Earthworms’ Castings

With Jean Ponzi

Queen Sarah

There are great-hearted people in all times and lands all over the Earth whose sacred – and often unofficial – job is to keep our human celebrations lively, growing, truly meaningful, and full of joy.

This Celebration-Keeper work is so important that many ancient legends say if the ones who do it ever stop, our world will end. So you know it’s pretty serious stuff.

It’s one of life’s Great Mysteries that the women and men who accept this monumental job have so much fun keeping festivity cycling ‘round, through holidays and normal days, year after year, that all their efforts, attention to detail and world-tending responsibility feels – like PLAY! And when you become their helper? Ho-Ho-Ho! It’s fun for you too!

I’ve been blessed to play along with one of these legendary humans, my beloved friend Sarah Linquist, who many recognized as a Queen of Christmas.

Sarah was profoundly inspired by the classic example, the ultimate Celebration-Keeper: Santa Claus. He started out as Nicholas, seventeen hundred years ago, in a place we now call Turkey. In his real job as a Bishop he enjoyed giving secret gifts so much that the legend of his generous spirit spread far and wide, and pretty soon he had Celebration-Helpers assisting him in his special month, December, as Santa Nicola in Italy, in the Netherlands as Sinterklaas – and in many other names and places. Today at his North Pole address, he leads legions of magical Elves – the hardest-working, most-fun helpers anyone could possibly have – working/playing with Nicholas/Santa to keep his festive tradition giving through centuries of Decembers.

Celebration-Keepers have their specialties, and our Sarah’s strength was making every celebration preparation FUN. She did this in addition to her real job, being an Artist.
Sarah Jean Linquist was born in Park Ridge, Illinois, in the United States of America, in 1952 on the 18th of December. Sarah’s coming into this sweet world was the best Christmas present for her mother Jean, her father Alan, and her three older sisters Suzanne, Kate and Ann. They knew a little Queenie had come into their lives!

The Linquist family was rich in traditions. Little Sarah learned from her earliest days pleasant ways to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, changes of the seasons, and the year’s parade of holidays – especially Christmas. Her jolly roles included: making cards and presents, dressing up and decorating her environment, singing, preparing and sharing special meals – and befitting her zippy efforts to the spirit of each event.

Sarah adored all holidays and welcomed many different ones into her own family. With her (equally festive) husband Robert, children Tyler and Liza (Artists all!) and many intertwining circles of friends, Sarah led the lace-snipping of Valentines, the hand-dipping of Hanukah candles, and the baking of and wishing on countless Happy Birthday cakes. She gathered autumn leaves and spring blooms to festoon Thanksgiving and Passover tables for our grateful gatherings. She cut paper shadow-puppets for our candle-lit, bewitching neighborhood Halloween pageant in her Haunted Driveway. We filled her home with flowers and games and wore Sarah-fashioned crowns to ring in decades of New Years. So much celebrating together!

And come every December, our Christmas Queen pulled out all the stops and all her boxes of Yuletide tunes and treasures. Her loyal helpers – her Elves! – trooped in to munch a cookie, raise a glass, and decorate her home for days with old-time baubles found at church sales and yard sales, made by crafty lady hands and antique craftsmen.
Then friends gamboled in for a luminous night of caroling. Then the children’s rooms stilled to await the bells of Santa’s sleigh. And all through her favorite month, twinkling colors in her home rivaled stars in the winter sky.

Love and joy are the source of Queen Sarah’s power!
Shared through a life of royally Keeping Celebrations!

Jean Ponzi is an Earth Elf, who talks on the radio every week about all things environmental. Tune in Mondays 7-8 pm to “Earthworms” on FM-88 KDHX, or catch a podcast anytime from www.kdhx.org/ondemand.