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By Staff | Dec 23, 2008

The I-180 Mystery Christmas Tree.

If you were absent from last Thursday’s Christmas concert performed by the Muncy High School Band, you missed a unique performance that included high school teacher Bradley Watkins. Brad narrated ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas while the band punctuated each verse with clever eclectic melodies ranging from classical to contemporary. Interspersed among the words and notes were various sound effects performed by band members, which lent a Warner Brothers feel for the humorous piece of music.

It’s becoming an urban legend of sorts in this area, attracting comments and curiosity.

For the last few years, beginning on the day after Thanksgiving, and ending sometime in January, the branches of a solitary pine tree standing guard on an embankment on I-180 east between Muncy and Halls Station is mysteriously decorated with Christmas ornaments.

“I don’t know who does it, but I just want to thank the person who decorates it each year,” said one tipster who called to report that it had been decorated for the season.

To the person or party responsible for the lovely act of kindness, thank you.

As 2008 winds down, collective thoughts of thanks grow too numerous for this column space. I am deeply indebted to my staff consisting of Ruth Fry, Zinah Zeisloft and Carrie Noble, and which included three summer interns: Alicen Maniscalco, David Sterngold, and Sarah Tollackson.

Extremely blessed by their contributions, I also thank our Tri-town correspondents, Rev. Dr. Don Edwards, and Carol Sones Shetler, all of whom have been faithful in writing about their lives and communities for such a paltry reward. God bless you!

Also a nod of acknowledgement to new contributors Jennifer Lunt, Manfred Spiegeleisen, Crystal Colburn, Reel Reviews critic Phoebe Wagner, and Shawn Raymond, creator of Moxie comics, all of whom complement our pages.

Warm thanks to the entire staff of our sisters-in-print, the East Lycoming Shopper, and the Williamsport Sun-Gazette; in particular, Sharon Dapp, Mary Hoffman, Ann VanDine, Crystal Shrawder, Joann Ort, Chuck Smith, Craig Sholder, Julie in composing, Wendy in the mailroom, Larry, Tim and Ahmed in the Press Room, Jim Profeta, Larry Andrews, Shirley Clark and Connie Tobias in Bookkeeping. We couldn’t have put together 52 issues without your help and patience.

Characters who visit or call and provide anecdotes, tips and suggestions are also thanked: in particular, PITA, Farmer and Don.

And of course, there are our advertisers-without their support there would be no paper; and finally, our beloved readers, who have consistently placed us as a priority in their lives. We are ever grateful.

The annual Spirit of the Season Christmas dinner will take place Thursday, Christmas Day, noon to 4 p.m., in the social hall of the Hughesville Fire Department. Thanks to all who volunteer to bring this necessary ministry to the region.

The Fruit of the Spirit book club, hosted by Muncy Presbyterian Church, will begin Jan. 11, 2009 from 5-6 p.m. Call 546-5205 for more information.

If you haven’t taken the time to do so yet, do yourself a favor and register as a member of our web site, www.muncyluminary.com. Doing so allows you to perform a litany of actions to become interactive with the new site. And, it’s free to register.

Reminder: The Luminary will be closed Wednesday, Dec. 24, Thursday, Dec. 25, and Friday, Dec. 26. The final issue of 2008 will be available Dec. 24. No issue will be published the week of Dec. 31. Our office will be closed Thursday, Jan. 1 and Jan. 2, and will resume regular office hours on Monday, Jan. 5.