This old trainer airplane from the early days of jets sits at the Tri-County Airport in Ahoskie, still pointing ahead.

Big Sky Montana is looking ahead.

According to, a list of expectations is provided.

“Our team is excited about opening the Biggest Skiing in America on Thanksgiving Day and are grateful for the loyalty and enthusiasm of our guests. For those who are eager to secure a season pass or lift tickets, we appreciate your patience since pass sales paused on June 15. We are continuing our thoughtful approach as we look ahead to winter, and plan to share another opportunity to purchase winter lift access before the start of the season. Like everywhere else, we are carefully preparing for the safety of our environment, but are confident that even with adaptations, the thrill of skiing at Big Sky Resort will be as exhilarating as ever.”

The thrill of skiing will be as exhilarating as ever, the promise reads. Without knowing, it boils down to faith for these people.

And while looking ahead, some of us are enjoying different views. I am 5 feet, 9 inches tall and my boss is five-feet-two — looking high and looking low. From every view our job requires the constant looking forward, bringing the collateral damage: What day is it today?

I never know. The holidays creep up at warp speed as my pen scribbles out the future events and before I know it, Christmas Eve is tonight and I am without plans because I forgot.

But looking ahead has its advantages.

Forgetting about today has the ability to calm folks. Swimming through the constant output casts our minds into the heap of the steaming crap of the day.

We have a choice my friends. Turn it off and find another way to be informed. Choose your path, go to the websites — fact check. Be in charge of your input, allowing a more responsible output.

Scaling the heights of the big sky country mountains is not my vision for the future. Unfortunately those thoughts are counter-productive, bringing vivid memories of one of my two skiing trips. The first was in Pontiac, Michigan, where I almost broke my neck finding a stopping place into a screaming crowd.

Pontiac is also the homeland of the late Alfred Shaddick Burt, who at age 10 received his first musical instrument, a cornet. Though he went on to play several other instruments, Alfred spent most of his life playing cornet and trumpet in bands and orchestras, with a special interest in jazz.

A tradition of his father, the Rev. Bates G. Burt, was creating and sending Christmas cards to family members and parishioners. On these cards were original Christmas carols of his compositions. After Alfred earned his Bachelor of Music in 1942, his father asked him to take over writing the lyrics for the family Christmas cards and setting them to music.

Over the years, his Christmas card list grew from 50 to 450 people. His carols were introduced to Hollywood with “Come Dear Children,” in 1952. The first recording of all 15 of The Alfred Burt Carols was released by Warner Brothers in 1964, with the Voices of Jimmy Joyce, “This Is Christmas: A Complete Collection of the Alfred S. Burt Carols.”

The tracks were recorded during a three-day session in a 1963 Hollywood, Sept. 9, 10 and 11. Nominated for a Grammy in 1964 in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Performance, without a category for a cappella vocal music the work was placed in the instrumental category, losing to Henry Mancini’s “Pink Panther” theme.

It all started with some Christmas cards folks. While Alfred’s father burdened him with a task, it kept him looking ahead — what song to write this year?

The late Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “The world when seen through a little child’s eyes, greatly resembles paradise. Happiness is doing with a smile what you have to do anyway. This time, like all time, is a very good one if we but know what to do with it.”

Watching the forecast; and that is all.

News Editor Carolyn Harmon can be reached at or 252-410-7058.

News Editor Carolyn Harmon can be reached at or 252-410-7058.