Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

It’s Christmastime, a holy time for some faiths, but a special time to celebrate the spirit of the season, regardless of creed or belief. Peace on earth, good will to men (and women) has been a guidepost for centuries and, hopefully, will take on even more meaning as the country transitions from one administration to another.

Regardless of the coming availability of the new vaccines, the coronavirus pandemic will continue to be front and center for many more months, but the vaccines offer much needed hope for controlling the disease.

It is hard to know whether Santa and his elves will wear masks and be socially distanced on his world-wide deliveries, I hope he carries many candy canes, and some lumps of coal, for distribution in stockings around the region tonight. In case Santa lost his list, here are some reminders:

• A candy cane for those who wear their masks, faithfully and correctly, to protect themselves and others from potential coronavirus exposure. A lump of coal for those who can’t be bothered, and multiple lumps to those who view masks as a political statement. It’s about health, not politics!

• Candy canes for motorists who observe the speed limit on neighborhood streets, and who come to a full stop at big red “STOP” signs. Lumps of coals to those who don’t.

• Candy canes to all those volunteers who offer their time and expertise, without remuneration or ego, to help their community in so many ways. Some volunteers seek to reduce hunger in the community, others work to improve the environment or housing opportunities. Regardless of the subject matter, volunteers are priceless.

• Lots of candy canes for all those who voted in the November elections. Unprecedented long lines for early voting might have elicited some frustrating behaviors, but most voters waited patiently, and gave kudos to the elections staff and volunteers who ensured a fair election, and an accurate count.

• A lump of coal for anti-vaxxers and others who reject proven scientific research that can protect the lives of millions. Vaccines save lives and eradicate disease — polio and smallpox are just two of the deadly diseases that have nearly disappeared from the planet — thanks to vaccines, and those groundbreaking scientists deserve candy canes, too.

• Candy canes for the Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA) (accacares.org) for decades of service to provide affordable child care, rental assistance, a food pantry, and gently used furniture for families in need. Candy canes, too, for other non-profit organizations that provide services to our community. Bethany House (bhnv.org), which helps with housing and counseling services for women and children victims of domestic violence, and Culmore Clinic (culmoreclinic.org), which provides medical services to uninsured residents, are two that come to mind. In fact, rather than candy canes, these non-profits would welcome financial donations to wrap up the year and start the new one.

• Lumps of coal to those who fail to support their local newspapers, resulting in the death of small dailies and weeklies across the country. Local journalism is crucial to keep people in touch with their community. We may live in the white-hot center of global politics, but the Washington Post doesn’t cover much of the small-town stuff, even though we live it every day. The Falls Church News-Press does a nice job of covering stories that matter at the local level, and deserves a candy cane!

• Finally, candy canes to our readers. Without you, weekly columns would be just a bunch of words on a page; with you, it can be a conversation.

Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, and smile behind your mask; 2020 is almost over!