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Features

  • Sitting here and seeing the wind move the now almost leafless trees brings back memories of past Christmas seasons and things that happened or were done to add a bit more spice to the holiday period. One such memory was our quest to gain or at best earn more liquid assets so that we might better enjoy the season’s offerings.

  • Only a few days ago the outside decorations were finished, the tree put up with all its trimmings, and presents all wrapped. It all made me feel dead tired, so I settled in for some Christmas Eve television viewing. The news program started with, “Donner and Blitzen have elected to take the early reindeer retirement package, triggering a good deal of concern about whether they will be replaced, and about other restructuring decisions at the North Pole.”

  • Every family has those traditions and days that help define their family. I personally know some families (although I shall not divulge any names unless there is enough cash offered) that are adequately defined by April 1.

    Christmas Eve clearly defines me. It means many things to me. For one, it means shopping. Yes, it is true, I do all my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. It cuts down on the stress. Some people spend weeks shopping and their life is full of stress.

    Personally, I focus all that stress of shopping into one 24-hour period.

  • If you participate in a 401(k), ESOP, or other qualified retirement plan that lets you invest in your employer’s stock, you need to know about net unrealized appreciation – a simple tax deferral opportunity with an unfortunately complicated name. When you receive a distribution from your employer’s retirement plan, the distribution is generally taxable to you at ordinary income tax rates.

  • They were a ragtag group of Jewish farmers led by an aged priest and religious leader. They had no training in warfare and their religion promoted peace.

    In the beginning of their struggle they refused to fight on the Sabbath, incurring many casualties as a result. They dared to take on the mightiest army of their day and for three years waged guerilla warfare against their foes, culminating in victory.

  • With Christmas less than a week away, shopping should be completed, decorations should be strung and blinking, and plans for the holiday finalized. However, there are always a few who wait for the last moment to buy those special gifts.

    Wander through our Punny Mall for some practical gift-giving advice.

    String Her Along

    A movie producer was telling a friend about giving his girl friend a string of pearls for Christmas.

    “Why,” said the friend, “don’t you give her something practical, like an automobile?”

  • While many are absorbed with the trifling news of the weakening economy, bailing out the all but defunct auto industry, and the emergence of a new Britney Spears, news that is more important is not being heard. Believe it or not, there are some things more important than these. At least to some people.

     The most troubling news of the day comes from the North Pole. In a few weeks, the jolly man from the North will make his visit. However, some difficulties may prevent his usual prompt appearance this year.

  • In an effort to help our country’s economy I spent Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, at the mall. Bargains abounded but not for anything useful to me.

    I wound up sitting on a bench watching the shoppers and realizing that people are interesting. They all have different personalities, characteristics, habits, and shapes.

    Stories about people and their experiences take us into today’s Pun Alley.

    Celebration

  • Get ready to have your picture taken and hung on the library’s tree. Last week, the Friends of Freedom Public Library and several volunteers erected it, checked all the lights and finished the decoration. All it needs now are photos of smiling faces to make this truly a community tree. Stop in with the kids and grandkids and ask the Reference Librarian to bring out the camera.

    Chicken Scratch

    Quilt Donation

  • Officially winter is still more than a week away, but we have had our share of abnormal low temperatures for quite a while now with no letup in sight. Perhaps when winter does get here we will have some warmer weather. Then, as Floridians, we can talk about how cold it’s been.

    Many of us were originally from somewhere in the North and can remember a parent or grandparent talking about how cold it was in the old days. They would say it was so cold:

  • Oak Run resident John Zaner is a career Computer systems Engineer and worked on the cutting edge of computer technology for the Department of Defense for more than two decades.  This, and his experience as an FAA licensed pilot, inspired him to write his first novel, Circle of Hope, which chronicles a journey into outer space by modern Noahs building intergalactic arks to save survivors of a doomed earth.

  • He rises up from the mist, a man-like creature formed from the soft clay earth, his birth attended by three learned sages whispering incantations from an ancient text. The creature has a parchment in its mouth, on it is written the ineffable name of God.

    This creature, a humanoid without a soul or personality, is ready to do work at his master’s bidding. The huge monster of a man with an uneven stiff-legged gait stands posed and ready, eager to wield his brute force when prompted.

  • It wasn’t so long ago that many investors regarded dividends as roughly the financial equivalent of a record turntable at a gathering of MP3 users – a throwback to an earlier era, irrelevant to the real action. But fast forward a few years and things look different.

  • Author Stewart O’Nan has sometimes been labeled “the bard of the working class.” And in this 146-page gem of a novel the hero is a 35-year-old manager of a Red Lobster restaurant tucked at the end of a hardscrabble mall. It is five days before Christmas and headquarters has determined that Manny De Leon’s place is not meeting the numbers and must close.

  • Now that Thanksgiving is over I can sigh a deep, well-deserved relief. Being thankful for everything is very hard work. During the Thanksgiving season, I pasted a gratuitous smile on my face claiming to be thankful for everything, but deep down inside somewhere there is a streak of rebellion that struggles with this concept of being thankful.

    I must admit that I am working on it because the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage keeps telling me, “You had better be working on that attitude of yours.”

  • I love fall and Thanksgiving. Here in our part of Florida the air is cooler, the nights have a bit of a nip in them and the trees along the turnpike have a bit of color around the tips. Pumpkin patches seem to pop up everywhere along the rural back roads and festivals and craft shows abound.

  • The Quilt Club raffles at the Cherrywood Craft Show will make the holidays brighter for two local charities. The quilt drawing produced $246 for the food pantry at Interfaith Emergency Services.

    The raffle table of quilted items made it possible to send $113 to Sheltering Arms.

    Democratic Club

  • Spruce Creek North has been without a reporter for a few years, so hopefully I can fill the job. First of all, where is Spruce Creek North?

    With all the “Spruce Creeks” in the area it is difficult to remember where each one is located.

    We, at Spruce Creek North, are bordered by Oak Run, Cherrywood and Marco Polo Village. Sounds to me like we are in very good company. Our main entrance is right off 103rd Street Road.

    Our community is basically small but we have many activities to keep us busy.

  • What a show! The Oasis did indeed become the USO …  and what a night it was. As mortar and gunfire played through the sound system, the Color Guard representing each branch of the service walked to their places on the stage.

    The audience arose as the stars and stripes entered and was carried slowly and alone to the stage, accompanied by Harry Chambers playing America the Beautiful on his keyboard. A rotating light of various colors had a glowing effect on the flag. Reverently everyone cited the Pledge of Allegiance. The stage then lit up with more than 600 lights.

  • On Nov. 9 the Military Club at Spruce Creek Preserve met to honor the veterans of all services, both men and women. We had in attendance 84, including our guest speaker and her spouse.

    We began our program with the following members of our honor guard presenting our country’s flag and the flags of the different branches of the service: John Mariani, Jim Jones, Pete Mavros, Mac Hendrix, Karl McKeivier, Wendy Vanloozenoord, and Bob Liotta. We all then joined in with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by Chaplain John Rando offering the opening prayer.