I think we can agree if there was ever a contest for the town that looked most like a Thomas Kincaid Christmas card, Chagrin Falls would win hands down.
I mean it’s a T. K. special right down to the glowing windows. Except maybe last week when the first snowstorm of the year hit and the power went out, making us glow-less and heat-less for hours on end multiple times over a two-day period. But that’s a subject for another time.
As everyone knows by now, the look of Chagrin Falls this time of year is the work and talent of the Chagrin Valley Jaycees, a group of young men who give up their time and resources to help dozens of charities and causes all year round. The holiday lights in downtown Chagrin Falls are just one example.
They deserve a great big virtual hug from us all for keeping us merry and happy and all that good happy holiday stuff. The Jaycees are always there when the village and the valley needs them.
Keep that thought in mind while we segue to another part of town and a woman who sparked a head-spinningly fast GoFundMe drive, last week, as result of a Village Block Club Facebook page conversation after she suggested it might be nice to add a Hanukkah menorah to the downtown display.
The drive raised $2,600 from block club members.
For those unfamiliar, menorahs are nine-branched candelabras to recognize the eight-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah which generally coincides with the Christmas holiday.
Hanukkah is all about super-heroes, the Maccabees who were Jewish warriors who defended the temple against the bad guys. When the battled ended, the sacred lamp had only one day’s worth of oil, but it lasted eight days, the time needed to find a fresh supply. That was the miracle of the story.
This is something FirstEnergy should definitely know about for the next snowstorm.
It’s a kids’ holiday mostly, like Christmas. There are eight days of small gifts, candy in the form of chocolate coins called “gelt,” music and games played with a spinning top called a dreidel.
To review, Hanukkah is about super-heroes, magic lamp oil, chocolate coins, spinning top games, gifts and nobody dies “that doesn’t need it,” as my dad put it.
Long story short, the menorah supported by the block club and a dreidel (purchased with the extra money) are on their way to Chagrin Falls as this is being written.
Problem is there is no designated public space in the village to put it until the parks commission and/or Village Council can discuss it as they do for all proposals for use of park space.
Hanukkah begins tonight, Dec. 10. It is likely the menorah’s public display will have to wait until 2021.
The woman who started the menorah drive believes the menorah displayed among the Christmas trees in Riverside Park would give a much needed image boost and signal that the village is unified in its acceptance of all people.
This would be fitting since there has already been some not unexpected nastiness about the menorah from the usual suspects who warn/threaten to ask for a Nativity scene to be added downtown.
This would not be a good look for Chagrin Falls, especially after last summer’s Black Lives Matter rally in Riverside Park, which was unfortunately prefaced by shopkeepers boarding up their storefront. Something Thomas Kincaid has not yet painted.
If you recall, the big city daily called the village to task for that display for plywood and classlessness. What might the big city daily have to say about no place at the inn, so to speak, for the town menorah?
This stuff is never easy. It hasn’t been for 3,000 years so why would it be any different in 2020? There is one thing we all can count on.
Next year when the menorah does find its place, for just eight days, in the annual downtown lighting display, the Chagrin Valley Jaycees will be there ready, willing, able and happy to help install it wherever the village decides it belongs.