With both Christmas and New Year’s falling in the middle of the week, holiday celebrations will be spread out across several weekends, which might lessen the amount of traffic on the roads at any one time. An estimated 24 percent of people will travel during the holidays and about 71 percent of them will be traveling by personal vehicle. Many of those will encounter car trouble. With Ottawa and Franklin County’s access to three major highways, some of those travelers will break down in this area. The Herald often receives notes of thanks from travelers who have been helped by local people who offer a ride, food, a hotel room, a vehicle repair, cup of coffee or even a shoulder to cry on. People in our area are known for offering precisely those things — with no expectation of compensation or even acknowledgement. Those are compassionate and empathetic ways to treat others every day of the year and especially during the holidays.
The other 21 percent of travelers arriving via airplanes, buses or ships also might encounter their own set of stressors. At the top of that list is bad weather. No one wants to spend the holidays stuck at an airport waiting for the weather to clear up enough to allow flights to be air bound again. Other stressors include traffic delays — regardless of the mode of transportation — and the price to travel. The cost of airfare is up 9 percent this year compared to 2012, though fuel cost for vehicles is down about 4 percent.
With nearly half of all of those travelers staying overnight with family members, a little friction along the way is natural. While some of those travelers and the families they stay with may be worried about the gifts, food, costs or any number of other factors, those aren’t the gifts many people want the most.
The best gift to give to those travelers might be the gift of a helping hand, patience, understanding and good will. Those gifts will be remembered longest by those in need.
— Jeanny Sharp,
editor and publisher