From Butch . . .

John “Butch” Dale is a retired teacher and County Sheriff. He has also been the librarian at Darlington the past 32 years, and is a well-known artist and author of local history.

Like the rest of you “Baby Boomers,” my Christmas wish list has certainly evolved through the years. As a small fry, I wanted toys, such as a cowboy capgun and a Lionel electric train set. Then just a few years later I hoped to receive sports related items like a basketball, a Warren Spahn baseball mitt, and a Red Ryder B-B gun. Of course, as a teenager, I started to think about clothes, Beatles and Beach Boys records, and a Cushman motor scooter. I knew old Santa couldn’t bring me a car. I was stuck with our family station wagon for dates!

Then came high school graduation, college, and marriage . . . and my wish list switched over to nice things that I could afford to buy for my wife on a skimpy college budget. And then as the years passed and we welcomed our four children into our family, it became my wish to buy them the things they wanted . . . bikes, toys, dolls and sports gear . . . and to see their smiling faces on Christmas morning. Oh, the things I went through to find a Cabbage Patch doll!

And through all of these years, our main wish has been for all of our family . . . our kids and their spouses . . . and our grandkids . . . to be safe and healthy and happy. And of course, this remains as our first and foremost Christmas wish today.

But now, Santa, I would add three more wishes . . . I want all of the kids in America to enjoy life and have a happy childhood like I did when I was growing up in the 1950s and early 1960s . . . I want to see my hometown and all of the little towns in Montgomery County to go back to what they used to be, with family businesses lining Main Street and people socializing in person, not through E-mails and texts . . . and I want to see the citizens of our country . . . all of our citizens . . . get along with each other and be proud to live in the greatest country in the world.

I will keep my fingers crossed, and perhaps someday, even if I am not around, my wishes will come true. To all of my readers and to all of the people in Montgomery County, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!