A Hallmark Christmas

A Hallmark Christmas

You know how every year Hallmark channel has a string of cheesy Christmas movies? Well I will admit, usually I love watching them, cheese and all. Now the maid marrying a prince is a bit far-fetched, but I’ve always felt like there has to be a place somewhere that actually has those cheesy Holiday seasons. I’ve thought, maybe it’s a mindset. If your anything like me, Christmas always looks magical in October or November when you still have time and no real plans made yet. As the actual day gets closer, you go from counting days until that magical family time, to counting days until it’s over.

FYI I found the town from the Hallmark movie, and yes, a good portion is the mindset. I’m new to town so for me, it’s Hallmark, for those that have been here 20 years……maybe not.

Let me tell you my Christmas story.

With moving from one small town to another, we knew one thing, to become part of the community you have to try to become part of the community: Join groups, attend activities, do things. This small town DOES THINGS – If you want something to do, you need only to be open to a busy schedule. The town has bingo every Friday night at the Eagles (yup we even became members), around Easter is Ham Bingo, Thanksgiving has Turkey Bingo, there is a dinner auction for this historical society, a social & auction for one of the city auxiliary groups, more and more, but this story starts with Christmas Kickoff.

The town has an event called Christmas Kickoff – the town that still believes.

xmas kickoff

It starts on Friday after thanksgiving, and the town turns into a Christmas wonderland.  Hayrides, reindeer, Santa, bazaars, shops are all open, historical sites are open and decorated, and families are out together. Once the sun goes down it just gets better! There was a living nativity, camel and all. The story of Christmas for all to see – no politics, no drama, just some wise men, a camel, and the most famous new mom in history (yes the others were all there too – Joseph, angels, sheep, etc.). After watching the living nativity, we ducked into the Eagles to warm up and snack; we had about 30 minutes until the parade. It was an added bonus, the place was packed, and we found a table with some friends for a few minutes of socializing and snacks. Even some fun conversation on famous crushes that are a bit older than our spouses – I believe there was Sam Elliot, Reba, Tom Selleck, and I forget the other women’s names thrown out – haha.

The parade started and that’s where the real magic and the Hallmark movie peaked – Oh there were lit tractors, and firetrucks, teams, and 4H. With every new lit entry my toddler would literally say “oooo – ahhhh” and then cheer as loud as he could. My older son’s face was lit up like the kids on the sandlot during the fireworks scene. That’s where the magic was. As the last entries in the parade came by they held big signs saying “follow us!” and the town filed into the street to follow the parade to the town tree decorated by the grade school. Once everyone had gathered there was the countdown 3.2.1… and the tree lights up. You hear kids all around pointing and squealing with delight to show the ornaments they made and the ones of their friends and siblings. We filed back into the Elks for a few warm up minutes and then made it back out just in time to gather around the court house for the fireworks.

So, yes, I have found my Hallmark town, I’m not trading it for anything of this world. It has helped give me happy children who sparkle in the magic of a small farm town, and we are blessed to have been welcomed in with open arms just like a Hallmark Christmas movie. Maybe next year I’ll remember to take pictures (or better pictures ha-ha)- this year I was too preoccupied and in the moment.

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The Community I Call Home

The Community I Call Home

We live outside a small town in Eastern Washington that at first look appears one step from being a ghost town or a farm stop taken over by industry. The first time I drove into this small town I was surprised and confused at the same time. The highway into town seems like a “main street”, but it’s really not, a main housing section is made up of manufactured homes and dirt roads. Once I found what could be considered “down town”, there was what looked like a bar with a patio on top. I was there for a business meeting and it was only about 10am on an early spring week day, so people were nowhere to be seen. I thought for sure this was a town on its way out. Definitely not somewhere I would ever move to. Fast forward a handful of years later, and Hubby and I bought a house just a few miles out of this run down little town.

At first look people may think I’m crazy. I’m pretty sure some of the corporate visitors to my office (also in this same sleepy town) think it’s a total lack of options to live in this little town. I don’t view it that way though. Granted, it’s a 20+ minute drive to a chain store, and we only recently got a fast food restaurant (if that’s what subway is classified as). But what the town offers is actually quite priceless.

Once the weather warms up the town is actually quite quaint.  The grass turns green, most homes are well taken care of, and once you find them, there are a couple nice parks too. A city worker waters the street plants by hand using a golf cart / water tank. The school is pretty good, with all grades located on the same campus. Though they don’t have a track team, if a student wants to play a sport, they will likely make the team. They are known for having a strong baseball team and extremely strong coed wrestling team. For the younger kids there are year round activities they can be involved in from flag football to dance or cheer camps. The school hosts multiple free movie nights, great for all age students, and the community is quite involved in everything. The area also has the traditional country charm of 4H and Junior Rodeo participants. And despite the multiple dirt streets in town, they are some of the most well maintained streets you will find. Definitely less potholes & snow mess than most towns.

Currently there is a community project based around building a rec center. It progresses more each day. Currently it houses some circuit gym equipment and hosts a variety of activities including batting cages, dance classes, and martial arts classes. In the long run the goal is to add a daycare / preschool facility (currently there is neither in town), a coffee shop, and a full sized basketball style gym.

If you were to ask me now to describe this sleepy little town, I’d say “it’s mine”. It’s a quaint, sleepy little town that makes plans and schedules around planting and harvest seasons. A community that pulls together to help others. And a town that still has the traditional parades of years past where candy is still thrown and fire trucks still spray water.

Below are some pictures from the rec center project – Seminis/Monsanto volunteers.

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