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Christmas Gift Suggestions

To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.

Oren Arnold

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“Where’s Pop”

Julie and I usually spend an hour or so of our Sunday evenings talking with our 4 grandchildren (ages 9, 7, 5, and 3), who live some 300 miles away. They usually call Nana and Pop around 7 pm. One at a time, they get on the phone and tell us whatever is on their mind, from what they want for Christmas, to what home improvement project they’re “helping” Dad with, to how many fish survived the week. They don’t always have a lot to say, and sometimes we have to pry, but we enjoy hearing from them and I now have reasonable proof that they would miss our little conversations. My daughter-in-law lost her mother about 6 months ago. That set of grandparents live abou 45 minutes away, so they see each other much more often. So our little weekly “tweets” are “treats” for all of us.

Last night I was attending an organ recital when they called. By the time I arrived home late in the evening, I’m sure the kids were in bed. Julie told me the kids had called. She said the first thing each of them said was “Where’s Pop?”. Evidently they were mostly satisfied with Julie’s explanation that “Pop went to an organ concert”. After all 4 kids were done, my son got on the phone and told his mother “Thomas wants to talk to you again. He has a concern.” So Thomas (5 years old) got back on the phone. “Nana,” he said. “Where is Pop?? ” with an urgency that seemed to demand a very detailed answer. “Thomas, Pop went to listen to a student play an organ.” She assured him that Pop would be home just about the time he got into bed. Julie was quick to pick up on the fact that Thomas was feeling the loss of his grandmother, probably asking his Mom, Dad, and Grandpa “Where’s Grandma? “.

I’m sure it’s very difficult for any of those kids to accept the reality that Grandma is no longer here in this world, but is in Heaven, with God. Hey! It’s difficult to accept that at ANY age. And it brings to my own mind that at some point they’ll be asking “Where’s Pop?” and “Where’s Nana?”

I think I’m going to call Thomas tonight and let him know I’m home. We’ll both sleep better tonight.

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Attached to the back of the house, near the center, is a double flood light fixture. The fixture hangs about 12′ above the ground, roughly equivalent to the area between the first and second floors. One of the bulbs burned out over 30 years ago. The other bulb lasted over 30 years. It finally burned out last week.

I can no longer lean the old extension ladder against the side of the house for fear of denting the new vinyl siding. And my 6′ step ladder isn’t quite long enough to reach the bulb without risking my life. So it’s off to Home Depot to buy an 8′ step ladder, which works perfectly. I remove both dead bulbs, note the wattage (which at 75 watts each seemed a bit much, and the probable cause for the initial failure). Back to Home Depot for  2 new bulbs – lesser wattage (don’s ask me how, but today 15 watts = 65!), more efficient, long-lasting, and about $10 each. Only one problem – the new techie bulbs have a thicker base, and will not fit into the fixture, which I don’t realize until I bring them home and try them. So, back to Home Depot for the third time. Found 2 bulbs that will fit, each one 55 watts but costing $30 each. BUT, guaranteed to last 4 years. Sounds fair until you consider that the one die-hard bulb that burned out last week had been there for OVER THIRTY years.

Our back yard is now properly illuminated, just in time for daylight savings time to end. And at the cost of only $90 for the new ladder, and $60 for the bulbs and about $20 in gas. Hopefully at least one of the bulbs will last for at least 4 years, at which time I may be able to retire and move to Alaska.

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