News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 23, 2009

Andy Amey: Sometimes there is joy in the simplest of gifts

By Andy Amey

TERRE HAUTE — The stockings are hung by the chimney with care in the Amey household.

The hopes for St. Nicholas arriving, however, depend upon how much he’s accomplished in the short amount of time between him writing this and you reading it.

Christmas cards? How do you feel about valentines?

Part of the pressure is off, however, because our big family Christmas with kids and grandkids has already occurred. (And maybe that’s the problem. We newspaper folks like to think we work better under pressure of a deadline.)

The food was fabulous then (how do I get rid of these extra pounds with the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic coming up?), and afterward we spent the afternoon playing games — we are a cutthroat and hilarious bunch in that regard — and drinking wassail. One of my grandsons — and yes, he’s of legal age — explained to me that wassail is particularly good when you sprinkle a little in a large cup of brandy.

Circumstances prevented me from taking his advice, but yes, it’s safe to say getting drinking tips from a grandchild wasn’t one of the topics I was expecting to write about back when I studied journalism.

The girls are still anxiously awaiting opening more of their gifts, although it will be hard for Santa to top what they’ve received so far. Darcy’s favorite gift right now is a lava lamp (don’t know if any bell-bottoms are under the tree for her or not), and JoJo may not be the only 11-year-old girl whose gifts have included a bottle of perfume and a machine gun, but I imagine she’s on a short list in that regard.

Jenny and I have fared best, though. Each of us got a poem composed by our granddaughter, who had them mounted and framed. I can’t imagine anything in my stocking or under my tree on Friday morning that can top that.

Rachel was there, too, of course — in our minds, in our hearts. Our blessing and our curse this season is that our family has been drawn closer together by the suffering she went through.

Thanks again, Rach.

To the rest of you … Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

• More sad holidays — Our hearts go out this season to the families of two pillars of the Wabash Valley softball community as well.

Russ Sanders was a longtime coach/mentor for players and coaches in the Montezuma area and at Riverton Parke, while Katie Stinson was a recent member of some of the Casey powerhouses.

Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. for comments or news items at (812) 231-4277 or at 1-800-783-8742; or

by e-mail at