"Check Your List"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday,December 16, 2017

The last chance has arrived for all those procrastinators and people who like to wait for the really big sales sure to come as the final days before Christmas wind down.

You need to check your list to see if you found gifts for everyone. And check it once again. Did you remember the new family additions? Think back, did the year begin with a new baby’s arrival like mine did? Were there any weddings that would add a new member to the family?

As you review the year, do you remember all the fun you had at a friend’s cottage? Did you make new friends? I know sending Christmas cards are a tradition of the past. Spending a few minutes to send out a personal greeting could make the receiver's day. Pat and I always enjoy receiving greeting cards, especially from people we have not seen in a long while.

I know cards are expensive and postage costs almost as much as a card, but some stores offer them for less or you can buy them in boxes of 25. For those you may have lost touch with, an E-card just doesn’t reach their hearts. It shows you are thinking of them and they happily read it, but it’s not the same. Pat saves her Christmas cards from year to year in a big bag. She will drag it out, and reminisce down memory lane with folks from the past.

As you leave a shop or even your grocery store, do you see a big red pot with a person ringing a bell? Do you have a buck or two you can spare? You could make someone’s Christmas special with a dinner or warm clothes in a cold climate. Maybe a pair of socks without extra holes to keep their feet warm. Even if all you can give is a little change, it may buy a cup of hot chocolate that would warm a body and perhaps a heart.

Many people lost all their belongings to the past storms. Harvey, Irma and Maria victims will be shopping at the Salvation Army locations throughout the country. They will be able to purchase clothes, furniture, housewares and many other items to set up a new place to live.

You may have heard news reports about a person who picked up an envelope in a mall and when they opened it, they found a $100 bill. A note inside said, “Merry Christmas, keep the bill and the envelope. Perhaps someday you’ll have a little extra cash you can slip into the envelope and make someone extra happy.”

If you are adding a new pet to your family this Christmas, be cautious with the introduction. The animal might not be ready to meet too many new people and may not wish to accept petting or rough playing. Speaking of pets, don’t forget them on your shopping list. Do they have a coat to go walking with you in the cold? A new toy or biscuits would be great, just be careful putting them under the tree too soon. One of our family dogs delighted in opening everyone’s presents searching for hers. Christmas morning was a big surprise with gifts strewn all over. The dog found her biscuits plus some chocolate that got smeared all over and gave her a tummy ache.

I recall when I was growing up in Detroit, a crabby old couple lived next door. On Christmas Eve one year, there was a big snow fall. My dad and I put on our heavy coats and boots and went out to shovel the driveway and sidewalk. We also cleaned off the neighbor’s walkway and after that whenever we saw them they gave us a cheery greeting. So much for crabby — a little kindness cures a lot.

Later in life, I lived in Port Austin and became a member of a group called the “Good Fellows.”

We sold papers on the main crossroads during the holidays to raise money for those less fortunate in the community. Town business owners helped us put together boxes of food and other goodies to deliver Christmas Eve.

My partner, Tony Fisher, and I delivered to the same stops every year. One person we visited was an elderly lady named Mary who lived alone in a small home. I think she used to watch for us because when we started up the walkway to her front door, she would open it singing, “Here comes Santa Claus.”

After we set her box on a table, she would give each of us a candy cane and a hug. Tony and Mary passed away several years ago, but I think of them each Christmas eve with great fondness.

I’m also thinking of all of my readers this year and hope you are just about ready for Jolly St. Nick’s visit.

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