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Hold the spirit all year long

I thought Christmas was not just the lights, the caroling, traffic jams and endless trips to the mall.

I thought Christmas came from the heart and sharing and giving. I thought the joy came from within, a joy we could carry in our hearts all year.

Wouldn't it be a better world if we could hold the Christmas spirit all year long? Well, we can dream. ' Tina and Regis Carrara, Central Point

Lost to urban decadence

The annual Christmas holiday season has come and gone. Too, the yearly Christmas shopping racket!

Department stores, merchants and malls appeal to consumer impulse buying and spending via advertisement scams and plastic credit cards. America has become a debtor nation. However, this wasn't always so.

According to the December 2002 Southern Oregon Heritage Today (541-773-6536 and , respectively), Christmas didn't become commercialized until the latter 20th century.

In 19th-century rural America, the holiday was celebrated at home or church with family and friends. Gifts were given of course, but pioneer merchants seldom exploited the holiday

Early newspapers often mentioned Christmas items, but the retail store rat-race common today, was practically unknown then. During the 19th century rural frontier era, many holiday customs and goodies were prepared on an old-fashioned Home Comfort wood range.

Being nostalgic, I yearn for the simplicity, dignity, and low-key approach of a bygone era. What was wrapped beneath a Christmas tree in circa 1890 rural America? A Winchester Model 1873 lever-action .44-40 rifle, a pair of snow shoes , or a quilt? We can only lament a time of self-sufficiency, community identity, and hospitality which has been lost to urban decadence! ' James A. Farmer, Ashland

Top 10 list

Things I really need:

1. State police harassing me about seat belts.

2. Democrats who were silent while Slick Willie was in office and are now bashing Bush.

3. Politicians who think money grows on trees and spend accordingly.

4. Higher taxes.

5. That damn sales tax.

6. Educators who want more money for projects and have teachers on the payroll who aren't involved in teaching.

7. Those who believe the constant media anti-gun propaganda.

8. Those who believe the Israelis can kill Palestinians and escape retaliation.

9. Those anti-abortionists who would kill for their cause.

10. Anyone who disagrees with me. ' Jim McCormick, Medford

Groceries not needed

I don't know who is responsible for a huge box of groceries left at my address. It was meant for a family, not a single person and definitely not me.

I called ACCESS and the Salvation Army and neither knew of boxes being delivered.

To whomever it was, your heart was in the right place, but some checking ahead needs to be done as to whom you give charity.

The Salvation Army has agreed to pick it up for their store so it isn't wasted. ' Margaret Jones, Medford

Forgive these gripes

It is Christmas time, a time for forgiveness, so please forgive me for being upset with the following.

1) The Rogue Valley Transportation District board for wasting taxpayer time and money to address their own agenda.

2) Mr. Crebbin for stating that the &

36;250,000, (that's a quarter of a million, folks), need to repair the yet-to-be-used new McAndrews Road is just to be expected.

3) Mr. Wisely getting paid more than double what our governor will make this year.

4) PERS ' a state nightmare getting worse. If nobody else has been reimbursed for their investment losses, why should PERS?

5) Rogue Community College and the Medford School District, which do not understand the word no. Either combine your resources and ask for one skills center, or leave us alone.

Just so I do not sound like Scrooge, let me say thank-you to the government for my Social Security pay increase. That extra &

36;10.70 per month, less my rent increase and my Medicare increase, will allow me to go to McDonald's once more each month on Happy Meal Tuesday.

I look forward to seeing my fellow taxpayers there. Happy New Year! ' Wayne R. Martin, Medford

Headline was subjective

Your front page headline ( 'Axis of Evil' line appears prophetic) is blatantly subjective and should have been labeled properly as opinion. Many other nations have nuclear weapons and are not labeled evil.

Only one nation has ever used nuclear weapons and is thus the blackest pot of them all. Had the United States been willing to sign and to help enforce the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the nuclear genie would have been contained and the world would be a safer place.

America has no legal right or moral authority to call other nations and peoples evil. Were our behavior exemplary, which it has rarely ever been, then our voice would have some authority. As it is, we are simply trying to bully the rest of the world.

Your headline and the story itself only perpetuate the myth of American goodness against others' evil. ' Gerald Cavanaugh, Ashland