The Gap Gazer: December 2017

Volume 8, Issue 12

Victorian Christmas

The official kick off for the holiday season in the Gap will be December 2nd with the arrival of Father Christmas on the town firetruck. Father and Mother Christmas will meet with children of all ages at the Victorian home on Colwyn between 10 am and 3 pm. Throughout the day, Gap businesses will offer unique shopping, open houses and door prizes, making the town a shopping destination as only Cumberland Gap can do. Christmas music will allow even the most Scrooge-like shoppers to get into the holiday mood! The Gap restaurants and coffeehouses will serve hungry shoppers and provide a place of respite. At 4 pm, Mother and Father Christmas will travel to Festival Park, where the Cumberland Gap Artists’ Co-op will host “cookies with the Christmases “and hot drinks, followed by the lighting of the town Christmas tree at 5:30 pm. The Gap itself will have begun lighting up the Gap so as the tree goes on, others lights will appear. The 2nd of December will be a joint effort of businesses and citizens of the town to make the historic Gap a place which attracts shoppers, families and Christmas Spirit.

Gap Firemen Rewarded!

England’s furniture company in New Tazewell had a tough year. One of their semis burnt and then their corporate offices burst into flame in May. The fire moved so quickly and was so big that 7 local fire departments were summoned. Cumberland Gap was especially needed as they have a cascade system which can fill backpack oxygen tanks firefighters need to enter a large burning building. (The county’s system was not tested or reliable at that time). The Gap also contributed to the manpower needed to fight such a massive fire. Fire Chief Chase Elswick said that it took all seven departments to put out the corporate headquarters fire and to save the Data Center closely next door. Without the Data Center, it would have been impossible to pay workers and to continue business as usual. With the center saved, both could be done and England’s had no cessation of daily activities.

In appreciation, the furniture company awarded all seven fire departments checks for $2500 with their sincere gratitude. The saved Data Center was in harm’s way and losing it would have shut down the company. Due to the combined teamwork of the Gap’s Fire Department and the other local agencies, England’s was able to continue business as usual, despite the destruction of their corporate headquarters building.

Light up the Gap!

Victorian Christmas has been a tradition in the Gap for over 20 years as Mother and Father Christmas borrow the Ravnum’s Victorian home and visit with many who return year after year. One of Father Christmas’s helpers, Curt Witt was once a Walmart Santa. Attracted to the Gap by the Artists’ Co-op and his mentor, Father Christmas, Curt made the decision to adopt the Gap as a freelance Santa. He will be patrolling the businesses on Friday and Saturday evenings in December, meeting with his admirers within the town businesses. Since Santa Curt rarely does any project with less than total effort, he has furthered his venture to include establishing the Gap as a destination for those seeking a unique and less hurried place to shop and eat during the upcoming holidays. Curt’s vision includes asking everyone, living and working in the Gap, to light up their homes and yards for the season. Curt has actually made it a goal to visit every home and business in the Gap and personally make this request. This project, presented to the Aldermen at their October meeting, is called ‘Light up the Gap”. Santa Curt presented his idea as a way to bring seasonal customers to town businesses and as a way to unite the Gap community behind the goal of establishing the town as a place many will want to visit and enjoy during this special time of year.

It is Curt’s vision that Cumberland Gap will become a place of holiday retreat and unique shopping and dining during the holiday season. With the support of the business community and residents (both renters and property owners), the tradition of a Victorian Christmas in the Gap on every first Saturday in December will expand to include the entire town, benefitting businesses and attracting Santa seekers to the city.

Matthews’ Musings

Twelve years ago in a different state, recently having become a widow, I wrote a creative article accompanied by photos about the Thanksgiving experience. This Musings will reprint that article from The Wayland Globe in 2005 in hopes it will touch readers now with memories as it did then.

“I visited Henrietta every day. That was the year I begged for turkey on Thanksgiving instead of the typical chicken or ham. Henrietta was a large, perfectly frozen turkey residing in the International Harvester freezer in our basement. When mom cooked her, I refused to eat her because she had become my friend! This is one of my earliest Thanksgiving memories; (I am still suspicious of turkey to this day).

I never saw any use for a holiday devoted to eating when I was a child. As I age, Thanksgiving becomes more meaningful. Gathering around the table with my brother’s family and mom is an event to be treasured. My father and husband are now gone, I have renewed gratitude for those simple times I can share with those I love. My family has never been really formal as my late husband’s family is. His family is also loving, but their holidays are more structured with posed pictures and ketchup in silver bowls. Dressing for dinner was foreign to me. My family has dishtowel fights, the cat eats the turkey carcass as we dine, and my nephews bring cans of Mountain Dew to the table. The ketchup bottle sits in plain view.

No matter how it is celebrated, I am thankful for this time to reflect on family memories and upon blessings of today. Thanksgiving is a time to appreciate those we love.”


Upcoming Events Cumberland Mountain Music Show featuring the “music and heritage of the mountain people “, Nov. 18 & Dec. 9 @ 7:30 pm-9:30 pm LMU Con-vention Center $12 at the door.

Victorian Christmas Dec 2nd: Mother and Father Christmas and an entire day of celebration (see article)

Polar Bear Dip Jan. 1st noon. Front of Little Congress Bike Museum

Kathy Matthews, Editor


616–540-7532 or 281-754-3457

News tips are appreciated!

Gap Gazer Statement of Ownership and Responsibility

The Gap Gazer is the creation of Kathy Jo Matthews, a Gap resident, and she alone is responsible for the content. The town government and other agencies have no responsibility for publication and distribution of the Gazer. All articles are based on research and are as factually accurate as the editor can present them. Contact the editor at the phone numbers and email address listed in this issue if any questions arise in the veracity of the news presented. The news in each issue is as journalistically correct and as impartially presented as possible. Events posted are all in the immediate tri-state area and if an event is missed, that usually means no one contacted the editor with the information. The ”Matthews’ Musings” is an editorial and, while still based on fact, may contain editorial comment and opinion. Distribution is via email and through stacks of newspapers distributed to the Gap Post Office, the Gap Creek Coffee House, The Pineapple Tearoom, The National Park and the Cumberland Gap Artists’ Co-op. The Gazer contains no advertising and is responsible to no one for funding. All printing is at the editor’s expense, eliminating any connections with another entity. The Gap Gazer is produced monthly and is in its 8th year of continuous publication.

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