Growing up, the threat of a lump of coal in one’s Christmas stocking might be all you needed to correct bad behavior. After all, a lump of coal just sits there. You can’t play with it, eat it, or walk it. A lump of coal had just two purposes: instilling a sense of shame in a child, or burning it for heat. As many power plants in the nation transition from coal to renewable energy sources, that lump of coal may be fading away, but it’s still an appropriate item for this year’s holiday list. Good gets a candy cane; bad, that lump of coal.
• A candy cane for adoptive and foster families who bring love and safe surroundings to children in need.
• Candy canes for all the wonderful volunteers in our community, who serve in PTA, homeless shelters, service clubs, the Lincolnia Task Force, GrandInvolve (older volunteers working with elementary school students), coaching Little League, and so many more.
• A candy cane to the voters who supported, overwhelmingly, the 2018 public safety bond that included funding for the Mason District police station and local fire station renovations.
• Candy canes, too, for the Friends of Green Spring (FROGS), Tatiana Lisle, Nancy Wilson, and all the active park volunteers who were honored at the Elly Doyle Park Service Awards ceremonies in November. Park volunteers are the best!
• Candy canes to supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and their efforts to make the Commonwealth of Virginia the 38th and final state to ratify the ERA. You can sign on to support ERA at www.varatifyera.org.
• And a candy cane to the Federal Highway Administration, which determined that the intersection of Ravensworth Road and Jayhawk Street in Annandale was a good candidate for a pilot project to install a roundabout and improve traffic and pedestrian/cyclist access there. It seems to be working…
• A lump of coal to drivers who do not stop at STOP signs. An entire power plant could be operated if we had just one lump for each offense!
• A lump of coal, too, for drivers who forget, or fail, to turn on their headlights at dusk, or in the rain. A dark-colored vehicle, as evening falls, is almost impossible for other drivers to see, and more than dicey for pedestrians, too.
• A lump of coal, too, for tree “murderers” and furniture “dumpers” who leave their detritus at the curb, expecting their trash hauler to carry it away on the next collection day. Tree trunks and limbs, sofas, mattresses, and other household goods are not regular trash, and thoughtful neighbors know it. Please be considerate and call your local trash hauler for a special pickup.
• Finally, a lump of coal to Donald J. Trump, and his White House. It’s difficult to know where to begin, and where to stop, with Mr. Trump. Nasty tweets, vicious ad hominem attacks, repeated lies, lack of respect for just about anyone, and complete disregard for the law and our system of government is a start. An entire coal mine might not contain enough lumps for the current president!
It’s not difficult to qualify for a candy cane, or even a lump of coal, and lists can be as diverse as our community. May your holidays always be filled with family, friends, and candy canes — and renewable energy sources!
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.