Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

Our baby Jesus has been stolen from the nativity scene downtown.  This is a really old prank, that happens in cities and towns all over the country.  It’s about as lame and cliche as toilet papering people’s yards.  The thieves are probably teenage boys that thought they’d really get a great laugh out of somebody by ridding the nativity scene of its centerpiece.

I hardly think this is a federal offense, but it is a bit of obnoxious to steal during Christmas, a supposed time of giving.  It’s also disrespectful to people that feel like the nativity represents the “true meaning of Christmas.”

That said, the nativity scene does have  an (oh-so-slight) humorous element without the figure.

The Nativity Scene

Where's the baby?

A surprised shepard



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Nativity scene, Plymouth, Michigan

How do you feel about a nativity scene being displayed at Kellogg Park, which is city property?  I’m looking for respectful dialog on this issue, not personal attacks, attacks against people of faith or people without faith, etc.  If you like the nativity scene and think it’s appropriate, say why.  If not, and you care to discuss it, share your reasons.

I’ll go on record as saying I’m for it.  I think this is still primarily a Christian country and Christians (observant and otherwise) pump billions and billions of dollars into the economy around the Christmas season.  We should able to be open and honest about the religious implications of the season.  I don’t think other religious displays should have to be placed in the park to balance things out, so to speak.  I am a lawyer and I understand the Supreme Court has said religious displays can be part of a larger, non-sectarian celebration.  I just happen not to care what the Supreme Court thinks on the subject.

On the other hand, I could live with all holiday displays being pulled out of the park entirely.  Why?  If society wants separation of church and state — a concept not found in the Constitution — it’s only fair to pull out everything.  I don’t think the government should honor or recognize purely secular things, especially stuff like Santa Claus and elfs and snowmen.

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With heavy hearts, my wife and I attended the Compassionate Friends Candlelight Vigil held last night in Kellogg Park.  The vigil honors and remembers those children lost too soon.  Sadly, we were there to mourn the loss our dear friends’ daughter, Abby Giamporcaro.  While it is painful to watch people you care about suffer — we suffer too in having lost this beautiful young girl from our lives — it is good to remember the one you lost, in our case Abby.  The vigil was a great reminder that our loved ones are what matter most, especially around the holidays, and that we should never take our loved ones, especially our children, for granted.  I’m grateful we had the opportunity to attend.

The Observer & Eccentric has a nice article about the vigil:


When Shelby Gunn’s name was read during the Compassionate Friends candlelight vigil Sunday in downtown Plymouth’s Kellogg Park, it shot through Ralph Hodges’ heart like an arrow.

Hodges winced, and his gaze dropped to the ground as he wiped the tears from them, the name-reading a sharp reminder of the niece he lost when she was killed by a drunk driver on I-275 in Canton 16 months ago.

Hodges was at the annual candlelight vigil, sponsored by the Livonia chapter of the Compassionate Friends, along with his wife and Shelby’s aunt, Debbie Hodges.

“She left us far, far too early … This is a way we can express our feelings,” Debbie Hodges said. “I think (Gunn) would be proud to know we’ve kept her in our hearts and in our thoughts. If it was one of us, Shelby would be out here doing the same thing.”

The vigil drew hundreds of people to Kellogg Park, all mourning a friend, family member or loved one in one way or another. Hundreds of candles were lit in honor of children lost too soon.

Gunn’s name was one of more than 700 read by Compassionate Friends Gail Lafferty and Pat O’Donnell. Lafferty, a Livonia resident who lost her 18-year-old son son, Max, in a 1995 car accident, said the 700-plus names read were the most in the event’s 15-year history.

“Christmas is hard on parents who’ve lost their children,” Lafferty said. “It helps me get through the holidays. It’s a very special night.”

Kassi Gilbert of Canton attended Sunday’s vigil nursing perhaps the freshest pain. Her 14-year-old daughter, Abigail Giamporcaro, died suddenly Sept. 29. Gilbert said her counselor referred her to the Compassionate Friends organization, and she read about the vigil on the group’s website.

Gilbert said Abigail was “very energetic, full of bounce and spirit,” with “some attitude” not uncommon in teenagers.

“It was really hard to hear her name,” said Gilbert, choking back tears. “This is something you have to do to acknowledge she was here, and she was important. It helps us remember her and affirm how much we love her, and that that will continue, even though she’s not here.”

It was the second year attending the vigil for Teri Gunn, Shelby’s mother, a Westland resident who attended her first Compassionate Friends vigil last year just months after her daughter’s tragic death.

She said this year’s event was a bit tougher to take.

“I think last year I was pretty numb,” Gunn said. “The numbness has worn off.”


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Not that I’ve counted or anything, but it seems like there are more lights downtown this year than in years past.  Most years I pay little attention to holiday lights, either in the city or in peoples’ yards.  But since they put up the holiday lights this year, a week or so ago, I’m almost mesmerized when I drive or walk through downtown at night.  Today’s steady rain has coated the pavement, making a mirror-like reflective surface for all the bulbs, traffic lights and neon signs.  I couldn’t resist trying out the night landscape settings on my wife’s new camera.

Main Street, Plymouth, Michigan

The Penn

The Box

Kellogg Park

The Creche

Lights, raindrops


The tree

It's A Wonderful Life

Penniman Avenue

Free Smells

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I’m not much for holiday decorations.  I’m a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas.  But I like seeing the The Three Wisemen aka the Magi making their way from east to west through Kellogg Park.  They have, quite fittingly, started their journey before the leaves are all off the trees.  It’s a long way from Persia to Bethlehem, after all.

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Each year, the homeowners of this haunt, located at Pinetree Drive and Terry Street in Plymouth Township, turn their front yard into a Halloween haven.  I think the pictures say it all.

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Here are some of the sights from last weekend’s first annual Pumpkinpalooza.  The Chamber of Commerce and local businesses switched up the downtown Halloween event this year.  In years past, local businesses put out candy for store-to-store trick-or-treating.  The manager of one very prominent business owner told me that aspects of the past events actually hindered downtown business patronage.  To bring people downtown, and give the kids something fun to do for the upcoming holiday, the community put together Pumpkinpalooza which is more like a mini-festival.  By all accounts, it went over quite well.  It’s obvious from the photos that people had a great time and they lucked out with good weather.

Enjoy the photos (used by permission of Sonia Tomassi and borrowed from the Plymouth Community Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page)

Gorilla and banana family

Hula hoopster

Handsome stoplight

Liam the light

Giant S'more

Fred, Scooby and the Mystery Machine

H_ppy H_ll_ _ een Hangman. I wonder what it spells.


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