The Baxter Springs Christmas Tree stands proudly in the parking-lot of the newly named, Route 66 True Value Hardware, 109 E. 12th Street off Military Avenue. Dave Lewis is the new owner.

The previous owner, Charlene Ann Stapleton, life-long resident of Baxter Springs, passed away at her home September 9th 2019. She was born in Baxter on July 26, 1940.

Along with her husband, Charlene owned and operated Food Fair Grocery store from 1971-1978 at 12th and Military.

Food Fair was later changed to True Value Hardware in 1978 and now 41 years later in 2019, renamed Route 66 True Value Hardware.

The former Food Fair Grocery store is currently being restocked with new hardware items, they also have a Christmas and clearance section.

I first met the new owner, Dave Lewis at the Grand Opening of the Donut Palace in Baxter. He is personable and genuine. Like-em on Facebook or email- rt66truevalue@gmail.com, store phone 620-856-3300. Shop and dine local when you can!

Across the street, The Ritz was recently reborn, now showing is Frozen 2, for information on upcoming movies and times call 620-856-3504. Decades of Wheels has also changed the block view forever. One thing remains the same. The Baxter Springs Christmas Tree and the beloved school children who make paper ornaments each year.

I know Charlene is looking down from heaven with pride. She was very protective of the tree that greets hometown folk and travelers each year. Here are some of the children who made ornaments this year, 2019.

Kailee Wixon Burrows, 5th grader-Central Elementary, Jade Elliott Zanatti, Mrs. C's class, Callie 4th, K. Cannon-Sadie Miller, Cole, Gracie, Monica, Josh, Brantley, Mia, Harper, Jordan, Madison, Logan, Bray Thompson, Wyatt, and Taylor Marie Fullen.

Other News...Bethel Marquee : Merry Christmas and Happy New Year... Baxter American Legion monthly breakfast January 4, 2020 at the American Legion 13th and Military, everyone welcome...Baxter Springs Lions Club Biscuit & Gravy breakfast January 18th 2020, free- will donation at the Baxter Springs Lions Club, 137 West 14th, Baxter Springs, everyone welcome...Remember our Veterans this Holiday season and all our military service members. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, confidential help for veterans and families. Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 Press 1; VeteransCrisisLine.net or text to 838-255.

Nelson's Old Riverton Store, Village Pie Maker, Apple, Cherry, Peach, Strawberry Rhubarb, Black Cherry, Blackberry and Blueberry! If you're short on time, they'll bake it for you. Also available for the holidays, Pecan and Pumpkin Pie...need fruitcake, visit Steve's Candy in Galena, home made in house next door to Dairy Queen.

Merry Christmas dear reader, at our next meeting we will be in a new decade. Check out my third silent movie, visit youtube.com and search Duane Lyon Snow and my newest devotional, search Duane Lyon 300 crosses. God bless you and yours in 2020. See-ya next decade!

— Duane Lyon is a international writer, world traveler and poet who lives part-time in Baxter Springs Kansas. Contact him at thestreetpreacherjs@gmail.com with your people or place write idea.