Street Talk: Christmas memories

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Trenton Spafford, Clarendon

My favorite Christmas memory is probably last Christmas because it was the last Christmas with my grandmother.

RH: What’s your Christmas wish for you friends and family here in Rutland County?

TS: For everyone to just get along despite their differences, I guess.

Kayla Hoffman, Waterbury Center

KH: My favorite holiday memory was just having the day off from school and being with my siblings. I’m the eldest of five. Most of us usually got a bike or something like Legos or a new video game. We all played Sponge Bob a lot, that was our favorite video game I can remember. We’d always have breakfast that my Dad would cook. He would always do chocolate chip pancakes with the ears and, you know, whipped cream and bits.

RH: He was good at that, a good pancake maker?

KH: Yeah, except he’d make them giant. My family’s all big —

RH: You’re not.

KH: No, I was the little one. So, yeah, just riding our bikes, playing with things, just kind of being together really. After awhile you’d just kind of go outside and abandon some of the toys and just be outside. In Florida, we could be outside all day. It was warm and sunny. Sometimes it would have a slight chill that was coming from the north so it was really quite magical. No snow. Lots of sunshine usually. Sometimes we’d have a barbecue.

Morgan Haynes, Rutland

Driving around looking at Christmas lights with my family for hours. Rutland, White River Junction. There’s no other time of year you can park in front of somebody’s house and stare at it other than Christmastime.

RH: How do the decorations compare now to when you were younger?

MH: They’re better! Yeah! Bigger and brighter now. That Christmas spirit keeps growing.

Bill Clark, Pawlet

Some of them go back to when I first met my wife. She was over in Gansevoort, New York. We used to go over there, and we used to have a pretty darned good time, and, of course, we had Christmas at home, too, and had a great big old farmhouse, and naturally we had a tree and presents and things like that and so forth. I always liked to take a little time off to go help the neighbors, too, to make sure everybody else was having a good Christmastime, not just us. And we still do that today as far as that’s concerned. You can’t have a real good time, I don’t think, unless you know everybody else is having a good time, too. You don’t deserve to have one unless everybody else does. A lot of people out there today, you know as well as I do, that are struggling with finances. Medical expenses are extremely high and it’s wintertime here in Vermont whether you like it or not, and there’s fuel costs and housing costs, and things like that. ... I’ve been glad to see in the news how many different organizations — a lot of this I get out of the Albany stations — how many different organizations are helping people with children or with meals and everything over Thanksgiving and so forth. ... I think that’s what makes America great, what makes the country great. You know as well as I do, there’s no other place in the world like Vermont. You’ve got to go back to when Vermont first started. Why do you think they came here in the first place. They were sick and tired of somebody else telling them how to live their lives, good, bad or otherwise. You can go all the way back to Martin Luther, the Episcopals in England, the Puritans, anybody who got in trouble, finally some people said that lousy pile of rocks up there near Lake Champlain, let’s go up there — we’ll do what we want to and let other people do what they want to. As long as they’re not bothering us, however they want to live their lives, that’s their business, not our business, and so a few people come up and settled this bunch of rocks, and you know the rest of the story as far as that’s concerned. And I just seen in your paper just the other day, Vermont today is listed as the most healthy state in the United States and maybe that’s because they haven’t got the money enough to buy junk food.

Karen Ryer, Rutland

RH: Your memory of a New Jersey Christmas. You guys do it any different down there?

KR: It’s very rough and tumble down there in New Jersey.

RH: Why’s that? Were you a gangster?

KR: Well, you know. No. I’m a Sally. Oh, Gosh. I can’t remember.

RH: No memory at all. Completely blanked out.

KR: To be honest? “Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas.” That is the ultimate Christmas to me. If you haven’t seen it, it’s done by the Muppets. It’s amazing. It’s all these little puppets, and it’s timeless.

RH: Not Rudolph? Not Frosty?

KR. Emmet Otter.

RH: Not Jesus?

KR: Well, I guess he’s part of it, too. He’s a big part of it.

RH: What’s your Christmas wish for your friends and neighbors?

KR: Ahh, just have a happy, healthy environment. Be with your family and friends, just make the best of every moment.

RH: And chill, baby, chill!

KR: Chill, baby, chill!

Trine Wilson, Westford

I don’t remember how old I was, but I woke up in the middle of the night. I was at an age where I was questioning Santa Claus. I woke up and I heard Santa in the living room. So I burrowed way down deep and was confirmed that Santa existed.

RH: Fantastic. And you still believe?

TW: Absolutely. Absolutely!

RH: What do you want Santa to bring you this year? More chillin’ for the willin’?

TW: Lots of hugs, lots of chill and lots of calm!

Rachel Bowlen, Dorset

I remember one year pretty much wanting a Toni doll. It was a doll that you could use Toni home permanent with. That was a big thing then. And I got the doll, and she came with a red snow suit. And it just so happened that it snowed that year in South Carolina. It was perfect, a perfect gift.

RH: Do you have a Christmas wish for your friends and family here in Rutland and in Vermont?

RB: Yes, I do. I wish them peace and happiness and health.

RH: Health above all! Thank you, Rachel. Merry Christmas to you.

RB: Merry Christmas to you, and to all — a good night!

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