In our diverse community, holidays are celebrated in many ways, sometimes via classic and familiar stories heard since childhood; other times the holiday observances and practices are not so familiar, but nonetheless, all are meant to be shared with family and friends. Sunday is Christmas, an important date for the Christian faith, regardless of denomination, and gift giving replicates, in a traditional sense, the offerings of the Wise Men to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. Old European legends include not-so-nice gifts, like lumps of coal, for those who were deemed to be less than good little girls and boys during the previous year.
Following that theme, here are some candidates for lumps of coal, as well as sugarplums (a la The Nutcracker) for those stockings hung by the chimney with care:
• Multiple lumps of coal to scofflaws who blast through stop signs, turn right on red without stopping, and create havoc for pedestrians and other drivers.
• Sugarplums to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) for aggressively repaving many Mason District roadways this past season. Additional state funding for VDOT will focus on continuing this work in 2017.
• Sugarplums to VDOT and its private contractors, who did yeoman service to plow our roads during and after Winter Storm Jonas, and get the area moving again.
• Lumps of coal, though, to plow jockeys and others who pile snow onto sidewalks and bus stops, creating ice mountains for pedestrians to scale.
• Sugarplums to the Stanley Martin Company and the residents of Lakeside Plaza for the new traffic signal at Columbia Pike and Powell Lane. The culmination of decades of patience by the residents, and installed by the builder as part of the proffers for the new Ambrose Hills community, the signal went “live” this week.
• Sugarplums to the coordinators of the 2nd annual Taste of Annandale community event held in October. A rainy day didn’t keep neighbors away, and everyone had a good time.
• Lumps of coal to drivers who pass stopped school buses delivering students to and from school. It’s a dangerous practice, and tickets would be better than coal!
• Lumps of coal to the miscreants who use public property to dispose of their old stuff – tires, mattresses, broken furniture, used bricks and concrete, household trash, etc. It creates additional costs for us all as taxpayers, since public agencies are left to collect and dispose of the stuff properly.
• Sugarplums to our public safety personnel – police, fire and rescue, 911 operators, etc. – who toil on a 24/7 basis to ensure that we enjoy a safe community, even in very trying times.
• Lumps of coal to the trolls who revel in using social media to spew misinformation, false stories, hatred, and the dark side of humanity, under the cloak of anonymity. Cowards!
• Sugarplums for all the folks who provide unseen, but vital, services to our community every day. Water gets safely delivered, and wastewater properly treated, because of investments made, by the ratepayers and taxpayers, to maintain and upgrade the ecosystem of our unseen award-winning and environmentally sound water infrastructure.
• Sugarplums to Nick Benton and the readers of the Falls Church News Press for giving me the opportunity to share thoughts with you for nearly 20 years so far. May your holidays be merry and bright!
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at [email protected]