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Happy holidays to all

Elizabeth Chicoine

I received an influx of inquiring email about a commentary I wrote regarding manners. The overwhelming response was, “When one of these schools pops up in Vail, please add me to the mailing list.”Our society wants to stay civil. And we want to pass the freedoms and blessings that our ancestors fought for and earned for us onto our descendants. The precious pockets of peace that exist in our everyday world are indeed deeply inhaled by all of us seeking solitude. And it is in such solitude interrupted that we are all entering the upcoming winter event now dubbed by Target, Wal-Mart and other such retail behemoths as “happy holidays.” Employees are instructed to not say, “Merry Christmas.” Keep it vague and don’t express yourself to the shopper in a personal way. The goal is to keep those shoppers happy and spending money, all the while using carefully orchestrated greetings meant to please these purchasing people.What faith are you retreating to this holiday season?I can tell you that I am retreating to a Christian view of the world. That is my faith. But I hope that many of you are sitting with loved ones tonight, enjoying what your faith celebrates. Hanukkah, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, your choice, but please celebrate what you believe in. Do not succumb to what store offers the most pleasing generic version. Happy holidays is a politically correct version of tolerance. So greet others with it if you mean it. I like the term. It says I respect your beliefs. But please do not say it if you don’t mean it. In so much toss-and-tumble that is pitched from our two tiny papers in Vail, the Vail Daily and The Vail Trail, I am seeing the Vail Trail’s editorial team section recently as a strong competitor in the commentary section. I agree with the views of John Hannon, age 78, in regard to his assessment of another columnist as needing to be more tolerant. Calling him an evangelist was perceptive.My wish for everyone in the Vail Valley this Christmas (that is my holiday faith and so will be my greeting in this commentary) is tolerance. Mr. Hannon was a teacher to me tonight from the other paper in town. His wisdom and experiences should be listened to. I mentioned his age earlier because I respect age. I’m finding out far too late in life that I should have listened to my parents long ago. And Mr. Hannon is about the age of my dad. Just enough time spans between us for me to think, wow, this guy has seen and learned much in life beyond my seemingly know-it-all naive thinking. He is expressing the need for all of us in this narrow valley nestled along the 50-mile I-70 corridor to be more tolerant. He is employing manners to his message as well. Gosh, I like this guy from the other paper.But how can we drop this feud of two papers? I suggest we harken back to the codes of conduct our grandparents taught us a few generations back. It’s a small town. If you can’t say anything nice to your neighbors this holiday, then don’t say anything at all. In appraising Mr. Hannon’s view, I say let’s listen to him and let’s be tolerant! Eagle County was founded as a result of earlier settlers being able to tolerate church, state, and the separation of those two, as voted upon. That is how our country was founded. But separation does not include intolerance for those believers of any God. America says follow our laws, contribute, and you shall be free to think and believe as you so choose.So, this holiday season, I bid you a merry Christmas, and I look forward to your greeting of “Sarbatori vesele” (Romania), “Hristos se rodi” (Serbia), “Joyeux Noel” (France), “Feliz Navidad” (Mexico), “Sheng Tan Kuai Loh” (China), you name the many ways to say “Merry Christmas” around the world. Vail is an international destination. We have open arms to all who are visiting us to breath in the peace and solidarity of life in a world-class mountain community. Our minds and hearts are open to help your family celebrate your holiday. We are honored that you chose to spend your holiday with us in Vail.Elizabeth H. Chicoine of Eagle writes a weekly column for the Daily. She can be reached at echicoine@centurytel.netVail, Colorado


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