We got back from California late at night last Wednesday. We had a wonderful vacation, where we celebrated two Christmases. One Christmas was in my nephew’s home in Palm Springs, and it was our yearly Oetting reunion. It is always nice to see my family; we are spread all over the country. Palm Springs is a nice place to visit and the landscaping is perfect, but there isn’t any personality to the town. It is just miles and miles of miles and houses that all look the same.
For our second Christmas, we went to our granddaughter’s place in San Diego, and she really keeps us busy. We went and saw the new movie Avatar. Put it on your bucket list. Just watching the special effects, I wondered how on earth they did all of this excitement in one film; I couldn’t even guess. I have a new favorite place to visit; it is the San Diego Botanic Gardens in Encinitas. For the first time, they have lightened up the gardens with Christmas lights, and the trail through the park is a mile long. Around every corner there was a new surprise, like lightning bugs through a covered bridge. It will only be for Christmas. It starts three weeks before, and it has been sold out each night, since they are limiting the crowds to 2,000 (at $30.00 a ticket). The cost is well worth it. I can’t wait till spring so that we can walk around the gardens in the daylight.
We got back to find that Santa’s helpers had gotten all of the Sub for Santa finished for her. This wonderful program has been going on since the Kaibab sawmill closed in the nineties. However, it couldn’t take place if it wasn’t for all of the wonderful folks in town and their kind donations. Helping a child at Christmas is the greatest gift that you give; bless all of you for your kindness.
Saturday night is New Year’s Eve, and Panguitch City will be hosting their annual New Year’s Eve Party at the Triple C Arena. It will be starting at 5:30 and going till 10:00. There will be a great dinner, games, bingo, and entertainment. There will be another party for those that like to dance the night away. It will be at the Panguitch Social Hall, and it will start at 9:00 and go till midnight. When we started the New Year’s Party at Triple C, it ran until midnight as well. After a couple of years with only a few people left, it was changed to 10:00. It is a good way to finish out the year with friends and neighbors.
There is a coal mine fire burning in East Carbon. It started in September and is still burning. It is called the Lila Canyon Mine, and it faces a complete shutdown. It is one of the busiest mines in the state and produces 28% of the coal. It means putting 230 workers out of work.
2022 has been a really good year for Americans. We had an economic rebound, with ten million new jobs, and unemployment is down from 6% to 3.5%. COVID deaths have been brought way down, NATO has strengthened, and healthcare has been expanded. The United States is out of Afghanistan after 21 years of losing many of our young fighting men. Gas prices are also falling and that is bringing down the cost of living. We have many new neighbors in town, generating new life. Panguitch High School won a number of state championships, which brings the championship count to over 115. There are most likely many good things that happened to your family, and you should enjoy those moments. It is always a good year if you think positively. I believe that we live in the greatest country in the history of the world, cursing those that try to destroy our Democracy.
I hope all of you had a great Christmas. Sometimes, it is lonely for those that have lost a loved one, and they need your kind thoughts and friendship. This is a special day when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the reason for the season.
If you love what you have, you don’t need anything else.