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Posted: November 20, 2011 12:00 a.m.

Thankful for our community

They may just give Dasher, Dancer, Vixen and Rudolph a run for their money.

The Newton 4-H rein-lambs and the 4-H’ers leading them had such a great time leading Santa into the Square, I think they may be challenging the original reindeer to a few reindeer games.

I’m one of those folks who doesn’t think we ought to start Christmas too early, but somehow Thursday night didn’t quite seem like Christmas.

Seemed a little more like a great Thanksgiving celebration to me.

The Covington courthouse lighting isn’t quite the same as hearing Christmas music in a store in October.

As a friend pointed out, perhaps a little of it is tradition.

For as long as I can remember, Covington has welcomed Santa on the Thursday before Thanksgiving.

It seems hard to believe it has been at least 15 years since I worked that night each year for Steve Reagan Photography as he captured seemingly countless smiles with Santa.  

Watching the line of smartly dressed kids parade past the registration table to deliver their lists to Santa was a little magical for me, too.

I can’t even remember if I ever attended a similar celebration in the other towns I’ve lived in since, but I guess it didn’t feel the same if I did.

A few years ago, 4-H was invited to hold a craft fundraiser as part of the downtown kickoff.  

We were thrilled last year to introduce the rein-lambs to the night’s festivities.

Like all of the other community organizations involved in the performance on Thursday, we’re thankful to call Covington home.

Covington — a place where the community gathers in support of local youth groups, civic organizations, and businesses each year a week before Thanksgiving.

We heard outstanding musical performances, listened to an inspiring essay and enjoyed a rousing version of the 12 Days of Christmas. 

Even walking through the stores, it seemed like something more than the frenzied shopping we so often see this time of year.

People were greeting friends and neighbors, and even I ran into several old classmates.

And that’s exactly why this doesn’t seem like the crazy Christmas chaos I hate to see start earlier each year.  

Someone also pointed out how busy our lives become from the beginning of Thanksgiving break through Christmas, and that’s probably another good reason to hold the celebration a little earlier.

It’s so hard to shoehorn another activity into the hectic month of December with all the family, school, and club events scheduled.

So I, for one, am thankful to see this tradition continue.

I’m also thankful for the difference the pop tabs our county collected will make in the lives of families making use of the Ronald McDonald house this year.  

Newton County 4-H’ers and community  members collected a grand total of 461 pounds of pop tabs  this year.

We’ve already begun next year’s collection, so keep bringing in those aluminum tabs.

We’re about to wrap up our book collection for The Learning Center, so there are still a few days left to bring in your donations.

New and gently used books can be brought to the second floor of the Newton County Administration building.  

On Tuesday we’ll have an office full of youth cleaning, labeling and sorting the donations for use in literacy programs around our community.

You can also bring donations for Toys for Tots to the office.

We’ll be sure to deliver the toys to the Newton High JROTC program so that you can be sure your donations are used here in our own community.

If you have a seventh to twelfth grader hanging around the house, you can call about times to drop them off, too.

We’re working on the year’s portfolios of project work, leadership experience, and service efforts with our junior and senior 4-H’ers as they wrap up the project year.

By Christmas, we should have quite a collection of records of all the great work our youth are doing.

Just one more thing to be thankful for.

 

Terri Kimble is the Newton County 4-H Educator through the UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at (770) 784-2010 or tkimble@uga.edu.

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