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December 23, 2014 • Headlines

The William R. Rayner Lodge #177 provided many local children with toys through the Cops for Kids program recently. The participating agencies pictured are Indiana Conservation Officers, Indiana State Excise Police, Indiana State Police, Ripley County Sheriff’s, Batesville Police, Holton Police, Versailles Police and Osgood Police. MARY MATTINGLY PHOTO
The IGA on US 421 in Versailles re-opened on Dec. 12. Building owners, Bobby Wood and family, are now operating the full-service grocery. Pictured from left are Darrin with his dad Bobby Wood at the fresh produce section. MARY MATTINGLY PHOTO
Pictured from left Deanna Young, Phil Mohr and Kathleen Dickman received plaques at the Jac-Cen-Del meeting. For more details, pick up a copy of the Osgood Journal. SUBMITTED PHOTO
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‘He wears a hat because he’s bald’
Kids know best about Santa

Mary Mattingly

On Dec. 24, millions of children go to bed, dreaming of an enormous sleigh overflowing with toys, pulled by reindeer and darting between the night stars, all guided by a big jolly man in a red suit, a man we call Santa Claus. But who is this Santa Claus, this man who brings joy and toys to all the children? Ripley Publishing went to the “experts,” some kindergarteners and first graders from Milan Elementary last week to get the low-down on Santa.

Milan first graders and Santa
Pictured left, Milan first graders Ella Saylor and Thomas Poole share their thoughts about Santa.

We learned Santa wears a red suit, not a blue or a purple one, “because red is his favorite color,” at least according to Madison Barnhill.

Wyatt Bowling explained matter of factly the suit is red because “Red is the color of Christmas. “Conner Smith said Santa needs this suit “because he is poofy.”

Kayla Roell said the suit is his fancy clothes, kind of like church clothes.

As for the hat, “Santa wears a hat because he is bald,” explained Payton Guinn.

The kids also giggled at the idea of Santa in jeans or sweat pants during his off-time, although Ethan Clark said he believes Santa wears tight white pants like leggings when he’s not flying around on Christmas Eve. The suit also keeps him warm, as does his beard. “He was born with a white beard,” Matthew Baylor stated. He also said Santa is old, “like 21.” Madison corrected him, saying no, “He’s 70!” And in case you’re wondering, Santa doesn’t live in Indiana, but the North Pole. Why there? “Because he is Santa Claus. Duh!” said Rylee Mitchell, rolling her eyes at such a silly question.

Santa loves cookies which is also why he is fat, the children said. “Chocolate chip is his favorite. I know because he ate them all. Even the plate was gone!” Matthew added. Perhaps he stashes cookies in his beard just in case someone forgets to leave them out? The kids had not thought of that, and later Thomas Poole checked the beard of the Santa statue at the school cafeteria. ”Nope, no cookies in there, ” he said, tugging at it.

Santa is not a car guy and drives the sleigh when he wants to get around at the North Pole and the rest of the world. Why reindeer? “Horses are too heavy and they do not have power,” Molly Knecht said. Yes, birds fly, they acknowledged, “But they are way too slow and not strong enough,” said Rylee. As Ethan Clark noted, “Santa doesn’t want people to see him flying around. He goes super fast! The sled is big, like 1,000 meters.”

To reach the children, even as far away as China, “magic dust” helps for speed, the Milan kids said. “He goes so fast. Like this,” Rylee says and snaps her fingers. Santa always knows where to go. “He has a map but no phone. He told me that. He told me everything,” Rylee said, rather smugly. “He told me a bedtime story before he left too.” Thomas said it’s more than magic. “The Christmas spirit is what makes Santa and the reindeer fly. It comes from people who believe in Santa. It has to be in your heart. I believe! I have a BIG heart.”

As for hobbies, Santa makes and plays with toys. What about swimming or soccer? “No, no! He can’t run. He’s too fat. He can just walk fast,” said Thomas. “You think he can do a (basketball) dunk?” Ella Saylor says and laughs at the thought.

The naughty-nice list Santa compiles year round has the kids on their best behavior because Santa sees all. Matthew made one mistake this year, he confessed, an accident with a younger sister, but hoped that Santa saw that he put a pillow under her head to make her feel better. Thomas hopes he didn’t see when he went to a wrestling match and acted up. “I don’t know if he saw so I’m probably still on the nice list.”

Since it’s a season of giving, they were asked if they could, what would they give Santa besides cookies? “I’d give him an alarm clock so he could wake up on the right time!” Molly Knecht said. And what is this Christmas spirit everyone talks about? “It’s getting families together,” said Kayla Roell. Even if there were no toys she would still like that her family is together on one day. If Santa can do that, then maybe there is magic after all!

A bright Christmas: Homes show off spirit

Mary Mattingly

George Hughes Christmas spirit is obvious. It’s on display at his house for all to see! The Osgood resident spent four hours a night for some three weeks hanging lights , setting up a nativity scene, a runway with a sleigh, a skylift with an inflatable polar bear and music piped in.

George Hughes lights and decorations
Pictured left, George Hughes extensively decorates his home on Fairground Road.

“We’re a glowing!” wife Sharon says. They are located on Fairground Road at the entrance to the trailer park there.

George said he likes doing it and kind of makes it his hobby year round to find decorations. Most of what he has displayed is recycled, he says. The lights go on at dusk for four hours, but Christmas week will stay on dusk to dawn. Their electric bill is over $400, more than double for the month, but it’s all part of their Christmas.

Spirit on display
There are other places in the area lit up for Christmas. Many remember the late Joe Day’s famous display at the Y in Versailles. Much of his decorations and lights moved up the road, on US 421 to the Lohrum display, a half mile north of JCD school. There are 60,000 lights and many figurines to see. Last year there was some issue with traffic backed up on the busy road but the display is all located on one side and people are encouraged to pull into the side road to view it.

Also nearby, the fairgrounds in Osgood is lit up and has holiday inflatables sure to please the children. If you cross the railroad track at Allen’s Crossing near Osgood, you’ll see a simple display of “Keep Christ in Christmas.” The Menchhofers, who have a son in the US Navy, added a “lighted”  barn quilt square of the “folded flag” pattern which is mounted on the end of the barn.

In southern Ripley County, the residence at 2605 Old Michigan Road has quite the display with even more inflatables as well. And near Holton, on US 50 you can’t miss the Paul and Debbie Hughes’ display. In Friendship, Ron and Janet Linkmeyer, which is close to the firehouse, is a pretty sight. The historic Rand House in Friendship is also tastefully decorated.

On the other end of the county, in Batesville, there is the Weberding exhibit on SR 46. The woodcarver business always create a spectacular classy display with lights, and the Nativity scene. It started with their father, the late Bill Weberding who loved Christmas, and the family has carried on the tradition. While in Batesville, you might check out Columbus Avenue, which is near the hospital. The residents show a lot of spirit, and then turn onto Mulberry Street to see the Jim Saner house display.

Pick up this week's edition of the Osgood Journal for the stories below and more local news. Subscribe by clicking the subscribe link or call 812-689-6364.

• Board members recognized for service to JCD schools (front page)
• Regional Wrap-Up: Woman found dead in driveway (page 3)
• Letters to Santa winners (page 3)
• Horoscopes (page 10)

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