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On the Road: Holiday Cheer

Christmas lights helped cheer up the Perry press bus
Photo by Ben Philpott for KUT News
Christmas lights helped cheer up the Perry press bus

The two weeks leading up to Christmas are usually filled with holiday parties and last minute shopping trips. But not if you’re on a bus far from home, trailing a presidential candidate through another state. 

There’s a pattern to followingGovernor Rick Perry in Iowa. Get on the bus, get off the bus, record a campaign speech, talk to voters, get back on the bus. And then do it all again -- 4 or 5 times a day. The schedule this last several days has kept reporters like me going non-stop. It's been easy to forget the rest of the country is knee deep in holiday parties. Only the occasional hotel lobby Christmas tree brings a taste of the season. CBS News/National Journal reporter Rebecca Kaplan has been along for the ride on Perry's bus and thought the ride needed a little help.

 “Well we were going to be on this bus for the days leading up to Christmas. And I thought you know what, why not add a little holiday cheer," Kaplan said.

Kaplan added was four long strings of Christmas lights to the inside of the press bus. She not only led the charge to get lights in the first place, she even taped them up around the bus. Kaplan is also Jewish and thanks to a mailed package from her mom will be adding something extra to her current bus decorations.

“I told her I couldn’t bring a regular menorah because most of the hotels don’t allow candles. And I didn’t want to be hit with a smoking fine," Kaplan said, "so she ordered me an LED menorah and that will be joining our holiday decorations on the 2nd leg of Perry’s bus tour.”

The lights have been a nice addition to the otherwise monotonous interior of a bus. But they've also been a constant reminder that we've all been away from home and unable to celebrate with family and friends. But I knew what to expect before I embarked on this trip. I had a great piece of advice for how to handle being away from my family from KUT’s Valerie Philips. Philips spent time on a Presidential campaign back in the 80’s.

“When you cover Presidential campaigns, you miss all the important dates. You miss anniversaries, birthdays and most importantly Christmas," Philips said, "in fact Presidential campaigns are why they invented jewelry.”

So on this trip, I made sure to find time to visit Tiffany’s web site. I hear from home that the little blue package arrived a couple of days ago and is already under the family tree.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
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