El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Juxtaposed between the Arabic writing was the English phrase “Love Heals” on a dry erasable board that guest speaker, May Hasan was using while she led a Parenting & Youth Workshop.  The workshop was created and produced by Jawdat Al Obeidi, director of the Iraqi Center for Dialogue, and held at their facility on Jan. 10.

“Still life # one” as a painting’s title or how about a witty “Son, we need to talk” title by artist Gloria Chadwick that pictured two bovines? The birds and bees talk?  More titles, and paintings, were on exhibit at La Mesa’s Nainsook Framing + Art’s Artist Reception “Renewal” Wine + Cheese Artist Reception held on Jan. 6 that had an estimated 60 guests. The show included plein air, abstract, pottery, oil, watercolor and mixed media and is open for viewing until the end of February.

“This is an After Hours event,” said La Mesa’s Public Square Coffee House’s Aaron Henderson. The After Hours event featured four bands playing in the coffeehouse on Dec. 30.

“We’ve been here over a year.  We just had our anniversary in November,” said Henderson. 

“Getting these food boxes means my family will have a meal over the holidays,” said Seqouia Salsa of Alpine. Her little 2-year-old son, Nathan, will enjoy a ham dinner on Christmas. Salsa was one of the recipients of SCAIR’s (Southern California American Indian Resource Center, Inc.) Howka program that distributed the holiday boxes at El Cajon’s Grocery Outlet Bargain Market on Dec. 21.

The Water Conservation Garden delighted people from all areas with a chance to stroll through its grounds lit up with holiday lights. Gardens Aglow and was held two weekends, Dec. 7-9 and Dec. 14-16. Festive holiday music, visits with Santa, a kids’ crafts and gift shop, wine tasting and bake sale, and one-of-a-kind gifts in the garden gift store were all part of the experience available to attendees.

“I love you Santa,” said 5-year-old  La’Miyah Gaytan. That, along with Mr. Bubble snow flurries, and Christmas tunes were all in the air at the 17th Annual Santa at the Lakes on Dec, 10 at the Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve. Gaytan just visited Santa  to take a photo with him, seated in front of a trailer, ready to hear her Christmas wishes. Fitting for an outdoor venue that encourages camping with trailers, RVs or the cabins by the Lake.

Kole in your stocking means something different than coal in your stocking to Ed Presnillo. Presnillo took his dog, Kole, to the 7th Annual Jingle Paws Walk for Pets 2017 on Dec. 2 at Cuyamaca College. Kole did not get coal in his stocking when he won one of three prizes awarded in the Christmas-themed costume contest but received other doggie related treats.

“It’s about bringing a smile to their face,” said Buddy Rabaya, president of the Santee Mobilehome Owners Action Committee, Inc.  Those faces are the faces of seniors that reside in mobile home parks, but the campaign to collect Christmas presents for seniors is also open to other Santee seniors.

“You’ve done something!” joked the Grinch who adhered to the naughty or nice mindset at the Santa comes to Parkway Plaza event held on Nov. 17 in El Cajon.  Thankfully, Santa was more accepting of little ones’ transgressions than the Grinch was.  Never the less the Grinch continued entertaining parents and kids with lines like, “You guys like canned beets?”

“Be safe, be happy, and have a wonderful holiday season,” said Santee Mayor John Minto at the City of Santee’s Holiday Lighting Celebration, held at Santee Trolley Square, on Nov. 17.  The celebration, with the Michaels family performing the honor of flipping the switch to light the Christmas tree, included music and dancing, vendors, holiday blow-up figures like Olaf, pictures with Santa and much more.