Saturday, December 13, I made a pilgrimage to downtown Xenia. Having lived in Xenia most of my life, it is easy to remember the good ole’ days. The place where hip-hop caroling was happening is near the old Singers store. Today, it’s a pharmacy across from city hall. Singers was a woman’s clothing store visited by people from as far away as Columbus and Cincinnati.
It was very cold at 4:15 PM. I stood there a short time listening to a modern rendition of Jingle Bells and watching the backbreaking but choreographed dance by a group of young people dress is elfish red. I caught a glimpse of one of Xenia’s honorable public officials, I think. If I am not mistaken, Councilman Louderback was watching over the good elfish dancers and probably the city’s sound system.
Beginning to shiver, I briskly walked down Detroit Street to my favorite (if only) used bookstore hoping to find a book recommended by John Birch Society’s field representative, Tom Rice, who presented many reasons why we should demand of our politicians the immediate repeal of NAFTA and an end to any discussions of a North American Community or Union. I hope that we value our national sovereignty and individual freedom more than national and state official want to trade them away on the global competitive market. Andy Meyers organized the interesting meeting, which was held at the Xenia Library.
Blue Jacket Books didn’t have the book. Consequently, I braved the cold once again making my way across Detroit towards East Main. I noticed that the Xenia Shoe store was open. Not only was this continually expanding and remolded store open but they were offering a 25% discount on their merchandise. Not being in the market for new shoes—my warm boots are still in good condition—I continued down the sidewalk. The only other establishments open on that block beside the clothing store and Oasis Café was Express Yourself Coffeehouse. I imagine many of others closed before 4:30pm. Besides being as old as dirt, I can still see. I could see a number of those store fronts that I was briskly passing has been open earlier. Even though I was beginning to shiver again, I stopped at a little shop to see some really cool pictures displayed in the window. One picture up for auction appeared to be a painting of Xenia downtown many years ago. Had the shop been open, I would have likely place my bid. I think the auction was to raise money for the Xenia Area Community Theater.
Getting colder by the minute, I beat it to the Oasis Café. It has been my intention to find out how good their food really is. This was the big day. Oasis not only smelled deliciously warm but it was warm. I have to admit though that at this very moment I am puzzled. I’m looking at the on-line menu and I don’t see the meal I purchased while there. Nevertheless, the meal I purchased consisted on a delicious lemon-something steak with rice and a roll. I discovered it was truly yummy after I was in front of my TV watching Ben Stein’s documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, an excellent work. So was the thick and juicy hunk of steak that would have cost at least $12 at any other restaurant. What do you think it cost me? $10 bucks? No! $8 dollars? No! $7.50? No, try $6.95. I guess the Sonja and Mike Pershing were into the Hometown Christmas spirit, and I’m glad they were too.
I think it’s unfortunate that the Christmas grinch seems to be plaguing Xenia residents. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I was there at the wrong time. Yes, downtown lacks the good ole stores it once was famous for. They were run out of town by a tornado, big attractive malls, and blurry-eyed policy-makers. Yet, establishments like Oasis carry on the Xenia tradition. I remember eating there when it was Frisch’s.
As I was returning to my car with my food, I noticed a band playing Christmas music on stage where I had witness choreographed hip-hop caroling. (If such a thing can actually exist.) My car was waiting for me in the Towne Square Shopping Center parking lot. (All stores were still open there.) I didn’t see many people enjoying the band though.
What I will never forget is the stream of excited and cute children caroling all over downtown spreading a little joy to their world. Yes, I received a priceless gift this Christmas. Too bad you missed it.