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Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
December 24, 1998     Cape Gazette
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December 24, 1998

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20 - CAPE GAZETTE, Thursday, December 24 - December 30, 1998 CAPE LIFE Henlopen Ruritan upholds Christmas dinner tradition By Jim Cresson Henlopen Ruritan members know how to uphold the old Sussex County Christmas tradi- tion of a down-home dinner meet- ing. With mountainous plates of turkey and ham, big limas, baked apples, dressing and gravy, all topped by a hot roll and crab cake, about 80 Ruritans and their guests sat down at the Harbeson Church Hall, Thursday, Dec. 17, for an evening of good conversation, another year's accumulation of humorous anecdotes, some seri- ous moments of reflection, honors for old friends and-a rollicking good medley of Christmas songs. It was an evening of fine fel- lowship and food, a time of shar- ing the age-old kernels of knowl- edge that always appear at a rural gathering, and a chance to catch up on the latest news from an old friend's farm across the county. "Have the pine trees been a budding on you this fall?" one diner asked another between bites of his apple pie and ice cream dessert. "Everything's a budding; those trees think it's spring already," replied the other farmer. "It'll be rough on them when winter really hits; a lot are going to be hurt bad." "This here is a real crab cake; I just got a piece of shell," announced one of the more dediz cated diners. "This crab was prob- ably swimming in the Chesapeake Bay yesterday. Sure is delicious." And from way down the table, someone caught everybody's attention with the woeful excla- mation: "Hey, this isn't King's ice cream; somebody goofed." In fact, the 'goof' was admitted to, with great regret, later in the evening when Henlopen Ruritans honored longtime patron and friend of the Rurit .arts, King's Ice Cream, as the 1998 Business of the Year. Tom King accepted the award for his family, tactfully declining comment on the quality of the vanilla ice cream served this year. Betty Chaney, national director for Ruritans, sat at the head table with Henlopen president Guy Phillips and his wife and laughed as Ruritan Allen Riley emceed the event and presented the annual awards, complete with warmly humorous anecdotes about each honoree. "There's nowhere I would rather be than here in Delaware with my Ruritan friends," said Chancy, who has attended three of the annual Christmas dinners in Harbeson.-"This so exemplifies the spirit of our organization. You are the the kind of people with the kind of club that makes us all proud to be Ruritans. And you really know how to enjoy Christmas." Ruritan Delmarva District Gov. Bill Greaser of Snow Hill, Md., seconded the national director's assesment of a Henlopen Ruritan Christmas. "Your club's true con- cern for your neighbors and com- munity organizations has made this one of the best Ruritan groups in all of Delmarva. Keep up the good work," said Greaser. County Councilman Lynn Rogers, a Ruritan member and president of the Milton Volunteer Fire Company, accepted a club donation to the fire company and Continued on page 22 Jim Cresson photos A down-home Christmas at Henlopen Ruritan would not be complete without the enter- tainment of the No Name Band, composed of (l-r) Bob Littleton, Ron Lynch and Don Murray. Amid the standard fare of season songs, the trio told stories, made everybody do the Hokey- Pokey and did rock-a-billy renditions of Duane Eddy's "Raunchy" and Glenn Miller's "In The Mood." Milton Volunteer Fire Company president Lynn Rogers, left, was presented with a cash donation to the fire company and a Rudy Ruritan stuffed toy used by emergency crews to comfort children in times of stress. Rogers, a longtime Ruritan and county council member, was presented the award by Allen Riley. 'Battery denial' a typical Christmas Eve affliction As the story goes, "'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse..." We are not talking about my house, of course, where the mice are enjoying their annual Christmas tradition of sending out reconnaissance patrols to video- tape six intelligent, college-edu- cated adults, on our hands and knees, trying to connect a wooden bridge to a bat cave that is held up by four towers, overlapping a plastic moat containing a half- eaten slice of pizza. But we do have that warm Christmas glow on our cheeks, mostly from the heat thrown off by the accompanying set of direc- tions, which appeared to be writ- ten in some sort of hieroglyphics and then translated by a Senate sub-committee, but have the AROUND TOWN Nancy Katz added advantage of burning beautifully in the fireplace. And the camaraderie is evident in the familiarity of the way we address each other. Cries of "Who is the moron who lost the screw that goes into the wenchet?" can be heard above barking packs of wild dogs. And "Nice going genius, you drilled a hole right through the back of the bat garage and hit our septic sys- tem." This video tape will be shown later as the mice gather around their Christmas tree, a holiday greeting card from my extermina- tor with the signature "Carmine's Complete Pest Control Unlimited," gnawed around the edges. The laughter and guffaws will continue long into the night as they get liquored up on cheap, contaminated standing water and watch us hunt under chairs and behind couches for Part A, that is essential to connect Part B, and therefore connect the entire bat kingdom. Actually, Part A was never included in the package, but was used by a worker in the third world country where it was assembled to stick under the assembly table to insure it would stop rocking back and forth. Ever since clement Moore wrote this famous poem, the American public has striven to uphold the Christmas Eve stan- dard set by a couple identified in the story as Ma and Pa, whose sole achievement that night was to settle in for a long winter's nap. But we now know the reason for this deep coma-like sleep was not all those sugar plums dancing in their heads, but a condition called "battery denial." It's a defense used quite extensively by lawyers like Alan Dirchowitz, whose sole practice is limited to appearing on Larry King Live and obnoxiously discussing trials, even though he would not be able to distinguish a courtroom from a bathroom. In other words, never, ever admit you forgot to buy batteries. Today, the problem for most Americans is not buying the bat- teries, or even lying for that mat- ter, but more of a visual crisis. If you take your average battery and hold it up so that it is resting directly on your cornea and almost embedded into your iris, you may be able to distinguish the plus end from the minus end. After eight hours of this, any rea- sonable person would take to their bed. But Moore did get a lot of things right in his Christmas Eve poem. The reindeers do arrive, mostly by following UPS trucks, and Santa does appear, even if it's through a sliding glass door, and children do awake to half built bat caves. So I wish you all a Merry Christmas. And so do the mice.