Family tradition renewed for parents' anniversary


December 09, 1997|By Sherry Graham | Sherry Graham,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TRADITIONS PLAY A large part in most people's lives this time of year. I know our family has many traditions that are almost sacred to us.

Some family traditions revolve around special outings or gatherings with family and friends.

For the Leatherwoods of Sykesville, a tree was part of many family events over the years.

In 1958, Richard Leatherwood began decorating the beautiful blue spruce that graced the front yard of the home he shared with his wife, Mary, and their four children.

"My dad decorated that tree so beautifully year after year as we were growing up," said daughter Meredith Bruner. "People would always stop on the side of the road to admire it during the holiday season."

Indeed, the 60-foot tree with its brightly colored lights always drew attention from travelers along Route 32.

Decorating the tree was a cherished yearly tradition for Leatherwood, too.

"That tree was a special part of our growing up," Bruner said. "It seems that nearly every graduation, holiday or special occasion picture was taken with the blue spruce as the background."

In 1993, the tree's height and Leatherwood's advancing years forced him to light the tree for the last time.

"It really was a disappointment to Dad not to be able to string up the lights and enjoy that tree like we had done for so many years," Bruner said.

In honor of their parents' 50th wedding anniversary on Saturday, the Leatherwood children, Bruner, Robyn Crum, Chris Leatherwood and Lori Pettinati, and their spouses decorated the tree with nearly 2,500 colorful lights.

A sign done in white lights recognizes the milestone anniversary.

"We were all together at Thanksgiving and did the decorating while some of us kept Mom and Dad busy in the house. They were very surprised when we led them outside to see the lighted tree after dinner," Bruner said.

"They couldn't believe we had done the decorating without them knowing it."

The Leatherwoods and their children will be together again on Christmas to enjoy their special spruce.

Appreciation concert

The giving spirit of the holiday season is the motivating factor behind a concert at 6 p.m. Sunday at Liberty High School.

The concert will feature the saxophone talents of Bradley Collins and some of his musical friends.

Collins has organized the concert, "I'm So Thankful," as a way of expressing his appreciation for the strong support of family, friends and fellow church members over the years.

"I have gotten such a tremendous amount of support over the years from my family and friends, and from others in the community that this is just a way for me to express my appreciation," Collins said.

After serving as band director at South Carroll High School for 11 years, Collins sought a lifestyle change and is teaching instrumental music to students at Mount Airy and Robert Moton elementary schools.

"I had a wonderful musical experience at South Carroll, and the dedication and hard work of the students there made that possible," he said. "But I needed to make some changes for my family, and these changes have given me a chance to reflect on what is important in my life."

The recent loss of a family member and illnesses of others have prompted Collins to resume the concerts he first performed in the early 1980s.

Proceeds from the concert will benefit the congregations of Johnsville United Methodist and St. Luke's United Methodist, churches attended by Collins' parents.

Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students.

The concert will feature a variety of musical styles, including gospel, pop and jazz.

Information: Bradley Collins at 410-549-1371 or George Collins, 410-795-8663.

Students honored

Oklahoma Road Middle School paid tribute to a high percentage of its student population Wednesday at the school's first Honors Convocation.

Four hundred and ninety-four students made the honor roll by achieving straight A's or all A's and B's.

Principal Larry Barnes and Assistant Principal Cathy Hood said they were pleased by the huge turnout of students and families for the event.

"This tremendous response shows what a strong support system our students have at this school," Barnes said.

David Greenwalt, representing a new business organization, Businesses United for Sykesville Schools (BUSS), congratulated the students. BUSS presented each student with a pass good for free tokens for a local amusement center.

Karen Sirko, a PTA representative, presented students with a window sticker noting the achievement. Students also received a certificate from the school administration.

New Year's Eve

If you're looking for a way to ring in 1998, the Knights of Columbus could have just what you're looking for.

Council 7612 of the Knights of Columbus is sponsoring a New Year's Eve Dinner and Dance from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the gym at St. Joseph's Catholic Community.

The event will feature a roast beef dinner, followed by dancing to the music of Green Onions.

Dress is semiformal. Adults 21 and over may attend. The cost is $25 per person.

Information: Harold Benden at 410-781-7926 or Joe Winterling, 410-781-6361.

Sherry Graham's Southeast neighborhood column appears Tuesdays in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 12/09/97

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