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The Cold Finger of Christmas


Sun, Dec 24th, 2000
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Monday, December 18, 2000

One afternoon, when our youngest son was even younger, he came in from playing in the snow. He tugged off his snow armor, creating small snowdrifts on the floor as he did so. He kicked his boots into a corner and walked away from the pile of clothes, completely oblivious to the mess he had just made. He approached me and said, "You know what, Dad? When my hands are cold and I put my finger in my ear, it makes me think of Christmas."

As is so often the case when dealing with this child, I didnít know what to say. I couldnít say that I had ever noticed the same effect. But, after thinking about it for a while, I decided that there are things that make me think of Christmas and sometimes Christmas makes me think of other things. It is most likely that one memory triggers another until they are all mixed up. Trying to figure out which ones are Christmas-related and which are simply winter-related is not easy.

For me, the first snowfall of the season is a special memory-triggering event. It has to be a specific kind of snowfall, a snowfall that occurs when the ground is still bare. The flakes come floating slowly down. They come from a cold, gray afternoon sky, dropping silently, as big as quarters, but light as feathers. They are the kind of snowflakes that a kid would try to catch on his tongue. I recall doing this in the late 1950s, when I was very young. I was catching snowflakes on my tongue when a responsible adult, or maybe one of my brothers, warned me that the snowflakes were radioactive and that if I didnít quit eating snowflakes I would get "radioactivity" and die. Well, that took the fun out of that. I did not stop to consider that my success rate at catching snowflakes was so low that I would likely have frozen stiff long before I had consumed enough fallout to do me any harm. I quit trying to eat snowflakes and started worrying that I had eaten too many already.

The "Cold Finger of Christmas" also reminds me that at some point I am going to have to do my Christmas shopping. I am, generally speaking, not a good shopper. I like to think of myself as a generous person, but choosing meaningful gifts for my loved ones seems to be a monumental task. I have my better days at shopping, but Yuletide is not one of them. I tend to freeze up when I go into stores. My mind goes even more blank than normal. I forget why I came into the store and invariably walk out with something unfit for proper gift giv .....
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Morning meditations

Sun, Dec 24th, 2000
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Monday, December 25, 2000

The windmill stands tall in the farm yard, the remnants of last yearís morning glories still clinging to its iron works

The windmill is the first thing I see when I leave the house in the morning. On some mor ..... 
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Sun, Dec 24th, 2000
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Sun, Dec 24th, 2000
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Sun, Dec 24th, 2000
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Sun, Dec 24th, 2000
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Monday, December 25, 2000

Sun, Dec 24th, 2000
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To the Editor,

Some weeks ago I wrote an article for your paper depicting an encounter one of our local citizens had with a Jackelope - along with a photo of the critter. Your naturalist writer, one John P. Levell, took me to task as ..... 
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Dorothy Willmarth

Sun, Dec 24th, 2000
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Dorothy Willmarth, 85, a retired Spring Valley High School custodian, died Tuesday, November 28, 2000, in Maple Manor Nursing Home.

Dorothy Denny was born December 1, 1914, in Minneapolis. She married Hugh Willmarth in Spring Valley on Novem ..... 
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Bruce A. Skarstad

Sun, Dec 24th, 2000
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Bruce Skarstad, 81, of Arleta, CA, formerly of Peterson, died at his home November 23, 2000.

He was born July 22, 1919, in Peterson, to Dr. N.A. and Bertha (Thompson) Skarstad. He was a Rushford High School graduate, a WW II U.S. Army veteran ..... 
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