Event is simply the spirit of Christmas
| December 18, 2010 8:00 PM
"Just to see all those little kids marvelling at their toys ..."
My younger son, David, was shaking his head in wonder a few years ago. David, Chris and I had just left the Enaville Resort and its annual Christmas kids' party. It's a 10-year tradition that's one of the finest in the Silver Valley.
A retired L.A. cop who insists on anonymity rents the Snakepit for a night. People donate toys. Joe and Rose Mary Peak, owners of the restaurant, help with the food and the staffing. And word goes out to the poorer families of the Valley to drop by the resort on a given night to see Santa.
It's simply the spirit of Christmas, a scene to warm the hardest of hearts. Families whose budgets don't normally allow a meal at a nice restaurant are heaping their plates at the buffet. Kids stand in awe at the pool table stacked with toys, weighing one against another and making a hard, happy choice. And Santa sits in a special chair, talking to each wide-eyed tyke and watching everyone enjoy the evening. Anonymously.
The tradition continued Thursday evening. My wife Chris and I, with our neighbor John Helbig, dropped by. Santa glowed on his throne. Little kids raced around the restaurant. Joe and Rose Mary's younger son Andy and his wife, Sharis - every bit as lovely as she was as a clerk at Gary's Drug years ago - brought their kids. Fr. Jimmy, Andy's older brother, is in Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne. He was there in military spirit through the Kellogg High School Marine ROTC, whose young men and women were in perfect uniform to help wait tables. Rose Mary chatted with her many friends. Jean Vosberg stood near the door to harass the innocent.
Joe wasn't around. A close personal friend and a great asset to the Shoshone News-Press through his popular "North Fork Notebook" column, Joe is fighting a tough, painful battle with cancer. As is Rose Mary.
The disease was barely visible Thursday night, buried for the evening in Santa's smile, in the steaming food, in the joy of the kids using brand-new crayons in their brand-new coloring books at the next table, in the hum of happy families meeting their friends in a holiday celebration. I was thinking about the Celebration of a Birth, of young life, of young love - our editor, Nicole, was meeting her fiance at the Spokane airport that night - and of where life and love inevitably leads all of us.
A little boy walked by, marvelling at the electric drum set he had clutched to his chest. That's serious noise about to happen on Christmas morning.
God help his parents.
God, spare Joe and Rose Mary, though Thy will be done.
God bless us, every one.
Dan Drewry is the publisher of the Shoshone News-Press.