Christmas shopping in sweaters and football in warm weather. This winter has certainly started with a different twist but I haven’t heard of anyone complaining about a lack of snow and cold winds! Keep the snow shovels in a convenient location. This is the Miami Valley in Ohio. You can expect the unexpected!
The community is preparing for Christmas by planning a live nativity scene on Main Street in the lot adjoining the bank. This event is planned for Dec. 23 by the combined churches in the Tri-Village community and offers a time to reflect on the Christian observance of the birth of Jesus. The event will be staged from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Enjoy fellowship, hot chocolate and cookies. The churches will combine to present Christmas music. Mark your calendars and have the children plan for this special time.
A Blue Christmas service has also been planned by the combined churches of Beech Grove, Cedar Grove, Harrison Street Baptist and the United Methodist churches. This event will be held Dec. 21 at the New Madison United Methodist Church.
For many people, the approaching Christmas holiday does not bring with it joy and happiness as advertised on television or in greeting cards. Life has not been easy for them. They may be facing a holiday after the death of a loved one or after a divorce. Perhaps they have have been unable to have a child, or have suffered through an emotional trauma. Or, perhaps, they feel pressured and overwhelmed by holiday preparations. A Blue Christmas service offers comfort and hope in the midst of struggles and pain. Pastor Carol Duffield asks those attending to use the side door to enter the Fellowship Hall.
Open house at the New Madison Public Library was a success. The staff and Brenda Miller, director, welcomed the community with cookies and punch and then honored Mary Straszheim and Teresa McClear for volunteer service to the library. Floral arrangements from Deb’s Wildflowers were presented. Each year the library honors the work of volunteers with the Phyllis Cole Dubbs award. My mother in law was a huge supporter of the library and Teresa is her granddaughter.
The annual Sugar Plum Market is planned at the American Legion on Friday and Saturday. Holiday delights are offered beginning at 5 p.m. each day. The auxiliary is once again offering everyone an opportunity to buy baked goods and candies. The auxiliary recently made fruit baskets for shut-ins.
There will be an early release from Tri-Village School on Friday. Students will be leaving at 1:15 p.m. Christmas vacation will begin Dec. 22 and continue through Jan. 5.
A special anniversary celebration was held recently. Betty and Bill Riegle marked 65 years of marriage. The event wasn’t exactly the way Betty had planned! Larry Riegle, their son, contributed this delightful account of their memorable wedding: William “Bill” and Betty Riegle of New Madison recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary with family at an afternoon reception hosted by Aaron and Pam Flatter in their lovely home. Pam also served as chef for the event with a delicious menu that featured a cake crowned with the bride and groom topper used on their original wedding cake in 1950.
Bill and Betty (formerly Kelch) met in the summer at the Crystal Ballroom dance club near Rossburg and were married at the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Willowdell, Ohio on Dec. 3, 1950. This was not, however, the date of Saturday, Nov. 25, the couple had originally planned. Mother Nature had other ideas. The Great Thanksgiving Snowstorm, noted to be the biggest in Ohio’s history, rolled in with a vengeance starting early on Nov. 24, as temperatures dipped near zero and winds reached 40 mile per hour. The arctic nightmare continued through Sunday, and, by Monday morning several feet of snow covered nearly all of the state. Willowdell was no exception.
The wedding, of course, had to be postponed. Traffic in Darke County was halted or delayed for the next several days and
crews dug out as fast as they could considering the historic conditions. This wasn’t fast enough for Bill though, as a favorite family story goes. Bill and his best man had made it as planned to Greenville from New Madison on Friday night prior to the original wedding date. Sadly they could make it no further north on Saturday morning as roads closed one after the other while the storm intensified. The dejected would be groom returned to New Madison for a couple of days to wait it out. By the third day he decided it was time to get to his bride some 35 treacherous miles to the north by one way or another.
With some of the roads slowly opening Bill again hitched a ride with his best man and headed out into the winter wonderland. Vehicle traffic, however, was halted near Yorkshire some four or five miles from the Kelch residence in Willowdell. As his ride turned back at this point Bill was not about to let a little record breaking blizzard stop him. He was destined to hike the remaining distance across country through waist-high snow drifts. His eventual frost bitten arrival was a great surprise for Betty and her family as there had been no phone service and they had no idea he was en route. The wedding was successfully performed on Dec. 3 with family and friends in attendance as originally expected.
The Riegles have resided at their farm outside of New Madison for the past 57 years where they raised two children and now enjoy four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, with another on the way this spring.
Attending the celebration in addition to the happy couple were: Pam and Aaron Flatter; Derek and Mandy Flatter with their children, Landon, Ella, Amelia and Hudson; Jeremy and Tabitha Flatter with their children Taylor and Delaney; Emily and Jon Kelley, Tom Flatter, Sherry Riegle, George and Janice Riegle, Patty Cox, Phil and Lois Cox and Larry and Lisa Riegle.