Friday, November 21, 2008

Riding the Santa Train: Something our lead blogger wants to do before he dies

Although we are anonymous bloggers, we've never made a secret of that fact that we are, indeed, a "we." Yes, we use the "editorial we" here but this blog is a collaborative effort and represents private sector employees, state employees, teachers, news reporters, stay-at-home housewives, religious folks, retirees, veterans, and others who fit into too many categories to catalog.

However, we do have one chief writer who gathers the consensus of the collaborators and does most of the posting here. He's a male and there are a few things he wants to do before he dies.

High on his list is to ride the Santa Train, which makes its annual run tomorrow from Pikeville to Kingsport, Tenn.

Started years ago by the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce to promote the city as a Christmas shopping destination, the Santa Train makes several stops in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee along its route. Presents will be handed out to hundreds of children, many of whom may not get much more for the holiday given the area's economic situation.

With the advent of modern highway systems, Kingsport is only about a 90-minute drive from Pikeville (much closer than Lexington, Ashland-Huntington and Charleston). Our chief writer has made the drive along US Route 23 in southwestern Virginia dozens of times during all four seasons and he never ceases to be amazed at how scenic the area is. He can only imagine what the ride would be like along the rail line, especially with all the stops in the small towns along the route.

This year, country singer Kathy Mattea is riding the train. She's a native of West Virginia, not too far from Pikeville as the crow flies. One of us is quite envious of what she'll be doing tomorrow and wishes he could join her. Perhaps someday he'll attempt to get a press pass as a freelance writer (he is otherwise employed) and ride along.

Those who want to be critical of the business community need to step back and take a look. Yes, the Santa Train promotes Kingsport retailers, but it also spreads Christmas cheer and holiday goodwill to many. Kudos to them for making so many people happy for so many years.

(And if anyone associated with the Santa Train happens to read this and wants to offer a press pass for future years, our e-mail address is and we will gladly accept an invitation to ride along next or any other year).


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