Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone was nice?

Published 4:46 pm Monday, November 27, 2023

I want to give a very special thank you to Margaret (Meg) Howdy, Director of the Washington Harbor District Alliance, the City of Washington, the Turnage Theater and to everyone who helped bring in the holiday season with a festive and wonderful display of goodwill and joy.

The ‘Light Up The City’ event which featured the lighting of the community Christmas tree at the corner of Main and Gladden Streets was truly spectacular.  The anticipation of the children waiting for the tree to be lit was not something just the children experienced. There was joy and delight on the faces of adults too.  The children’s choir from John Cotton Tayloe School was so very precious, and was a wonderful addition to the event. I hope they will come every year from now on. When the children sang ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice If Everyone was Nice’, it brought tears to my eyes, as the beauty of the lyrics became a prayer of my heart, that the children singing the song and children listening to the song could grow up in the kind of world embodied in the song.

The wonderment of the children counting down with Mayor Sadler the seconds to the tree lighting became the wonderment of the adults too as they joined in. It’s amazing how a Christmas tree brings out the childlike joy in us adults.

After the tree lighting, Milt and I walked down to the Harbor District Market where children were racing ahead of us to get hot coca, cookies and to meet Santa.  On the way to the Market, the hand bell musicians at the Turnage Theater imparted the most beautiful sounds to the addition to the holiday spirit and the joy of the season with their music.

At the Market, the entire place came alive with excitement. It was glorious to see entire families smiling and greeting everyone while they stood in line waiting for cocoa and cookies or scurried about with their children. Milt and I handed out candy canes at our Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum exhibit.  The children blessed Milt and I so much with their joy of receiving a candy cane. It was not lost on Milt and I, how children saw getting a candy cane was a precious part of their Christmas excitement, and how many, many decades ago, we too felt the joy of a getting a candy cane from Santa in McLellan’s Department Store. The Harbor District Market is located in the old McLellan’s Five and Dime Store location.

May the beauty of this time of year help us to focus on what is good, and beautiful and winsome in the heart of children while connecting us to the heart of a child that still remains inside us. And while time and age and life may have hardened our hearts, the true beauty of this season can revive it if we are willing. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone was nice?

Leesa Jones is a Washington native and the co-curator of the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum.