The Reed-Hembree Community Caroling Party last Thursday night celebrated a quarter-century of making a joyful Yuletide noise for the Pawhuska community.
The event takes its name from the families that have organized it — Ron and Debbie Reed, and Greg and Elizabeth Hembree. The caroling group last Thursday was estimated to have included 55 or more singers.
“We started it when our kids were young,” Ron Reed said, explaining the Reeds and Hembrees wanted to create an activity suitable for their children, and also give an emotional boost to people in the community who needed it. “We went to anybody in the community we felt needed cheering up.”
Caroling stops for the 2019 version of the caroling party included the Pawhuska Hospital, the home of Pawhuska City Manager Dave Neely, the home of Pastor Kenneth Woodhams, the home of Duke Atterberry, and the homes of Justice M. John Kane IV and Strat Tolson.
The carolers met at Grill 125, on Main Street, and returned there after the singing was done for a social period marked by the distribution of amusing gifts, including numerous goofy hats.
“Oh, we’ve got more stuff,” a smiling Ron Reed quipped at one point, when a question arose about the supply of gifts. He took special pleasure in presenting a humorous golfing hat to his fellow event organizer, Greg Hembree. And then there was the “undies for two” gift to couple who had recently arrived in the Pawhuska community.
Reed shared a few facts about the achievements of the caroling party — it has provided Christmas music for more than 150 homes, and more than 750 individuals; weather has never been allowed to prevent the carolers from delivering their service, not even the year that it snowed eight inches; and on one of the caroling trips, more than 140 singers took part. Hundreds of gifts and awards have been distributed in the after-caroling merriment.
Debbie Reed explained that an effort has been made through the years to keep the event light and enjoyable in tone, and to reach out to numerous families in the Pawhuska community as recipients of the caroling.