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Holiday event fills W.Va. town with song

November 30, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Little Ethan McDade came all the way from Gaithersburg, Md., Saturday to go inside The Little House located on the campus of Shepherd College.

But when the 3-year-old pressed his cold nose to the front window and peered inside, he and his grandmother Susan Guay discovered The Little House wasn't open.

"We heard it was going to be open and it isn't," said Guay who lives in nearby Charles Town, W.Va. "I'm so disappointed for Ethan."

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But in the true spirit of Christmas, Ethan posed gamely in front of the miniaturized stone home so his grandmother could take his picture. He even managed a smile.

They were in town to take in all the events of Christmas In Shepherdstown 2003, which began Saturday, and continues today and all next weekend.

The streets of this small college town were decked with lights, storefront decorations and displays of seasonal wares and foods for sale. On the lawn of McMurran Hall, the Shepherdstown Middle School choral group tried hard to warm up their fingers and toes while warming the crowds with selections of holiday music.

Braving the cold winds and occasional snow flurries, crowds roamed the streets, paused to listen to the music and then ducked into stores for shopping, refreshments and most of all, warmth.

Ethan and his grandmother walked around the corner from The Little House and lingered for a while to listen to the choral group.

"I like the singing. I like jumping off the wall, too. Watch me," he shouted as his grandmother held his gloved hands while he showed off his prowess.

Martinsburg, W.Va., resident Laura White journeyed to Shepherdstown on Saturday to take in all the sights but mostly to visit The Little House. "My mother, the late Louise Cookus, donated things to The Little House years ago," White said. "She was a child here then."

Another veteran of Shepherdstown's Christmas celebrations, Sharon Charles drove in from Richmond, Va., after picking up her mother, Charlotte Lind, from her home in Pittsburgh.

"I wouldn't miss it. I've been coming for 30-some years now," Charles said. Accompanying her was Wilbur Lind, now of Sharpsburg, one of two brothers who graduated from Shepherd College in the 1970s.

Charles said the event is an excuse for the family to get together. The other brother, David Lind, lives in Shepherdstown.

Five-year-old Will Bury came all the way from Owings, Md., with his younger brother, Jon Bury, hoping to show him The Little House. But it was still closed when they arrived mid-afternoon.

Will was in the house once and he wanted to show it to Jon, who will be 3 years old in two weeks, said Betsy Bury, the boys' aunt. Also accompanying the boys was their grandmother, Judy Bury, who along with Betsy Bury, lives in Shepherdstown.

Eric Peterson and Molly Cornelius saw the Web site and came from Arlington, Va., to see The Little House and ride on a mule wagon, both of which were listed but apparently not happening Saturday.

"Still it's so nice here. The town is like a fairy land," Cornelius said.

When last seen, Ethan and his grandmother were heading for the Mount Nebo Masonic Lodge for hot chocolate and cookies.

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