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Bell ringing can be hectic this year

It's easy in December to get too caught up in presents, cards, cookies and parties and blow off the true meaning of Advent and Christmas.

I'm not pointing fingers. I've done it too.

I have found one antidote to all that hectic activity is ringing the bell for the Salvation Army in front of the Grocery Store.

Two hours - no big deal, right?

When I first volunteered for my bell-ringing stint, I did it by myself. Two hours definitely gives you some time to think about giving and being thankful for all for the gifts I have in my life.

But it gets a little boring.

So as soon as my boys were old enough, I started bringing them along. Being kids, they want to have their friends along, so they really don't do much bell-ringing. But I think it's good to at least get them acquainted with the concept of volunteering even if they can't do it for two hours yet.

So I asked my friend if her son, my youngest guy's best friend, could join us this year, and she said yes, then said she would come along too.

Well that was fortunate, because right at the start of my shift, oldest son called and said he HAD to do homework and needed a ride from school.

So I abandoned my friend, threatened my kid with bodily harm if he didn't behave, and took off for 20 minutes to pick up-feed-drop off the other kid.

Got back and rang the bell.

Then my friend had to take off to pick up her kid from practice.

So it was definitely a split-shift experience, but we covered the kettle for the whole two hours.

It's always interesting to respond to people as they put their donations in. Usually we just say thank you, of course, but some people apologize if they can only put in a few coins.

No apologies needed.

And people thanked us for ringing the bell. That was nice, too.

If you'd like to volunteer for a two-hour shift, please call Carol Blatnick at 884-2884. She handles the schedule for the Grocery Store bell ringing. We used to ring bells in Ignacio too, but the gal who coordinated that effort has moved, and this year there is no Shur Valu. I hope that tradition could return next year, along with the new grocery store in Ignacio!

Merry Christmas, have a thoughtful and giving Advent season, and thank you for reading.