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Since I didn't get very many photos, perhaps I should try to describe what happened last night when I attended the Tree Lighting Ceremony at St. Luke's Church here in Fairfax, especially since my photos of the occasion are few and far between.

My vision was:
A calm cool brisk night with a few large flakes of snow falling as young people stood around the Christmas Tree and Creche softly singing Christmas Carols while I roamed around taking many photos of this Happy Occasion.

What Actually Happened:

I arrived at the St. Luke's Parking Lot to find there were about 4 or 5 cars in the parking lot. Snow was blowing off the roof and across the parking lot and the wind chill as the temperature was dropping, I would say was well below zero. In one of the cars Marc Bessette was apparently doing a little studying and I proceded to roam around the parking lot with my lights on high beam to determine how I could use them to help light up the crowd.

Each time I drove by, I noticed Marc cautiously glancing at me. I suspect he was wondering just what the heck I was doing. I parked the car, leaving the motor running and the heater going full blast to keep my camera warm, as felt a certain need to go over to his car and explain my actions. Feeling much better now that he understood the old guy roaming around the parking lot with his high beams on hadn't gone over the edge, I returned to my car and sat and waited as 7:30 approached and the big moment was near.

Father Connors arrived at the church shortly and I explained that I would like to take some photos of the Tree Lighting and would probably need to park my car in the road of the entrance driveway with my high beams on for better lighting. He said "no problem", but we wouldn't be lighting the tree as there were too many strings of lights out. Sooooooooo, I roamed around the parking lot a little more with my lights on high, feeling no pressure this time, because I knew Marc was aware of what I was doing. I finally found a spot kind of halfway cris-cross in the road of the main entrance, left my motor running and headlights on high beam ready for the big moment.

As I sat there in the car, several cars arrived, and I got the distinct impression they weren't at all that happy with the parking position I had taken. Again, I felt the need to explain, but it was to cold to get out of the car again. One of the cars was parked in the parking lot across the way and I strongly suspect my high beams were shining directly in his face. Well, I'm sure they were because I could see his face quite clearly. He kept blinking his high beams at me I believe in an attempt to tell me something. Again, I felt a stong need to explain my actions, but as I saw the strong winds blowing the cold air and snow across the parking lot, decided I would let well enough alone and let the guy think I was an idiot.

I did decide to go inside and find out how much longer it would be before the ceremony would begin and found out it would start around 8 o'clock to give the CCD Teachers to finish with their classes and Father Connors to close with a final prayer. Father asked Bob Bessette if the students would need books for the Christmas Carols, but was informed that they would only be doing one verse of Silent Night. I knew right then and there that the pressure was on, once the students came out.

I saw Father Connors come out with a steel folding metal chair and set it up near the lighting switch, then the students started to come out and lined up in front of the creche. I knew it was time to get my camera ready as Father was going to turn the lights on the Creche and Keep Christ In Christmas displays during the singing of Silent Night.

After several false starts, the singing began and Father standing on the steel folding chair turned on the lights. I carefully focused my camera and clicked it. The cold air apparently did its thing with my camera and nothing happened. I tried a couple more times and still nothing. I then decided to step inside the church and turn it on and off a couple of times. Finally it opened, and I dashed outside just in time for "Sleep in Heavenly Peace".

I snapped photos as fast as I could as my camera was being just a little sluggish. Anyhow, for posterity the following are the photos of:


"Sleep in Heavenly Peace"

Jeannete & Bob thank the kids for a job well done

Is this it?? Can we go now??

And the crowd quickly dispersed

Pete Fitzgerald's son was the last to leave the Creche and as you can see from the looks of his face, it was "Mighty Cool"

When you visit St. Luke's and look at the Creche and the "Keep Christ In Christmas Sign", you will now know how the lights were turned on December 8, 2002

Hopefully you too will see the humor in this since I had to make up for the lack of photos,

Henry A. Raymond
December 8, 2002