Romeo Cruz ProfileSilver City-Grant County Chamber of Commerce Director Romeo Cruz will provide a weekly column to the Beat, featuring items and announcements of interest to the community.

A Fable for our Time

There was once an Emperor who surrounded himself with people more interested in their own well-being than that of the good of the empire. These distinguished members of the court enthusiastically showered the Emperor with all manner of praise, no matter what he happened to be doing. Nobody was willing to tell the truth, because everyone wanted to be included so that they could continue to enjoy the material benefits of being in the Emperor's good graces.

One fine morning, a very clever man showed up at the Emperor's Palace and claimed to be the finest tailor the world had ever known. Somehow, this man gained an audience with the Emperor, and told him that he would make a suit of finery so intricate, so bold, so stunning to the eye that the world would throw itself at the Emperor's feet and worship his sartorial splendor forever.

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Stay the Course

When I was a kid, we always left the tree up for a few days after Christmas. When the needles starting falling off into small, green piles where the presents used to be, my dad would give the order and we would take it down. One year, the tree had been screwed into the stand so tight that I couldn't get it to budge, and even with my friend's help, that stand remained firmly stuck into the tree.

My grandfather came in and saw us struggling with the tree and the stand. He was a merchant sailor, and he had little tolerance for weakness.

"What are you doing?" he said. He watched us with a mixture of amusement and scorn.

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Happy New Year "Auld Lang Syne"

When I was young, one of the highlights of the holiday season was New Year's Eve. It was the one night we could stay up past our bedtime and not get in trouble. We would drink punch and eat chips, eagerly awaiting the stroke of midnight while Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve played on the television. But every year, as the minutes ticked closer to midnight, I found myself feeling more sad than excited, leaning more toward nostalgia than anticipation. Whether the year was one of joy or sorrow, I couldn't help but cling to it, to wish for a little more time before the old year died and the new year was born.

When the ball finally dropped, everyone would sing "Auld Lang Syne," the Scottish folk song made famous by Robert Burns in 1796. When I was a kid, I never thought too deeply about the song- it was a tradition, in the same way that Christmas trees and Halloween pumpkins and cheap plastic Easter grass were traditions. Now that I have a significant number of New Year's Eves under my belt, I'm a little more inquisitive. In "When Harry Met Sally" Billy Crystal's character Harry Burns asks Sally Albright, played by Meg Ryan:

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Christmas Truce for Everyone  

Today, the news is filled with talk of division. For every person, it seems, there is an enemy, someone for whom the very existence of an opposing viewpoint is cause for anger. Some call words "violence," and others call rioting "peaceful protesting." We think this level of division is unprecedented, and that nothing can bring us together.

But there is so much that we have forgotten. History shows us that division isn't new, and it isn't insurmountable. Athens and Sparta fought for thirty years after coming together to vanquish the mighty Persians. France and Britain fought a war that lasted a hundred years, and even in our own country, the bloodiest war we ever fought happened on our own soil. Division is nothing new.

In the winter of 1914, British and German troops faced each other across trenches gouged into the earth. Between them lay a No Man's Land, hundreds of yards of scorched, pockmarked earth riddled with craters and inhabited only by the dead and the rats who fed on them. The war had been raging for five months. Both sides were tired, cold and, short on food and ammunition.

On Christmas Day, a miracle happened.

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Pay Attention to What Is in Front of You.

There was once a man caught in a terrible flood. Clinging to a piece of wood, he prayed to God. "Lord," he said, "Please save me from this flood, and I will faithfully serve you." As he drifted through the raging floodwaters, the wood that held him above water could no longer hold him up, and so he abandoned the wood and began to swim.

"God will save me," the man said. The water was cold, and he was tired, but he swam on. He heard a voice cry out, "I've thrown a rope! Grab it and I will pull you to safety!" But the man said, "No, I am all right. God will save me." And he swam on, right past the rope.

Now the cold began to seep into his muscles, and every stroke became a labor. A woman on a kayak paddled near him and said, "Hold on to my kayak, and I will tow you to safety!" But the man refused. "No, I'm all right. God will save me." The woman begged him to grab hold, but eventually he drifted away from her, and she was lost in the driving rain.

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Happy Thanksgiving from the Silver City-Grant County Chamber of Commerce 2022

When we think of Thanksgiving, we imagine families gathering around well-appointed tables laden with traditional Thanksgiving fare. We think of football, of pumpkin pie, of relatives that we only see once or twice a year. It's a great time, but when we focus solely on the holiday's tendency toward excess, we miss the point. Turkey and pie and family gatherings are wonderful things, but I believe these traditions are wasted if we don't embrace the name of the holiday and really take it to heart. Thanksgiving is really an opportunity to express gratitude, to those around us.

There are plenty of reasons to cultivate gratitude in our lives. If you're a spiritual person, gratitude nourishes the soul, whether one is giving or receiving it. If you're a person of a more practical bent, gratitude is an amazing cognitive-behavioral tool that will improve your mental health, because one cannot experience gratitude without choosing positive, healthy thoughts over more negative ones. To be grateful is to acknowledge that you aren't entitled to the thing you're grateful for. What you are is the recipient of a precious gift of time and energy. It forces you to concentrate on the positive, rather than dwell on the negative, to celebrate what you do have instead of longing for what you don't.

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Chamber of Commerce to hold awards banquet

The Silver City-Grant County Chamber of Commerce to hold awards banquet Dec. 1, 2022. For more details, please see flyer below:

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Come Break Bread with the Silver City Grant County Chamber of Commerce

Sharing meals is an activity that is central to the human experience. From our earliest days as a species, we have used food not just as a fuel, but as a way to bond with other community members. We use food to celebrate, to mourn, to commemorate. The word "companion" is derived from the late Latin word "companio", which meant "messmate" or "someone you share a meal with." There's something about the act of enjoying good food that lends itself to building community. We can't go without food, which means that every meal we consume is ultimately a celebration of life.

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