Families waited in line down the long hall of the courthouse just as they do every year waiting patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) for their turn to see the Jolly old man Saint Nick. Hundreds of local residents look forward to this annual tradition with both excitement and nostalgia.
Within a short time of Santa’s arrival, the line extended from the center of the courthouse down to the courtroom. In the hall parents visited with each other and got last minute info from their children about their Christmas wishes.
The families who joined the mix have lived in Morgan for varying lengths but many of them have incorporated seeing Santa the Saturday before Christmas at the courthouse into their family traditions.
Kendra Ferrin brought her two young sons Blaze and Rex who restlessly waited for their turn. The boys list was short and a bit vague including only “blue toys.” She stood in line behind Justine Kinnear who brought her 6 year old, 3 ½ year old and 1 month old to see Santa. Both women who grew up in Morgan remember doing the same thing when they were a kid.
Vickie Carter waited for her grandson, three year old Gabe’s, turn in line. “It brings back lots of good memories,” she said of the years she brought her own children. “We always came,” Carter said. After growing up in California, she moved to Morgan 41 years ago with her husband. She enjoyed “the nice hometown feel.”
“We’ve been coming for 30 years,” Leslie Lubeck said happily as she made her way with her family from Santa to the line for the hay ride. She brought her children to the courthouse to see Santa when they were young and was happy to join three of her four children continuing the tradition this year. “This is where you see Santa!” Lubeck said of why she and her family chose this venue versus others throughout the season.
Other Morganites will agree. Her daughter Destry agreed quickly because she finds the children receive more time and attention here in Morgan. Plus, “they get a whole bag of candy!”
Each child that sat on Santa’s lap received their own bag of classic Christmas candy. The bag of treats given to the young children this year is very similar to the selection their parents and even grandparents received when they were small. Some of the Lions club members joked they had worn all of the fingerprints off of their fingertips as they packaged the holiday candy. They met the Thursday prior to the event to prepare the bags. It took about an hour and a half for 20-25 of the club members to organize the candy for the nearly 300 children they expected.
Liisa Mecham, daughter of Rick & Lynn London, grew up looking forward to joining other Morgan residents in line at the courthouse to see Santa. After years away from her hometown, she recently moved back with her husband and children. She was in line “because I remember the orange slices,” she joked. She has fond memories and while the sweets are part of that, she said, “It’s tradition, you can always count on it!”
Actually most everyone that talked about looking forward to this special time included the term –Tradition, including the Lions Club members. “It puts us in a festive mood,” Harold Fry said. The joyful bunch of Lions Club members that stood watching the procession of happy families load onto the hay ride.
Lion Club member, Hugh Davis regretfully missed seeing Barbara Thurston riding on the hayride. He remembers seeing her every year at the front of the ride. This year the community missed Barbara as she had an injured hip. Her son, Todd Thurston, and daughter-in-law, Becky Thurston, stood at the head of the team. Todd took the reins after the passing of his father and well-loved community member Dale Thurston, who had taken community members on rides for 35 years! Dale had continued this tradition from his father Glen who had annually taken the same trip. This progeny of Thurston men has brought the community together with the Christmas spirit and hayrides for approximately 75 years!
The Lions club was founded in 1929 and has given our community great service for the years since. They have brought our community together in holiday spirit year after year giving Morgan families wholesome entertainment and fond memories for generations. Thank you Lions Club for your remarkable service and decades of generosity!