A very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays or Happy whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year! Today is December 25, Christmas Day (although I’m writing this the week before so bear with me!), a special time of the year for spending time with family and friends, gift giving, and giving thanks for the many blessings of the past year.
For the past several years, it’s become a tradition in our household to ring bells for the Salvation Army, this year it was seven 2 hour shifts. Not only does it help to raise money for those in need of food and shelter but it gives us the opportunity to do a small part to help others. Giving donations is easy, it’s harder part to give time to stand for two hours, ring those bells and do your best to encourage people to open their wallets, to lighten their load of loose change or some of that folding money. Every once in a while, someone will stop and share that they or a family member have been helped during a time of need by the Salvation Army. And just a few times over the years, a grumpy person has muttered “bah humbug” as they charge pass the kettle.
A couple of stories from this year’s ringing adventures. The other day, I was ringing bells at the local mall, a little girl in a pink tutu asked me why I was ringing the bell and I answered “so people put money in the kettle.” She then asked the followup question “why do they put money in the kettle?” My response “so people who are hungry can get something to eat.” And she said “ok then” smiled and walked away. Just enough of an explanation to satisfy her curiosity! Later on, I saw an very elderly couple slowly walk into the mall and take a seat on a nearby bench. After about 45 minutes or so, they walked past the kettle and told me they had given a donation at Walgreens the day before. I thanked them for their donation and they proceeded to chat with me about their time in the mall. You see, they came not to shop or eat but to people watch. They told me they talked with some people from their home town who knew someone one they knew. They told me how much fun they had and then proceeded to shuffle out the door to their car. What a delightful couple and inspiration for us aging baby boomers!
One more story before getting on with the photos. Last week, I volunteered to take photos at the First Tee of South Central Wisconsin Champions4Kids Gala. The First Tee is an international youth development organization that introduces kids to a set of core values through the game of golf. South Central Wisconsin is fortunate to have four nationally recognized golf champions who give of their time to help kids. At this event, they helped to raise $225,000 to support the cause. Here’s a photo of the champions, a big thanks to them and all who attended.
Now on to the photos. So sit back, relax and enjoy the show! No commentary except in the photo titles.
Next week will feature part 2 of reflection of 2016.
Until then take care and travel safe,