The stars are shining in Ellis. When I came home from a meeting in Hays and turned off I-70 into Ellis, I smiled -- the Christmas stars were up.

I remember when these stars were just an idea. It all started in January 1999 when new city Christmas decorations were needed to replace ones that no longer were useable. A committee appointed by the mayor was to investigate and explore decoration possibilities.

I checked our AARP scrapbook to get the following information: Joanne Keller, chairwoman reported the committee had an idea -- let's make our own, make stars to line main street -- community support would be needed. The Ellis AARP Chapter, under Elvira Dubach's direction, initiated the first fundraiser event to help pay for new decorations made by local people. Our chapter sponsored a soup supper, which raised $538. This amount covered the cost of six stars.

Kenneth King made the stars in his welding shop; Don Younger made the lights and powdercoated the stars to withstand the weather; volunteers from the community wrapped each star with the golden garland of lights.

Each year, the stars have gone up. It's been 13 years, and they look great down main street, ready for the annual "Follow the Star" event, which takes place during the first weekend of December. On Friday, the event begins with a "Candy Cane Hunt," Santa's visit and the "Polar Express Ride" on the decorated miniature train. On Saturday, the annual Christmas craft fair will be open.

Yes, the season is here, Halloween came, Thanksgiving came, now the Christmas craze has begun. This time of year is a difficult time for me. I'm rushing around trying to keep up with all the things noted on my calendar. I can't imagine how I'll get everything done. Hectic.

Then, I glanced in my rearview mirror and noticed a smiley face saying "I love you" drawn on the dusty window. I just had to smile and realize I needed to relax -- it's still November.

The dusty window remindes me how the vegetation and fence posts on the roadside look as though they are covered with frost from the white rock road dust that has settled on them. I've gotta add wash the car on my "to do" list.

I've attended bazaars and silent auctions so far. What else is in store for me? Christmas parties for each club and organization I am part of, gift exchanges, Christmas cards to send -- of course, we grandparents have to make time to attend sporting events and school programs. We must not forget the special Christmas church services.

I'm glad the radio station waited until after Thanksgiving to begin playing Christmas music. The decorations will be going up soon across town. Soon, they will make our surroundings alive with sparkling color.

Jim and I used to make it an evening out just admiring the decorated homes as we drove around. Not as much fun when I'm alone. I miss my Jim at this time of year.

The stars shining at night in Ellis remind me of the "star" shining in Bethlehem, announcing the true meaning of Christmas. Let's celebrate the birth of the Christ child. Have a blessed Christmas.

Opal Flinn is a member of the Generations advisory group.