Historic Courthouse

I found myself sitting on the steps of the historic Courthouse one day last week watching town and county employees sweat over Sylva’s Christmas tree, snapping the occasional photograph of their annual struggle to fit a very large Fraser fir into a moderately-sized tree stand.

I’m here to tell you, people, this is not an easy task.

It involves a lot of pointing, talking, moving the tree hither and thither, chainsawing the tree’s trunk down to size, moving the tree hither and thither, chainsawing the trunk down, pointing, talking, moving the tree hither and thither … you get the picture.

I didn’t envy the guys doing the work, though they seemed good-natured enough about their assignment. Bringing Christmas cheer to your town, I suppose, makes a mountain of aggravations seem worthwhile.

For about two weeks, many of these same local government employees, as well as members of Sylva Garden Club and employees of the Jackson County Library, will continue working on seasonal decorations. BonMar Farms, owned by Frank and Patricia Robles, donated the tree. Current Dermatology in Sylva will make it look pretty.

But wait, that’s not all: from a tiny acorn grows the mighty oak.

About eight years ago, two county workers, Maintenance/Grounds Supervisor Ira Jones and Landscape Specialist Randy Cabe, decided it would be a nice touch to also decorate the front Courthouse lawn.

And so it began.

When the work is finished, the Courthouse lawn will feature 60 (no, really, I checked for accuracy, S-I-X-T-Y!) 7-foot-tall trees and six 10-foot to 12-foot trees, all pruned, installed and adorned with lights, bows and ribbons. The county grounds crew makes seven large wreaths. Electric candles are placed in the windows, 10 light poles are wrapped with garlands, and a partridge is stuck in a pear tree. (OK, I made that last one up.)

It takes about two weeks to decorate and another two days to take the decorations down, Jackson County Public Works Director Chad Parker told me.

I’m always a bit wary of writing columns such as this one, because there’s the distinct risk someone who deserves inclusion will get left out. So, while hoping I haven’t done that, I want to go ahead and list the names of the county and town public works employees involved in this great seasonal endeavor.

A tip of the hat to them, because they really don’t get thanked much for the hard work they do – all year, actually, and not just at Christmas.

Drumroll, please. Here we go:

Jackson County Grounds Division: Matt Allen, Jacob Brooks, Dale Broom, Matt Bryson, Randy Bryson, Samantha Bryson, Randy Cabe, Greg Dills, Colby Green, Ira Jones, Daniel Morrison, Greg Norman, Katdim Smith, Mitch Smith and Steve Taylor.

Sylva Public Works: Dan Schaeffer, Jim Howell, Steve Shuler, Tim Dillard, Zach Sorrells, Jeff Buchanan and Steven Woodard.

Thanks, guys and gals!

Quintin Ellison is editor of The Sylva Herald.