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I guess I am drawn to stories about angels. I can’t let the Christmas season pass without the mention of all the angels we have as friends and neighbors in Owen County.
You see every year the community angel tree is started around Thanksgiving. This year was no different. Nicole here at the office wanted to, “Put the tree up,” and me saying, “It’s too early.” We did prepare our spot in the office and decorated our tree and waited for the girls at the extension office to bring our angels to hang on it.
For those who are not familiar with the angel tree, it consists of a single wish from children of our community. Not Star Wars toys, not a new game for their Xbox 360, not a fancy new IPod, or even a pair of fur boots. These wishes are simple and sweet. A new flannel shirt, an Owen County hoodie, a baby doll, and sometimes just a size medium top.
These angels hung on our proud 6-foot tree with the lights twinkling and we were ready for the season. Just like clockwork, folks dropped in to retrieve their angel. Lots of moms came with their kids to help pick out just the right angel to buy for. I must admit the angels were going sort of slow. We had the couple who comes in every year, a husband and wife, big smiles and anxious to pick several angels. We had the folks from other offices in town, the WMUs, the church representatives from an adult Sunday school class – they all came. But still we had lots of angels left.
Now if you have ever been in our office you know that the tree sits up front, and every day I would look at all of the children’s wishes hanging there. Wondering how we would take care of all the needs, John decided to write a column about the tree. At the same time, the extension service folks called and said they needed to place more angels on the tree. Oh boy. We still had so many left. But this is where my story gets to the feeling of Christmas.
Because of John’s story, we started to get calls. We had more and more come in and pick from our tree. Until last Friday, we still didn’t know if we were going to make it – you see it was the last weekend to shop before they were due back. But then it all fell in place. David says I worry about things, but I tell him I just need to process information so things will go smoothly. So after I processed the fact that for the first year we might have angels left on the tree, I made some calls.
You know you live in a good community when you need help and you get overwhelmed with it. Without naming names, I would like to thank the following Santas: The offices that skipped the office party and gag gift; The employee – from a place where they had already sponsored a family – who called and said I’ll take one; To the nice lady I met from Dry Ridge who called and said save me a couple of names, I am going to give a gift in my California friend’s name – this is what we like to do for each other. I can’t forget the restaurant owner who came in and cleaned the tree when we were down to three hanging alone.
I also want to thank the soccer coach who works out of town and heard about the tree. She said, “We’ll take all you have left.” She did. She and her coworkers took seven, and would have taken more if we had needed.
We say “thank you” to all these secret Santa’s. But you know I think one of the neatest things about the end of the angels each year is all the gifts that pile up and how we get excited thinking about all the kids’ faces when they arrive. I also love the people who walk by and then back up and come in and make sure that all angels are gone (they probably process things, too).
So next year if you want a real good “warm and fuzzy” Christmas feeling, come in early and join the excitement of giving for the season.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.
Sherry Lyons is the bookkeeper/circulation manager for the News-Herald.