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Photos of Inter-Mountain by Shannon Bennett Campbell Scarlet trees distinguish the alleys of Elkins Train Depot and provide space for reflection.

The warm late October weather we have become accustomed to is finally gone and we wake up to colder winds as winter draws closer to the starting grid. It’s time to look out for a sunny day to take another fall walk and allow ourselves to contemplate what lies ahead and what we’ll do with it.

No doubt we’ll be considering vacation periods and annual family reunions which have become quite complicated since COVID invited itself to join our social functions. In addition to Grandma’s list of dishes to prepare for the Thanksgiving table, she should also note those “vaxed” and “Not vaxed”.

We learn every day that piles of gifts usually handed out under our colorful Christmas trees can be stranded in California ports. We may think it wise to focus on homemade gifts made by local artisans which can be obtained at several stores in the area.

Likewise, one response may be to turn on the oven to produce homemade candies, cakes, cookies, and pies for offerings this year. We may have to spend a year next to overseas-made items and start removing those Nestlé pieces from the shelves.

Having looked at these issues, how about the caution we have been given regarding some mail delivery slowdowns. It speaks of alarm for those who like to send Christmas cards or those of us who always bring holiday gifts to the Post office a little late in the season. Some obvious course adjustments are necessary.

Mill Creek bowl maker Gary Louk, left, showcases a wide selection of his crafts at a local fair.

We certainly need to assure our children that the reason for the Christmas season has not changed and that the birth of Christ will be celebrated, as usual. The lack of truckers will not calm the choirs singing Christmas carols or any other tradition that is part of the Nativity. And I hope the TV advertisers calm down and stop acting like we can’t celebrate the season because there are delivery slowdowns. The reason for Christmas was delivered a long, long time ago.

We will have time to look in the kitchen drawers for old family recipes of fruit cakes, chopped pies, special decorated cookies, walnut and hickory nut candies as well as eggnog, molded salads. in jello and roast turkey and ham main dishes. This delay problem probably won’t affect a lack of calories in our diet.

As we focus this year on visiting with friends and family, we may have a little more time to enjoy each other’s company rather than spending so many weeks involved in the shopping scene and wrapping gifts that takes so much energy.

My last long journey on foot usually provides me with enough ideas and directions for resilience to set in and I am reassured that everything will fall into place with challenges successfully overcome. We West Virginia have always had to depend on our ingenuity. It is a gift from our ancestors.

Our vacations will be special thanks to the moments of reflection that we have while hiking on our sidewalks and our forest paths. We will be determined to do so.

The assortments of sweets delight all gourmet friends.

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