Tired of standing in long lines? Frustrated at being unable to find The Perfect Gift for that Special Someone? Had enough of snarled traffic and snarling shoppers?
Gwen and Rufus Hixon have a solution to your gift-getting and gift-giving dilemna.
A couple of weeks ago, the retired Appling couple read in The News-Times that City Council member Marjorie Adams and the city of Grovetown were collecting items to send to soldiers serving overseas.
The Hixon family, which also includes Dr. and Mrs. Les Hixon of Baton Rouge, La., Dr. and Mrs. Allan Hixon of Athens, Ga., and Allison Malarkey in Evans, traditionally get together each Christmas, like most families, to exchange presents and enjoy each other's company.
This year, Gwen said, she and her husband thought they'd do something different. Rather than join the frustrating hunt for gifts for the adults in the family, they suggested instead that each donate their allotted amount -- $50 per adult -- for Grovetown's effort.
The other family members readily agreed.
"That's what Christmas is all about," Gwen says. "We're very thankful all of these guys are serving where they are. I'm sorry they're not with their families for Christmas."
Thanks to kind folks like the Hixons, some of those soldiers at least will be able to contact their families for the holidays.
Adams points out that the Hixon family's $350 donation, along with other donations received in the effort, has enabled her to purchase 12,600 minutes of AT&T telephone calling cards. That's in addition to all the toiletries and other items generous people in our community have donated to the effort.
It all really matters, too. Just this past week, Adams excitedly read a card she'd received from a soldier serving in Sadr City near Baghdad. A Sgt. Vanderpool was writing a simple note just to tell the folks back home how much he and his troops appreciated the kindness.
"I'm so happy to hear from him I don't know what to do," Adams says. "A million dollars wouldn't have affected me the way this has. This little card is really something special."
So, you still think another soon-to-be-regifted doo-dad for the person who has everything really is the best way to spend your money this Christmas? Do you really believe the paper and ribbons and bows can create something as precious as enabling a soldier to talk to his girl back home, or to have a clean pair of socks?
Marjorie Adams and the folks in Grovetown, the most patriotic community on the planet, have a different idea. And the Hixons, surely one of the happiest families this Christmas, would agree.
It's not too late to do likewise. Remember: These donations aren't only for Christmas. Our soldiers will be stationed overseas long after we've dumped the last of the torn-up wrapping paper in the trash, so these collections will continue after the holidays are over.
Money is the best thing to donate, but Adams also is asking for blankets, brown T-shirts, cotton underwear and boot-length socks, toiletries, magazines, lip balm, hard candy and other items. If you're in doubt about what to give, just call the city at 863-4576, and they'll be happy to help.
Donations can be dropped off during office hours at Grovetown City Hall, 103 Robinson Ave. -- that's the main street running through town -- or after hours just across the tracks and down the street at the Public Safety Department.
Not all the soldiers can be home for Christmas, but with help from Mrs. Adams and folks like the Hixons, maybe a little bit of home can go to them.
Please remember the troops. And have a merry Christmas.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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