Kristal Kuykendall

Thinking Out Loud

Longtime journalist and North Little Rock native Kristal Kuykendall is managing editor of Carroll County News. She lives outside Eureka Springs. She can be reached at ccneditor@cox-internet.com.


Christmas is time for sharing, reflecting

Friday, December 21, 2012

We at Carroll County News will never have enough staff, time or space in our pages to accurately reflect the depth of sharing that goes on in Carroll County.

From the dozens of sheriff's deputies, local police officers and paramedics who participate each year in Shop With a Cop, taking underprivileged children shopping for Christmas gifts; to the Eureka Springs Rotary Club, police department and school counselor Rachal Hyatt spearheading the Angel Tree program; from the Berryville School District children collecting more than two tons of food for the Loaves and Fishes Food Bank recently; to the Eureka Springs Garden Club ladies plus a few Holiday Island volunteers who chipped in to give Christmas gift goodie bags -- many of them hand-made -- to nearly 100 needy pre-schoolers and first-graders ...

We have seen example after example recently of people in Carroll County paying it forward and giving of themselves this holiday season, bringing joy to complete strangers in the name of Christmas and all it stands for.

We are grateful to live and work in a county filled with such generous, compassionate people.

We are grateful to live and work in a county where our task and duty -- where it is our honor -- to report on such acts of giving.

We are grateful to have readers who are interested in these reports, and in the others that fill our pages.

In fact, this is something that we are most grateful for this holiday season.

Many small, community newspapers in this day and age are struggling to survive, because of competition for local residents' attention from websites, TV, radio, larger newspapers -- you name it.

Many community newspapers' staffs will tell you their readers don't seem to care any longer about what goes on in their communities: residents no longer pay much, if any, attention to what's going on locally, and they rarely offer their local newspapers feedback (good or bad) -- much less offer to contribute by sending in photos, information or ideas for stories.

Americans, as we all know, have grown apathetic on many levels.

CCN's staff members have witnesses this disconnect in many other communities in which we have worked. But not here.

Indeed, Carroll County still cares -- about its people, its government, its children, its businesses, and even its newspaper. We know this because we hear from you, our neighbors and readers, frequently. We welcome every email and phone call, whether it consists of praise, thanks, corrections, suggestions or constructive criticism.

We are thrilled to be able to say this Christmas that we live and work in Carroll County, and thank you, our readers and neighbors, for your attention. We wish you all the Merriest of Christmases, and pray you find that your cup of joy runneth over this holiday season.

Laslty, we offer a suggestion to anyone who's struggling to grasp onto that jolly holiday mood: Pay it forward. That's what Christmas is all about. Find someone who looks like they need a hand, or a hug, or a handshake, and offer them one. Take some groceries to a food bank with your children. Volunteer to help out at ECHO, Wildflowers, or another local free clinic, food bank or charitable organization. Drop off some dog and cat food at the Good Shepherd Humane Society, or go spend some time walking the dogs there. ...

Pay it forward, and make this Christmas a happy, more memorable one.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,

Let your heart be light.

From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,

Make the Yule-tide gay,

From now on, our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,

Happy golden days of yore.

Faithful friends who are dear to us

Gather near to us once more.

Through the years 

We all will be together,

If the Fates allow

Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.

And have yourself a merry little Christmas now!