Despite the colder weather than the previous two events, the third annual Operation Santa Hat event was held on the courthouse square Dec. 26 at 7:30 p.m.
These events are open to everyone sporting a red and white Santa hat, and serve as a mini-reunion for all those who attended various schools throughout Sampson County.
It is widely known that the holiday season can be difficult for some who have lost family members, or who may otherwise feel left out. One lady (who does not wish to be identified) read of the upcoming event in The Sampson Independent, and she joined the fun Tuesday night. She was shy and a bit withdrawn, which is understandable when among strangers, but she was made to feel welcome.
Attendance was lower than usual due to cold weather. Many “regulars” were out of town, while others sent their regrets due to sickness — which was rampant again this year. One of the regulars who snaps the group photo was out of town — but a member of our Facebook group Clinton-Sampson County Local History (Tiffany Sessoms) is a professional photographer and she stepped-in to help this year.
A little cold weather could not stop the show and there were hugs, smiles, and laughter all around. Two well known ladies who retired from Sampson Community College were there — Judye Tart and Jan Tart, along with her husband Whit. Judye’s lovely daughter, Marsha Tart was there, too, and she brought along her well-behaved doggies Charlie and Mollie. Marsha Tart is a teacher at Union Intermediate School.
Larry Jones, a Clinton High School class of 1972 grad returned this year. He’s lived in North Dakota for the past 25 years and jokingly told anyone who complained of the cold, “You think this is cold? Back home, we call this a heat wave!”
Larry then showed everyone his cell phone which indicated the current temperature back in North Dakota was four degrees below zero.
Larry’s father is Kenneth Jones, who managed Fussell’s Restaurant for 40-years. Fussell’s Restaurant (and the hotel) are the subject of fond memories and are often mentioned in the local history group.
David Thomas Tew provided musical accompaniment with his guitar for a few Christmas Carols. He was joined by his wife Sara Tew.