“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man… a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination.”

One of many Rod Serling quotes.

Imagination – who could have imagined last Christmas Eve how different this Christmas Eve would be? Who could have imagined a virus overwhelming the planet?

If Serling had been alive today, what would he say about the pandemic? The topic would definitely be fitting for The Twilight Zone.

Christmas Eve does not seem like the time to read about the continuing saga of election fraud claims. Since last week, new claims have been added. Who can imagine what will happen between now and the Inauguration?

Today though we can take a break from election news. Stillwater news and people can take its place. On this Christmas Eve of 2020, let us focus on Stillwater.

But first speaking of Rod Serling – In a recent note, Stillwater resident Linda Phillips described herself as a “sort of long-term Stilly.” She came for college and stayed. I am guessing Stillwater has many Stillys. Phillips included an interesting article about Serling from the Dec/Jan. 2021 issue of Reminisce Magazine. Reading it made me want to know more about him so I read several articles.

If you have become a fan of his quotes as I have, you will find this information about him to be interesting also.

Serling started writing The Twilight Zone as a way to get around program censors and sponsors who found his television work to be too controversial. From the article – “In 1959, Serling cannily turned to science fiction. In the creepy ‘fifth dimension’ of The Twilight Zone, which debuted that October, social commentary breezed past censors while still delivering an emotional wallop.”

The many quotes attributed to Serling are fascinating. According to Wikipedia, he had strong opinions about war and politics based upon his service in WWII. He also strongly supported equality of all races. His quotes often focused on those views.

Serling would have been in writers’ heaven with the pandemic and politics of 2020. He could have written a book.

One Twilight Zone quote especially fitting for today: “For civilization to survive, the human race has to remain civilized.”

How many times have you read the observation about how divided the United States is? Or wouldn’t it be nice if the two parties in Congress could work together?

Maybe “Let us be civilized in all of our actions” could be the motto for 2021.

According to the Reminisce article, Serling is still rated as a “Sci-Fi legend.” In a 2004 TV Guide rating – he was No. 1 on its list of 25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends.

If you have watched many movies from the ‘40s and ‘50s, smoking was a common habit. Unfortunately for Serling, he was a smoker. Concerning his lifestyle, Serling said, “My diet consisted chiefly of black coffee and fingernails.” According to Wikipedia, he smoked three to four packs of cigarettes a day. He developed lung cancer and died from a third heart attack while having open-heart surgery. He was only fifty years old.

Now to Stillwater Events and People –

I called my friend Shirley Weeks last week to see how she is surviving. Her main interests these days are food and Hallmark movies. On the day I talked with her, she said, “The world news is so crazy I just decided at 8 a.m. this morning to watch a Hallmark movie.” Her daughter and son-in-law are visiting from California so they joined in watching the movie.

How many in every state are watching every movie on the Hallmark channel? Has there ever been a Hallmark movie with a sad ending? Of course not.

Food and Hallmark movies have become consolation for getting though the pandemic.

If Braum’s were a publicly traded company, its stock would have rocketed by now. Everyone has to eat but how many people have decided ice cream should be a daily staple in their diets?

You have surely read the jokes about washing machines shrinking clothes since the pandemic started.

Bonita Warren sent a humorous suggestion in a Christmas letter. Mentioning the current situation in our state and in our nation, Warren suggested I could write a companion column to The Twilight Zone entitled “Someone Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” She had some candidates in mind. Yes, she is correct about the strange behavior by so many people these days, especially concerning the topic of election fraud and the election winner.

The behavior has been spreading though to other topics. We can blame it on the pandemic.

Could we have imagined although the Electoral College voted Biden will be the President-elect, some Americans, including President Trump, believe the winner is Trump – not Biden?

Good news from Stillwater – the Friends of the Stillwater Community Center sent a 2020 newsletter about future plans. Chairman Jim Beckstrom wrote about SCC life since the March shutdown. They now have a website – www.SCCFriends.com.

This group has never let COVID-19 get to them. Their Prairie Pandemic Relief Concert Series was a great success – plans are already being made for the 2021 series. The Byron Berline Band and the Red Dirt Rangers are among the groups that will be appearing.

Their main improvement project they hope to fund in 2021 is a safe, attractive, cost-effective southeast entrance upgrade with ADA compliant ramp and stair system. Such projects are necessary but costly – the Friends of SCC hope to find ways to finance this $208,000 cost to make an important improvement to the SCC.

If you drive by the Friends’ garden, you notice the remaining crops were recently harvested. Since the broom corn was one of the harvested crops, we might find out whether the Beckstroms have located anyone wanting to go into the broom-making business.

The Stillwater Community Choir has taped a Christmas Concert video. One of the best Christmas events every year is their Christmas concert with their wonderful reception. Besides the food, those receptions are always a great place to visit with friends.

You can watch the video by going to their website: www.stillwatersingers.weebly.com. You will enjoy hearing the Singers and pretending you are right there in the SCC auditorium. This is another group that did not let the pandemic stop them from singing.

We also have the Friends of Fairlawn – although it was not possible to have a ceremony this year, the wreaths in honor of veterans were to be placed last Saturday. According to the FOF, there are over 1,400 veterans buried at Fairlawn. The group planned for a wreath for each veteran’s grave. They would be happy to have contributions to help with this annual tribute to our veterans.

A drive to Fairlawn to see the wreaths will give you a Christmas feeling.

I visited with Gerry Frank, organist at St. Andrew’s, at Homeland on Wednesday. He said St. Andrew’s is having their annual Christmas services via Zoom. He will be playing the beautiful Christmas music he plays so well. The church has scheduled a 7:30 p.m. Christmas Eve service and a 10:30 Christmas Day service. Their website is www.standrewschurch.org.

Recently, I mentioned all the Christmas lights in town. This pandemic has brought out the house decorations. Yesterday, I counted 15 houses between Ninth and Twelfth on Stanley with outside decorations. My favorite decorated house for Halloween – the Brecins on Walnut – have a next-door neighbor with as many Christmas lights as the Brecins have. They are lighting up the entire block.

Plenty of opportunities in Stillwater to have a wonderful Christmas despite being in The Twilight Zone.

And speaking of The Twilight Zone – I have a request. I am interested in your thoughts about living through this pandemic. How have you managed to cope with such a change in your life and has it been a drastic change for you? Do you consider you have had any positive change from living through The Twilight Zone?

Readers would be interested in what others say about this period in our lives. If you want to give your views about this topic, email the News Press editor at editor@stwnewspress.com.

He will forward them to me so I can write a column about the topic.

The dimension of imagination – Christmas can be whatever you imagine it to be.

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