Please, give me a break

The reading public just chops my typing fingers off at the knuckles some weeks, you know? Just when I think I have a topic on which to expound, something with great heart and universal appeal, what happens? Nothing. Yup, just nothing. I thought for certain that by the past weekend I would have had a score of names of local men and women in active military service who would appreciate a holiday care package from the Peabody American Legion Auxiliary.

Wouldn’t you think that with the holidays approaching, an effort to remember our local soldiers would have struck some kind of note with the folks who know they are not coming home to be with family? Wouldn’t you?

My dad was just out of college with his bachelor’s degree and a year or so of teaching under his belt when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and he enlisted. He was a mere kid. Do I hope that someone sent him a care package between that first bloody Christmas and the one when he still was in Europe, but as a victor instead of a grunt in a foxhole? You bet I do. Actually, I know that my grandmother and my mom sent him packages and I know that he treasured them and shared them. Everyone was happy for contact from home and family, whether in fierce battle or the waning days of an occupation. They all wanted to be home. And I bet the same is true for our soldiers today.

So … why am I here begging for names and addresses of local soldiers to whom our American Legion Auxiliary can send a holiday care package? We are proud of your men and women, and we want to let them know that their hometown honors and respects their efforts on our behalf.

Please, let us honor your soldiers for their service with a holiday package from home. We have already had a healthy sum of money donated to pay the postage and we have Auxiliary members just waiting to shop! I went over this in the past edition of the paper. I am not hard to find. Get me their names and addresses!

*****

And, guess what? I have yet another preachy comment to pass along. No surprise there, huh?

Saturday is the day after “Black Friday,” the day when you are great if you go to the mall and/or the big box store and spend. If you are better than great, you will have stood in line (or camped) for hours outside of the store of your choice to be the third person through the doors early on Black Friday. Congratulations!

Saturday is Small Business Saturday. This is the day when we all need to shop locally or area-wide for those things that the malls and big box stores cannot provide for us. This is your chance to support those businesses that support your daughter’s Girl Scout troop, donate to school teams and clubs, provide refreshments for the library fund raiser, or pay for advertising for the senior center or church soup supper.

You know those people — they are your hometown and area merchants. Yes, you do need to choose your local businesses as part of your holiday shopping plan. Buy local products for whomever you can and send them as far afield as you can. The money you spend here tends to stay here. Much of the money you spend at Wal-Mart goes far away and doesn’t return.

Think outside the box. Spend your Small Business Saturday looking at the products carried by your local and area businesses. Be creative with your giving. Make your packages represent the community where you live and raise your family. If we aren’t proud of us and what we have, who will be?

— SUSAN MARSHALL

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