||Centre's coolest holiday memories, continued
RELEASED: Jan. 6, 2005
DANVILLE, KYLast week, Centre faculty and staff were asked to share their coolest holiday memories. Because the response was so overwhelming, a "part two" story was in order.
Amy B. Dedman, Admission Officer: "I was fortunate enough to receive from my lovely aunt and my adorable cousin an 11-inch animated plush goat that yodels 'The Lonely Goatherd' (from The Sound of Music)."
Ray Hammond, Professor of Biology: "I spent the holiday in Japan with my son and daughter-in-law. The highlight was the morning I was to return to the U.S. My son Jason is the Officer in Charge of VRC 30, Detachment 5, C2 squadron at Atsugi Naval Air Facility. Last Thursday morning, he received orders to dispatch his squadron to Singapore to assist the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Tsunami relief effort. I got to watch the entire aircraft preparation process for their departure. I find this to be a very appropriate use of U.S. military strength and feel honored (and certainly proud) to have witnessed that part of an historically significant event."
John Roush, President: "Our best gift arrived December 23rd. That's when our 15-month-old grandson, Sam, arrived from California with his parentsour son, Luke, and his wife, Brooke. With Mark, our younger son, already home from British Columbia, we feel blessed to have our family together for Christmas. Together we'll celebrate the holidays and do some major traveling, but the best part of it all for Susie and me is having our gang together. That's cool!
Bettie Poland Receptionist/Director of First Impressions (Admission Office): "My friends from my Centre days in the '70s all got together in October to celebrate our year of turning 50. We took a two-week trip to Venice, Croatia and Strasbourg, France. There were six women and three Centre husbands in all. For Christmas, I got a framed picture of all of us with the Croatian coast and the Bay of Zaton in the background. I treasure the picture as I treasure my 30-year friendship with my co-Centre alums."
Bradley H. Nystrom, Professor of Education: "One Christmas I sent my brother in Minnesota a wooden trivet from Berea. It was not meant to be confusing, but my brother was puzzled by the gift and had no idea what it wasa drying rack for tiny towels or a faulty abacus? When I talked to him a few days after Christmas, I was surprised that he was so puzzled, but I did tell him what the gift was a small stand to hold a hot dish.
"The next year I received a gift from my brother that I couldn't identify, and the tradition of the mystery gift had begun. For the last dozen years or so, we've exchanged mystery gifts of various sorts. While there are no formal rules, the gifts are supposed to be relatively cheap, usually under $10, but often around a dollar or two, and usually we're expected to spend several days trying to determine what the gift is before we are told its identity. Examples of mystery gifts are a paint roller cleaner, a cheese button, a wrist magnet, a pickle juice separator, a coffee filter separator, a chopstick holder, a hot dog lifter, wine glass charms, and the most expensive mystery gift, the Tingler.
"It's always a special moment at Christmas when the mystery gift is opened, usually one in Kentucky and one in Minnesota, and everyone present tries to help determine what it is. The hunt for the next mystery gift starts immediately, and I've even enlisted the help of my classes for suggestions."
Jennifer Muzyka, Associate Professor of Chemistry: "My favorite Christmas gift this year was a ristra, a long string of dried chili peppers. I lived in New Mexico and west Texas as a kid, so these strings of peppers were a familiar site to me. This ristra is intended as a decoration for my kitchen in my new house. We've been 'under construction' for well over a year and the end of the building process is finally in sight. I can't wait to hang the chili peppers in my new kitchen."
William R. Levin, Professor of Art History: "Nothing received by me this year really qualified other than a soft-blue necktie decorated with a pattern of tiny martini cocktail glassesmy favorite 'adult beverage'from one of my daughters.
Bob Martin, Boles Professor of Economics: "One of the many unexpected benefits of parenthood is the opportunity to explore magical moments from childhood through the eyes of your children and their children. Marlene and I have three children, three grandchildren, and another grandchild on the way. When the kids were young there were frequent opportunities to enjoy holidays, the circus, rodeos and amusement parks through their eyes. These events were always a ready excuse to behave like a child and enjoy the moment. However, as parents you still had to maintain enough adult perspective to ensure the well-being of the familyyou could not really lose yourself in the moment.
"With the arrival of grandchildren, I find I'm relieved of that responsibility and can count on my now thoroughly adult children to supervise the process. I'm at last liberated to be as silly as I want to be among my grandchildren. To that end, we staged an elaborate Christmas event for my three grandchildren this year in Austin with me cast as Santa Clausit appeared I was the only one who had the physique for the lead role. Marlene made a truly amazing Santa Claus suit for me. My adult children choreographed a dramatic entrance for the benefit of the grandchildren on the night before Christmas.
"My oldest grandchild, Chloe, is 4 years old. Her brother Travis is 18 months old and Connor, 9 months old, is Aaron and Mariam's first child. Chloe is the only one old enough to 'bust' me as Santa Claus, but she wanted to believe so we hoped she would go along. The entrance went as planned and Chloe did her part with enthusiasm, complete with letters and candy for Santa and a stick of celery for Santa's reindeer. Travis eagerly climbed into my lap and enjoyed the attention. Connor was not so surehe was wary at first and then became convinced the strange-looking man with the white hair and beard was a little too different for his tastes.
"My own children loved seeing me in this role and were greatly amused by how I threw myself into the part. As for me, it was the best Christmas gift of all."
Mona Wyatt, Associate Director of Development: "When my son was about 5 or 6 he was an avid rock collectorany and all kinds. One day near Christmas he looked up at me and asked: 'Do you HAVE to be bad to get coal in your stocking from Santa?' I could see those wheels churning in his head and quickly responded, 'No. If you REALLY want coal Santa will bring you some!' So, I went out and found a few pieces of real coal for his stocking and he was thrilled. He's the only child I know of who's asked for coal in his stocking. Now, I occasionally buy the 'gag' coal to put in his stocking as a reminder of that sweet Christmas."
Deborah A. Jones, Director of Career Services: "When I was about 5 I was out shopping with my parents and saw a magnificent rocking horse. You pulled the string and it whinnied. It was a pinto named Blaze. I remember thinking it was too much for Santa to bring me. For the first and only time I was the first one up on Christmas morningand there was Blaze beside the tree. He was too big for me to get on by myself but I LOVED him.
"Fast forward to last year. After a lifetime of dreaming of having my own farm and breeding a baby horse for myself, I got the farm in January of 2000. Last year, my mare delivered my first homebred baby horse. Last Christmas, I went to the early Christmas Eve service and then went home to feed the horses. It was snowing and I stood in the three-sided stable and listened to my young horse and her 'Auntie' eating their dinner and watching it snow. I thought about how grateful I am for this dream finally coming true and how appropriate and peaceful it was to be standing in a stable on Christmas Eve watching it snow."
Sherri Gowins, Career Services: "Sometimes it's the gifts you didn't get that you remember most. Last Christmas, my 21-year-old son Derrick picked up his 13-year-old sister Whitney at her dad's house. On the way home, Derrick told Whitney that Troy, my husband, had bought me a brand new Lexus with big red bow on it, just like the commercial. When they pulled into the drive Whitney asked Derrick where the new car was. Derrick replied, 'It's in the garage. They didn't want it to get dirty.' Whitney, very excited, came in the house and got ready to go to her grandpa's for Christmas lunch. When it came time to bundle up and put on coats, hats and mittens, Whitney asked if we could drive mom's new car. I said, 'What new car?' At that point Whitney knew Derrick had just been setting her up to pull her leg. Whitney and I both turned to Derrick and both said, 'DERRICK!!!!'"
Hank Lewis, Visiting Assistant Professor of English: "My greatest gift comes on all of the other days besides Christmas, when people realize that they don't need one particular faith, one particular celebration, or one day of the year to express love and peace by giving someone something that they have purchased."
Ruben Dupertuis, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion: "Jill and I had one gift each under the tree. Eva, our 17-month-old daughter, had thirty-something. Best holiday gift I received? Watching our family go ga ga over our daughter Eva."
Daniel R. Henderson, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology: "I guess that my submission category would be 'worst gift received.' As a joke, my sister gave me a Chia Shrek, with the real gift (money) inside. She has two daughters who were sure to enjoy it, so I selflessly and generously gave it to them. "
Randy Hays, Dean of Student Life: "The Student Life Office has a longstanding tradition of exchanging only small gifts with one another in a 'Dirty Santa' style swap at the Bowlarama, but then going shopping together to buy gifts for two Angel Tree children. We enjoy the shopping trip togethertrying to get the most bang for our collective bucks to provide as much as we can for the kidsand it gives us a small reminder about what's really important during the holidaysgiving to others."
Rick Axtell, Associate Professor of Religion: "I go to an inner city church in Louisville that's long been concerned about the commercialization of Christmas. Eleven years ago, we decided that rather than receive gifts we don't need, we'd ask family and friends to take the money they might spend on gifts to us and redirect it to a development project in Central America. For four of the 11 years, the resulting funds have purchased land rights and constructed a water project in the Mayan village of Ximbaxuc, Guatemalaa $12,000 project that's now almost finished and will soon bring clean drinking water to each house in this village of returned war refugees that I'd visited in 1999. We've also been able to fund a community center and extension of the electricity grid in a village in Nicaragua. The annual project has energized our little church community and restored a sense of the meaning of the season for all of us."
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