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Thursday, February 22, 2024

December Editor’s Notes

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With a song in my heart, my thoughts turn to all the times as a kid we went caroling from one neighbor’s front door to the next. Then a half century later, my daughter and I joined folks here aboard a bus to visit Hines VA Hospital where we sang songs of the season with accordion accompaniment to members of the military recovering in the spinal cord unit.

After a three-year pause, caroling to spread joy at Hines is back on Tues., Dec. 12. Organizers say everybody’s welcome to climb onboard the bus at 6:15PM in the VFW parking lot, 908 W. Jackson Ave. They plan to return by 9PM.

Update, Dec. 5, 2023, from Hines Visits Coordinator, John Shaw: John received a call today from Hines Spinal Cord Unit. They have an outbreak of COVID in both wards. They are currently in quarantine until at least Dec. 15. As a result, the visit is canceled for Dec. 12. John will arrange for the cards and gifts to be delivered to Hines before Christmas. Watch for the notice of visits returning on Jan. 9, 2024.

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Thanks to arrangements made by Hines Visits Coordinator John Shaw, for years folks have decked the halls with sounds of the season accompanied by Judge Don Hennessy. (PN File Photo, 2011)

Let us ramble on… If you have young children in your life, sing holiday songs with them. Perhaps go caroling. Mostly, however, talk with them. Read to them. Unplug your electronic devices when you’re with them. Connect. Play tic-tac-toe. Share riddles. Work a jigsaw puzzle. Teach checkers or chess. Simply give them the precious gifts of your time, attention and love every chance you have.

Recently, we went to see “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie” with our almost-six-year-old granddaughter down on Showplace Drive. On the way out of the movie theater, Mariko said, “Grandma, I wasn’t afraid of the meteor at all. Were you afraid?” And I wondered.

Skye and Chase, PAW Patrol characters, were portrayed by Mariko and pup Maki for Halloween. (Penick Family Photo)

Afterward, we visited Yogurt Beach, where visitors are welcome to create their own yogurt sundaes with toppings galore. Billed as a “10-minute vacation,” the experience down at English Rows, just south of 103 Street along Route 59, was a first for me. Mariko enjoyed creating her delicious concoction and another sweet memory for her grandparents.

The holidays especially are a time to focus on love, life and laughter while trying to find simple ways to create lasting memories throughout this season to be jolly.

And I thought of Aunt Ruthie. For dozens of years, my aunt has set up a “crafts table” at our Mitchell Family Thanksgiving reunions so everyone who wants to follow her instructions can create her always clever “Christmas ornament of the year.” Whenever we decorate our tree, that hand-crafted collection of cherished ornaments finds a wonderful way to remind us of my mother’s youngest sister who also still hosts the Mitchell Family Reunion every July in Wabash, Ind.

One memorable idea that doesn’t take the kind of preparation Aunt Ruthie devotes is to purchase holiday tins of butter cookies or shortbread and simply invite a youngster to help decorate them with buttercream frosting and colored sprinkles. You can crush candy canes with a meat mallet for toppings, too. No need to even bake!

Find comfort, joy and peace in memory of special people

You’ve likely recognized that throughout 2023, a large number of folks who shared their gifts of time, talents and treasures with others have passed. Dan Casey, Nancy Davis, Al DeGeeter, Dave Szablewski, Ann Kinney and Eleanor Preston are among the kind-hearted folks who touched many hearts, including mine, with their dedicated service and giving spirit.

As my thoughts turn to my mother and dad no longer with us during this most wonderful time of the year, I recall many Christmas Eve days that were precious times together; wrapping gifts for Dad’s business associates so he could deliver them just in the nick of time before my mother hosted her annual Christmas Eve gathering for friends and neighbors.

And I’m grateful to celebrate Mother and Dad with memories of the wit and wisdom they shared; and the faithful love for liberty they left for my two brothers, our families and me to pursue.

No matter what the season, our loved ones, present and in our hearts, are the best gifts to us. Enjoy the simple pleasures of the holidays in good health with peace. Life goes on. Celebrate safely.

– Stephanie Penick
PN Publisher

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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.

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