A Reason For The Season

Well, my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving has come and gone, with all it’s renewal of friendship, good food, card-playing, game watching, etc.    

Next comes one of my least favorite holidays. Yes, you know there is only one reason for the Season!

I know that to see the broad smile of a 6 year old, sizing up his first big “Santa” gift under the tree on Christmas morning is a beautiful thing of wonder.  

But with the constant TV, magazine, and newspaper ads for Christmas goods, all delivered prior to Thanksgiving gives me that “oh-humbug” feeling at times.   

Other than having children receive gifts for Christmas and Hanukkah, the rest of the world has gone crazy. As we are sometimes wont to do, we have taken what should be a glorious holiday to reflect our inner spiritual views, and commercialized them to death.           

My suggestion:  this is an excellent time to reduce most, but maybe not all gift giving, and consider volunteer work. 

You could help your local church with their current on-going projects. Or you could pick out any charity (like the local Food Harvest) and volunteer your time. Or you could pick out some senior widow or widower with a yard project or maybe just their front door needs a new coat of fresh, glossy paint. Or if you no longer possess the physical energy, consider a donation.         

I have always hired a local man, with some legal history, and in October of every year pre-paid him to snow-shovel a couple of times a year my back doorway and the front office sidewalk on East Washington Street in Ava. I always had him clear my neighbor’s walk-ways and entryways, two doors down to the SE corner of the Square. 

This year, October came and went and I noticed my trusty snow shoveler failed to appear. In fact, I had forgotten about his failure to appear until it snowed about an inch in mid- November. 

It was then that I realized that  everyone’s walk, including mine, would not be swept clean. I didn’t go to work either that day, rather enjoying the eagles soaring in the snow-lined valley, and the songbirds busily feeding off of my to porch railing. I had at one time 10-14 finches and over a dozen cardinals plus one ornery red-bellied woodpecker and a couple of bully jays   

So much to my dismay, after doing some very elementary investigation, I learned that my hired-hand became very ill this past spring and moved in with his sister in the Joplin area. She told me that her brother had recently passed and was sorry that she did not notify of his funeral. I am sorry also.   

Christmas Gifts for the “Kiddees”: 5-9 year old: How about a nice book on or about wildlife. For the older children (and others), consider gifting one of the great American classic works of outdoor fiction, Jack London’s “Call of the Wild”. 10-15 years old: a four power clear little rifle scope (don’t forget the rings and mounts); a new frog or fish gig, fishing lures; or new arrows or tips for the bow hunters.

For the younger, maybe a nice Coleman or Daisy BB gun; and fresh BBs. For the older, maybe a new .22 cal. Rifle or a .410 shotgun, and a box of ammo. 

I know it goes without saying; but make sure that absolute gun safety and ammo management is taught and  practiced before any firing commences. 

I remember as a junior Drill Instructor, based at Ft. ORD, Calif. in 1970, of finding live rounds in more than one M-16 rifle at the end of the day’s training after they were turned in by the trainees. And this was after all trainees were told to clear their guns and turn in all live ammo. 

I was later lectured by my very wise and true-lifer Senior DI, Sgt. Hernandez. He explained that a lot of 18 year-old draftees and a good portion of the enlisted 17 year-old enlistees, especially those from urban areas, had never seen a gun, let alone fired one. So next time, he said to not assume anything, and always be wary of firearms and trainees. He was dead on right. 

Sgt. Hernandez, whose hair was so short that it was unpinchable,  was also fond of telling me to start getting two haircuts every week instead of one. Hey come on, it was 1970 – and I wanted SOME hair on my head, more than a pinch.            

Note: A Time for Thanks 

I appreciate all of the Court staff that continue to put up with my sometimes dilatory ways, and my constant misspelling of common legal terms. 

I appreciate the “boys” who work with the Douglas County Road and Bridge Department. Let’s face it, we have a lot of miles of gravel roads, and almost all with a fair amount of slope. These men help keep the roads clear and sometimes driveways open. I sincerely hope that the new sales tax designed to maintain county roads and bridges, will make their job that much more fulfilling.

I especially appreciate the love and friendship of my family and close friends at this time of the year. And I feel sorry for those people that don’t receive that love and friendship, at any time of the year. 

I appreciate all of the local columnists who present their ideas weekly in this paper, as well as a couple of other literary interests that I write for.  

I appreciate my readers.  All authors desire to be read and heard. By the way, I had a lot of response to my three-part series “A Night of Terror In The Yukon”. Thanks.

Oh my, I can be long-winded at times!

And I appreciate the publisher-editor of the Douglas County Herald for allowing me to use up more than my fair share of ink and newsprint. 

And finally, another note of sympathy. I missed the recent passing of my one-time neighbor and a great husband, father and brother, Ike Rhodes. 

Besides being a shirt-tail kin relation to my children, Ike was a noted and accomplished auto re-builder. He was known for salvaging total wrecks, rebuilding them, and rescuing them with new body parts and a fresh coat of paint. Later in life, he became famous for the invention of new auto tools used in dentless repairs (hail, etc.).         

Now, get up and go enjoy our beautiful Ozarks outdoors!