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December 20, 2013

Publisher's Notebook: Searching for the Christmas spirit

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Sometimes it’s difficult getting into the Christmas spirit with our busy lives, all the shopping and crass commercialization, the family gatherings and the acute lack of snow. Sometimes the Grinch is with us right through the holiday.

My life is so busy. I am now responsible for six newspapers and about 150 employees. I’ve been poring over budgets and strategic plans for 2014. December is history. My thoughts are well into the new year.

Many of my friends have or will retire soon, after working 30 years in their professions. I’ve been working 35 years, but my retirement will have to wait, until about five years after I’m dead based on my current financial holdings. But I don’t really envy my friends that get up each morning with nothing to do and nowhere to go. I like being busy.

Combine my job requirements with my five, soon to be six, grandkids and life sometimes can get real hectic. It’s speeding by like a train. It seems like I’ve lost a few years somewhere. I’m sure I’m not alone feeling this way.

So, it’s hard sometimes to slow down and revel in the Christmas spirit that has flowed into us in year’s past. We know the way we should feel, and all that we should appreciate. It’s just slow in coming sometimes.

But always, there comes a moment each Christmas when the holiday spirit hits me and I grasp the true meaning of the season. The moment comes unexpectedly.

It has hit at an American Legion toy giveaway where a young girl, without a coat and other proper clothing, eagerly awaited Santa Claus outside in the cold and snow. Then, the joy she showed when she got her gift warmed my busy, Grinch heart. Thinking about that young girl still moves me years later.

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