Let’s begin with an admission that I’m a nut for old things.

When local record-store owner Jim Wolford said he wanted to show me a wooden box full of letters home written by three generations of soldiers, I nearly lost my little mind.

Jim trusted me to take the box and sort the contents for a story. He also warned the handwritten letters were difficult to read. This has turned into a case of, “Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.”

I have done an initial sorting, using postmarks when possible, but this is a big job.

We will be doling this one out in small pieces. As a teaser, I will tell you it all begins with an obituary at the bottom of the box, and works its way backwards from there.

An important anniversary

Friday is December 7, a historic date for America and the world alike which has already faded from many memories.

Delores Sarpas of Grayson is not among those who look at the calendar and see December 7 as just another day.

Sarpas will welcome all who care to observe and remember the day with a Pearl Harbor Memorial, at 1 p.m. December 7 at Kentucky Veterans Cemetery Northeast.

I’m not certain who Sarpas will have as her special guests Friday, but have all confidence the program will be an outstanding memorial.

Empty boxes

I was looking for Christmas decorations to photograph last week when I noticed the donation boxes for Project Merry Christmas and the WUGO/WGOH children’s book drive in the lobby at First National Bank were empty.

If you can do anything to help fill either or both of those boxes, it will surely go a long way toward helping local families have a little better holiday.

There are other local charitable projects, such as the Silver Bells program and efforts by local church groups, which can use almost any little thing you can give.

Both of the Blessing Box locations in Grayson were also completely empty when I checked last week. Anyone can support those with big or small contributions, any time of day or night.

Despite my tendencies toward the “Bah, humbug,” I have found giving to others and helping out when you can is a great way to get the spirit of Christmas into your heart and mind.

Parades and processions

I had a great time photographing the Hitchins Christmas Parade Saturday, and personally judged this year’s open-fire-cooked soup beans and cornbread in a cup to be the best batch yet.

I also had to salute local musicians Dustin Burchett and Phillip Green. It was a damp morning, but the guys set up a small P.A. system and played guitars and sang from the back of Tony Collier’s box truck right up until the parade came into sight. I got more photos than we can ever get into print, so be sure to visit journal-times.com to see more.

I stepped on a rock or something along the parade route and was being a bit of a big baby about my sore foot Sunday. I decided I was, however, tough enough to tackle the last scheduled event of Grayson Hometown Holidays 2018 – a candlelight nativity involving three downtown churches. I’m glad I did. It was an inspiring, and blessedly brief, walk between First Church of Christ, Bayless Memorial and Bagby Memorial United Methodist churches. Hearing individuals and families sing along as the group moved from church to church … it was just good, wholesome, hometown holiday celebration and fellowship.

Weather put a major monkey wrench in our plans for this week’s newspapers. Saturday’s rain caused Grayson Hometown Holidays officials to postpone the annual Grayson Christmas Parade until Tuesday, starting at just about the same time as when the presses roll on this issue of The Journal-Times.

The much-anticipated debut of the Grayson Fire Department’s new and improved high-tech Christmas light show was also delayed until Tuesday.

We will save space in the December 12 edition, but plan to go ahead and put many of those photos, and hopefully video clips of both events, online at journal-times.com.

Good news and bad news

I came into this job with an unquestionable directive to abstain from “bad news,” or “anything controversial in any way.” My former publisher gave me a mission to find “good-news stories about hometown people,” and I readily agreed to those terms.

My often-repeated slogan has been, “I am looking for stories which DO NOT involve meth labs and murders.”

Anyone who has been anywhere near me in the last couple of years has heard me say it word for word, time and time again.

Having said that … As we move into 2019, you will be seeing more news of record (from indictments to property transfers), as well as court coverage when there is a big case being tried, and possibly even local fire, police and sheriff reports in the Grayson and Olive Hill newspapers, as well as online at journal-times.com.

Tim Preston can be reached at tpreston@journal-times.com, or by telephone at (606) 474-5101.

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