Hate to break it to the autumn lovers out there, but winter is around the corner. There are a couple events my wife, Aime, and I have come to accept as indicators that winter is here for Montrose. For Aime, it’s just about wintertime because Horsefly Brewery closed the patio and put up its yurt.

I’m a bit more of a traditionalist, and I can tell it’s wintertime when the lights start to go up around town. We both agree it’s too early for the illuminated snowflakes on Main Street. Can’t we wait until after Thanksgiving, at least?

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I was at a dinner a couple weeks ago in which members of the community — from different walks — met to talk about “building a bigger table,” meaning bringing people together for conversation and dialogue — that’s politically, spiritually, culturally. The idea started when Kevin Kuns invited a bunch of folks to do two things — talk and eat — kind of like Thanksgiving without the creepy uncle. Conversation went around the room, and most folks agreed Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday.

I was shocked it wasn’t Christmas, but when you think about it, the way Christmas has become so commercialized — and more of an ordeal than a celebration — it’s not so surprising to think about Thanksgiving as a sort of calm before the storm.

But back to this dinner. It’s inspired by a book by John Pavlovitz called “A Bigger Table,” which I’ve only just begun to read. My big takeaway from this dinner — and I’ll probably attend the next one when that happens — is that the community needs more talking. We need to understand each other’s points-of-view, and we need to listen. Only then can we begin to understand the plights of our neighbors, and only then can we start to make our community a better place for everyone.

Speaking of community, Carol McDermott dropped by the Daily Press office last week to have a little informal chat. We got to talking about Montrose traffic, elections and — of course — the holidays.

I was pleasantly surprised by my first holiday season in Montrose last year. The best part, I told her, was the Montrose County Courthouse Christmas Tree Lighting. I said then, and I still believe it, that the way Montrose kicks off the holidays is about perfect for a community of this size. Just about everyone, it seems, gathers downtown for the lighting. And even those who drove by last year, I saw, were in the holiday spirit, honking and waving at the folks braving the cold.

McDermott, of course, is at the heart of the whole celebration. She sits on the courthouse steps every year and reads “The Night Before Christmas” to all the children who crowd around her on the steps. She told me her favorite part is seeing the kids’ faces light up. For the lighting, she said she even made sure a child got to flip the switch to light the tree last year.

She’s a treasure for what she does for the lighting ceremony. Carriage rides and Santa Claus, for me, didn’t make the lighting what it was. That was Carol. I look forward to hearing the story again next Friday, Nov. 29.

But, yes, we still have Thanksgiving first.

So before we all get into the rush of the holidays, let’s take a moment to enjoy this calm before the storm. Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving with friends, neighbors, family or strangers, take time to enjoy what we have in our little community.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Justin Tubbs is the Montrose Daily Press managing editor. 

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