. Simple needs, nothing extravagant, but it fulfilled his life. He was thankful, and shared that pleasant outlook with his customers. Quite frankly, it made my day!

Later in the weekend, I received an email from a constituent who shared his own Thanksgiving greetings. His comments were brief, but thoughtful, and tailored specifically for me. I was touched by this kind and generous gesture, completely unexpected, but very gratefully received. Again, it made my day.

These two brief, unrelated, messages got me to thinking about how easy it is to say “thank you” automatically, but also how easy it is to go that one small step further and personalize how we say thank you. For instance, holding the door for someone, male or female, is a time-honored indication of thoughtfulness. But how many times does the door holder get thanked, more than perfunctorily, by the person passing through? It doesn’t take much effort to look at the person and flash a smile when saying thank you. At a civic meeting out of state last weekend, I held the door open for two elderly women walking into the building. Their reaction was one of surprise and pure delight, and their voices showed it as they thanked me. Do you ever thank the checker at the grocery store? Or the pharmacy clerk? Or the bus driver? Watch the next time you are in line and see how many people take that little extra step to personalize their thank yous. In our busy, A-personality world, it takes only a few seconds to make you, and others, feel good about living in our great Mason District community.

Two events of note are coming up this week. Tonight, the 15th Annual Mason District Holiday Town Gathering kicks off at 7 p.m. with music by the Parklawn Ramblers, a local bluegrass group. The holiday event is held at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale, and features live music, refreshments, my State of the District report for 2010, and an opportunity for neighbors to visit. Door prizes also will be awarded to lucky winners.

Tomorrow night, the Annandale Chamber of Commerce will host the annual holiday lighting ceremony at Toll House Park, at the corner of Little River Turnpike and Annandale Road. The festivities will begin at 5 p.m., and a reception will follow at the Burke and Herbert Bank next door. It’s been nippy the last couple of years for this event, so hats, gloves, and warm coats are recommended.

On Monday night, December 6, Fairfax County will host a Transforming Tysons Open House at George C. Marshall High School, 7731 Leesburg Pike, at 7 p.m. County planning staff will be on hand to present the plans for Tysons, and attendees will have an opportunity to discuss with landowners their applications for redevelopment under the new Tysons Plan. All of these events are open to the public free of charge.


Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov