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Enjoying the start of the holidays

November 24, 2012
By SUMMER WALLACE-MINGER - Community editor ( , Weirton Daily Times

It's been an interesting week. The children and I joined the folks down at the Salvation Army to pack boxes for the Thanksgiving distribution. Can I tell you how awesome it was to see so many people there? Dozens and dozens of people coming out to help others, and a bunch of people I recognized from the community. It was a really good vibe, and I'm glad the children were there to see and participate in it.

We also rang the bell with former city reporter Angelina over the weekend. (She's happily entrenched at Weirton Transit now - "the best thing that ever happened to me" - but still spending time out and about in the community, so say hi if you see her.) It was the typical bell-ringing for us - Sainted Child couldn't work the bell right, even when the captain tried explaining it to her ("The first rule of bell-ringing is you don't touch the actual bell"). Angelina at one point had to physically restrain me from snatching the bell and demonstrating the proper technique. However, we didn't lose the clapper once, so I consider it an improvement.

The Little Professor was struck with a Sahara-like thirst as soon as we arrived, and his frequent requests for a "drink break" occasionally drowned out the bickering between myself and Sainted Child, who was sassier than usual. ("She gets it from her mother," Angelina said.) She may have been showing off for Angelina, who also is extraordinarily sassy (and who doesn't have a column in which she can refute her sassiness).

It was while we were ringing the bell that I realized the Sainted Child was wearing eye makeup, which promptly sent me into a flight of hysterics, because 1) she was wearing makeup, 2) she didn't ask me for help or guidance in the application process, so 3) it was clumpy and smeary and 4) she was wearing makeup. She explained her cousin, the Heathenish, was upset she hadn't worn the makeup my sister, Foo-Dog, gave her for her birthday. (Thanks soooo much, Foo.) He felt his birthday present was being rejected, so she had to wear it to make him feel better (was how it was explained to me).

She wanted to play some Christmas carols on her trumpet while we rang, as she believed this would actually draw donors instead of driving them away, but, for some reason, she couldn't make a single sound on it. I took it apart and peered into the convoluted depths, but I couldn't identify any foreign objects or mice that had wedged themselves into the instrument. Everything seemed to be in working order - all the parts that moved, moved, and those that didn't, didn't. It was all very mysterious. I am still not 100 percent convinced it wasn't divine providence. Whatever it was, I hope it resolves itself by the Weirton Christmas parade Saturday.

We also went on a hike with the Boy Scouts, and I am still trying to figure out why, if the boys wanted to hike, I as a mother was expected to tromp through the woods. I don't do camping, and I don't do hiking. If God wanted me to be out in the woods, battling snakes and bears, he wouldn't have allowed Starbuck's to be invented.

I was told it was a "fairly easy" hike of about a mile. Lies, all lies - firstly, it was a mile one way. That's two miles. Even my math skills can determine that fairly quickly. Secondly, easy? Ha! There were roots, rocks, downed trees and fallen leaves everywhere! And there were hills! I was especially suspicious of the downed trees, as they seemed to be prime snake territory. I had no doubt legions of legless terrors were lying in wait beneath them. I had nothing with which to protect myself.

"Next time," I told the Long Suffering Husband, "I am bringing a machete."

"For the brush?"

"No, for the bears, since you obviously don't care if one of them leaps out from behind a tree and devours me."

"It'd be an awfully small bear to hide behind one of these trees."

I also was concerned that a large bird of prey - perhaps a golden eagle, they're huge, look them up - might swoop down and pick off one of the smaller children. No one else seemed to be concerned about this; it's puzzling.

After approximately forever, we narrowly avoided certain death by snake or bear and fought free of the woods, where some of the other (smarter) mothers were waiting with cookies and juice.

Next time, I'm on juice duty.

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