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A Poulsbo Christmas story: 'There will always be hope and progress'
By JEFF TOLMAN
The snow was lightly falling on Kvelstad Pavilion. Christmas Eve was nearing an end as children throughout North Kitsap listened for sleigh bells on the roof or dreamed of presents under their tree. Poulsbo’s streets were vacant except for the patrol vehicle securing the town.
Santa sat on a hilltop overlooking the municipality, taking a break from his deliveries, tired, but satisfied with his journey so far.
“What do you know of this place?” an elf asked as she sipped a cup of hot chocolate, relaxing before the next leg of the long journey began.
“This is Poulsbo. Little Norway. Visited by two kings. Home of a Rhodes scholar and several former world champions. The man we watched pull astronauts off the moon those years ago — remember? — was from nearby. It is a beautiful postcard on the water with a dynamic history and wonderful, caring citizens. You’d be amazed at the community’s participation in the children’s school, activities, and daily well-being. The sports fields and auditoriums are always filled with supportive families and friends.”
“You make it sound like a perfect town,” another elf noted.
“No. It has the problems of any town. A tight budget. Substance abuse. Occasional growing pains. No municipality is perfect, but the mayor, City Council and school board are working hard, and together, to solve the issues of the day. Despite some disagreements on how to get there, all its citizens want Poulsbo happy and healthy.”
As Santa and his helpers looked down, they could see holiday lights on many houses and the shadows of parents arranging presents under Christmas trees and setting out cookies and milk for Santa’s reindeer. Suddenly, voices filled the night with songs of the season. Celebrating the silent night. Singing hallelujah. One house sang of their dream of a white Christmas, just like the ones they used to know.
A tear appeared in Santa’s eye as he readied to move the sleigh on.
“We have lost so many wonderful people from the village this year. I hope their families and friends know that the next generation is solid and kind. Poulsbo will be strong despite its losses in 2013. Look at how these people care for each other — Bellringer helped so many families again this year from community donations. The locals are working and worshipping together. Smiling. Giving this area the gift of hope and optimism, and being a constant reminder that we are all in this town, this world, and this life, together.”
With the songs ringing in his ears and gratitude and optimism in his heart, Santa moved the sleigh and began the flight toward his next stop. As his journey continued, Santa realized Poulsbo had given him a wonderful Christmas gift. His moments of relaxation above the town had reassured him that despite the trials and tribulations that Poulsbo and every other town and city will experience, so long as people care about each other and work together, there will always be hope and progress. On this Christmas morning and into the future.
— Jeff Tolman is a Poulsbo lawyer and periodic columnist for the North Kitsap Herald.