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Your smiles are making us smile at The News

Thank you for allowing me a smile this morning.

Our readers have been quite gracious to me these past weeks as many have shared how much they have enjoyed our Christmas and holiday stories. Readers were especially appreciative of the staff columns that, as one reader shared, “allowed us to step inside their home and get to know them a little better.”

For most of our reporters, the assignment was welcomed, as it allowed them to write in a style and manner they normally don’t. For others, however, it was somewhat a step of faith — making them vulnerable to readers’ reactions.

Each of the reporters and editors have been just as pleased by the public’s reaction as I have. And, while you would think I would know a good bit about my coworkers (many of whom I have worked with for several years), even I will admit that, with each and every column, I learned something new.

Admittedly, I enjoy Christmas.

As my oldest granddaughter recently wrote for her third-grade class project, she loves the memories and traditions her grandparents create at their house for her and her family.

I wouldn’t want it any other way. Christmas at the Speer household involves lots of fun surprises, a morning brunch with Grandma’s special French toast, lots and lots of games, and usually a baking cook-off and/or a challenging round of several “Minute-To-Win-It” competitions.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service is a must, followed by a trip around town to see the outside Christmas light displays.

I like to think the Speer home is one filled with lots and lots of joy at Christmas.

And perhaps Diane and I work really hard to make it that way because we can remember past years where Christmas wasn’t quite the same.

I had an uncle die in the weeks preceding Christmas one year, and it certainly cast a different light on that year’s celebration.

Another year, my father-in-law would be in the hospital being treated for an aneurysm he had suffered. My wife and I slept in hospital chairs on Christmas Eve that year — if you could call it sleep. Later that Christmas Eve night, we witnessed his first steps after the aneurysm — a Christmas miracle if ever there was one.

And then there was the Christmas of 2008. On that morning, Diane’s sister died, after fighting a long and courageous battle with cancer.

Christmas hasn’t always been fun and cheerful. Mixed in with those years have been ones with sadness and tears, as well.

Each of them has been unique. Each of them has been memorable. And each of them has, at its center, a focus on the birth of a savior in a little town of Bethlehem years and years ago.

Everyone has a story.

Thanks for your kind reaction to the staff here as we shared ours.

Bill Speer can be reached at 989-354-3111, ext. 311, or bspeer@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @billspeer13.

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