Dear friends, isn’t it great to be here tonight? I relish this moment because time seems to stand still. It is a moment I feel most connected to the very spirit of what it means to be a part of our Warwick Valley. Maybe it’s the simple act of coming together and singing and maybe it’s the common threads that connect us as friends and neighbors. What I love most is that as we enter this great old Meeting House, we leave our troubles at the door. If you look just outside these incredible windows the world is swirling around us. It is often a harsh world and every day we contend with it with hope and hard work. But tonight, there is no hard work and there is plenty of hope and there is spirit and love and joy! And we are here, protected in the arms of this meeting house – in the warmth that can only be found in goodwill and promise.
Tonight, I also reflect on our dear friend, the late Suzie Emmerich. She will forever be part of this event. Suzie gave us unfiltered love in the form of song and humor. She is in every note that rises up and as the music surrounds us, uplifts us, let us keep her in our thoughts. Most of all in her honor let us be merry!
My heart is full of this night – this Christmas Eve. This is the night a savior is born, and history was changed. It is a night filled with Santa and surprises, homecomings and reunions, goodwill, good thoughts, good acts large and small. It is filled with promise and a sense that there are better things to come. I guess so many of us followed the star that led us to this valley, and we made it home and for a reason – it is a remarkable place. So, my friends let’s raise our voices, let’s sing with glee. Tomorrow’s troubles will resume but for this moment they are not in this room. Maybe this is the elixir for this troubled world and so I ask you, dear friends, as you venture out tonight, to carry this joy in your heart and share it in the days ahead.
On behalf of the Village Board of Trustees, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. To all our Jewish friends and neighbors, on behalf of the Village Board, I wish you a very blessed Hanukah and to all our friends who celebrate Kwanza, we wish you a joyful celebration!
The above column, written by Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard, has been published in the Dec. 25 issue of the Warwick Valley Dispatch.