Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Gift of Giving

By: Jaymie Leighton
From: Vintage Kitchen Mysteries
Title: No Mallets Intended
Pub. Date: November 4th, 2014
Web: http://www.vintagekitchenmysteries.com

I love everything about this time of year... the decorations, the lights, the smile on most people's faces, the parties and get togethers with both family and friends. It's hectic, sure, and all of my jobs seem to need extra time and effort this time of year, from subbing at the Emporium so the Klausners can spend more time with their grandchildren, to my work at the new Queensville Historic Manor. But still... I love giving gifts, and I kinda like getting gifts too, even the silly or dumb ones! ESPECIALLY those!

But a recent trip to my grandma's hit me hard. I was running to the grocery store to get a box of chocolates that she wanted to give to a friend of hers. Becca does so much for Grandma Leighton that I try to do some running around for her when I'm in London to see her. (London, Ontario, of course, not the other London ;-) )  The grocery store is just a few blocks from the downtown area, so it serves the urban population.

As I was coming out, I noticed a very elderly gentleman sitting on the cold sidewalk just beyond the grocery store's far wall. He held his hat out. It was frigid, and he wasn't dressed correctly, not nearly warm enough in my opinion. I scooped all the money I had with me out of my purse and headed over to him. I dropped it in his hat and said, "Hey, brother, how are you doing?"

He looked up, maybe surprised to be addressed, and nodded. "Okay," he said his voice dry and dusty sounding. I chatted with him for a moment and he said he lived at the Salvation Army hostel. They were good people, and made sure he had enough to eat and a warm place to sleep. He admitted the extra money he got from passers by helped him buy the little extras in life... including smokes.

We shook hands and I told him not to stay out too long, to make sure he took care of himself and got into the warm. He assured me he would, and he smiled, a grin that showed most of his teeth missing. I said I hoped he had a good Christmas, and he told me he looked forward to the turkey dinner - almost as good as the one his mama used to make - and warm socks he'd get at the mission.

I turned away to bustle off to my busy life with tears in my eyes. As I walked away a gentleman came over to him with a steaming cup of coffee, and I was grateful that I saw that happen. I'm pretty sure I'll remember the elderly gentleman sitting on the sidewalk long after he's forgotten me.

I don't talk about this much. When I do, people like Valetta's brother Brock will say how he's heard about panhandlers who drive away from their post in Mercedes, and beggars who are living it up and make more in a year than they do. Others say, with their mouths pinched up in distaste, that those kind of people will just use the money for booze or drugs. Or cigarettes.

Maybe. But maybe not. None of my business. I hope the money I gave that fellow helps, and if he buys cigarettes, I don't care. Maybe those cigarettes give him solace in loneliness. It's really easy to judge from the comfort of a warm home and all the food you need and family and... you catch my drift.

When it comes down to it, I really think I got more out of that interaction than the elderly fellow did. I hope I remember him through the rest of the year so that I am reminded, giving and the ability to give is the best gift of all. It has the capacity to make the giver feel warm inside, and what other gift can do that?

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to you all. And I ask this question... what gift, in the giving, makes YOU feel the best?






In the spirit of the season, and for our Season's Readings giveaway, I have a prize package of books and a book tote for one person who comments here! Today's contest is open to American and Canadian readers!

This pic is just one of the books with the tote... I will probably add in a couple of other books, and if you already have them, feel free to pass them along to someone you know who likes to read! And oh, by the way?

Cat not included.



~::~

Visit me at:

My Website: http://www.victoriahamiltonmysteries.com

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Twitter: @MysteryVictoria

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76 comments:

  1. No Mallets Intended sounds like a great book, and I look forward to reading it.
    I think the gift is one where it shows how much I care about the person. I enjoy seeing the individual's face light up with delight when the gift is opened.
    Please enter me in the contest: myrifraf(at)myway(dot)com
    Thank you

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  2. What a great excerpt, it show that the character has the Christmas spirit all the time. grammyd01 (at) comcast (dot) net

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  3. I work in a mental health facility and each year, employees are asked to provide gifts for the patients. These are just general gifts....you aren't buying for 1 or more specific patients. Things asked for are socks, underwear, mittens, shampoo/conditioner, bath gel, games, books, candy etc. It gives me great joy to provide some of the gifts which are given to each patient on Christmas Eve. dbahn@iw.net

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  4. Wonderful post. One gift I always enjoy giving is the perfect book. I like hearing later how I managed to find something the recipient really enjoyed and was new to them as well.

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  5. A beautiful post, and oh so true! My husband and I had decided not to "do" gifts this Christmas. Our kids are grown, they can afford everything they way, and easier than we. And giving each other something seemed so trite. Soon after this decision was made, I began feeling sadder and sadder about Christmas and everything connected with it. It lasted until one day I realized that I wasn't missing getting presents, but GIVING them. I was missing the anticipation of watching faces while they unwrapped their gifts, and I even missed going into town, braving the crowds, to find that perfect gift. Yes, it's the giving, not the receiving, that makes Christmas so special!

    Needless to say, there will be gifts for all. Merry Christmas to you! xo

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  6. What a beautiful post. That's what this whole time of year is about.

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  7. This story tugged at my Heartstrings. Beautifully written and so meanful, especially at this time of the year. I wasn't able to go out Christmas shopping this year, so my husband got all the gifts. I missed seeing the decorations and the excitement on everyone's faces as they shopped for the perfect gift. ruthmazur46@gmail.com

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  8. Right now we are contemplating which groups to send some money to for a Christmas gift. There are so many that can use help! And my husband just spent a few weeks helping out at a mission, doing maintenance projects.

    ElaineE246(at)msn(dot)com

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  9. One of my favorite series..... :)

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  10. I have a cat very similar. He became a resident in my house by accident. Came over for a pajama party and never went home.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

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  11. Lovely story. :) I work with children, and it warms my heart anytime they open a gift. Whether it be a holiday present or just a new toy. Seeing their little faces light up and get excited about the new toy makes me smile.

    I used to spend many hours (back when the family was smaller and my bank account was larger) shopping for the perfect Christmas gift for each of my family/friends. I guess it's somewhat selfish on my part, because I get to shop! lol But I always try to get each person that one thing I know they will love, but probably never thought about asking for.

    I've always enjoyed the giving part of it. I love the feeling when you make someone else a little happier. :)

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  12. I try to find a present that the recipient would really want but it's hard with my family. Everybody buys what they want when they see/want it so I don't have a lot of options. I miss not having a little one around to buy for.
    Bear said she is glad the kitty isn't included in the package. I'm not sure she knows what a cat is (Bear is a yorkie) but that was her opinion.
    thanks
    txmlhl@yahoo.com

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  13. I love this series. I hope I am lucky enough to win a prize. Thanks!
    agavigan@cox.net

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  14. What a nice story. The gifts I enjoy giving most this time of year are to animal shelters. I try to pick 2 of three of the small local ones to give to. I feel so for the animals left alone there on the holidays.
    Thanks for the contest. I'd love to win.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  15. I enjoy picking out gifts for people, and making them too. And yes, I love receiving gifts as well! I think what makes me happiest is when people love and appreciate the gifts I've crafted for them myself, whether it be a fabric book, bath salts, perfume, jewelry, or something else. I've given a part of myself and they welcome it!

    cozyupwithkathy @ gmail dot com

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  16. Loved your story. I do what I can every Christmas season donating to animal shelters and children's charities. I love delivering donations! lkleback@hotmail.com

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  17. I enjoyed the post, thank you. A gift you put a lot of thought into is the best kind of gift.

    Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

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  18. Merry Christmas! Thanks for the giveaway

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  19. I recently found you and your books. I love them and o glad I found them!!!Good luck to all!
    Oneponychick66@hotmail.com

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  20. Well, if the cat is not included....
    I still love the books and love swag

    wismomworks @gmail .com

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  21. Love this series. What a great prize.

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  22. I would love to win this one! Thanks for the opportunity
    Kim
    Kjohnson952@yahoo.com

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  23. I usually don't give because we have so many panhandlers in our area but there was one woman at a gas station recently and just in the was she asked for help...either a little money for gas to put in a gas can or to put gas in the can myself, I chose to give her a little. She said her car ran out of gas on the freeway. She seemed truly in distress. A little out of my nearly empty pockets may help her out. I hope it did. I'd love to read your book.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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  24. It would be nice to get the cat goo, but t's probably good not included - Pep wouldn't be too happy!

    I am most pleased when I give someone a small gift that results in a great big smile. It's hard, as you say, to know when and what to give to random strangers. I usually give to organizations rather than individuals but my husband will often stop and try to help someone - a meal or gas or buy something they need first before money, but as he says, even if it turns out it was a scam, we won't miss one Starbucks or fast food meal and maybe that person really was in need.

    Thanks for the giveaway.
    sallycootie@gmail.com

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  25. I like to give out handmade coupon books for things such as a free weekend of pet sitting, a free lawn cut, a drive to the grocery store, etc. That way, people can redeem the "coupons" for things they actually want and makes me feel good doing something for them!

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  26. Each year I enjoy making a special ornament to gift to my family and friends. That way each year when they put up their tree they can think of the special memories as they put them on their tree. robeader53@yahoo.com

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  27. I'm waiting patiently to read this one. I"m always telling my kids and now my grandchildren that it is better to give than to receive. One of the things I try and do for each member of the family is find something special for them that they will be able to keep forever, well after I'm gone.

    Thank you for the chance to win a copy of this book. I do enjoy reading her books

    jillybeans41 at gmail dot come

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  28. I like to try and find that gift that is perfect for the person but something that they wouldn't think about ever getting, and I love the look of surprise when they open the gift.
    momzillasteel@gmail.com

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  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  30. It isn't just the giving of the money, but addressing him as the human being he is, rather than ignoring him as a piece of trash.
    libbdodd at comcast dot net

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  31. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It always hurts me deeply to see anyone down on their luck, and it's always nice to do something to make them a little happier.

    I love giving a gift that is unique just for the person you're giving it too. Something that will bring back memories of a special time in their life.

    irbratb(@)gmail(.)com

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  32. I love giving gifts that make people smile. Thank you for the chance to win this book. It's the only one I'm missing in the series.
    Dnrocker@yahoo.com

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  33. Thank you for this giveaway! Merry Christmas! Your cat is beautiful! areewekidding@yahoo.com

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  34. I was listening to a podcast about how people should be more nurturing to themselves, and many aren't able to give to themselves this quality. So, that is what I will be thinking of this Christmas season. Thanks for the chance to win this giveaway. monstercreed@yahoo.com.

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  35. Nothing makes me happier than to see someones joy at a gift I give, Its better than anything I could receive my self ! Especially my grandkids, I can't spoil them enough :) kathambre@yahoo.com

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  36. Thank you for sharing. Your cat is beautiful. Thank you for the chance! angelhwk68@yahoo.com

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  37. Thank you for a chance to win! I just love giving gifts at Christmas. It does not matter what gift or to whom. It is such a good time of year. People are usually smiling and are nicer. The lights and decorations are so festive. Happy Holidays! Kris Anderson Doodlesink@hotmail.com

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  38. Nothing makes me happier than my grandchildren. I do not get to see them enough since we moved away.
    a.connolley@gmail.com

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  39. My Son doesn't ask for gifts...her just wants to make sure his kids get that special something they really really want...it makes it so much meaningful to find that special gift just for him!

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  40. I love Christmas and the wonderful spirit that emerges at this time of year. I do try and keep that save spirit all year long.

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  41. I would like to be able to contribute to my favorite charities.

    kaye.killgore@comcast.net

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  42. I think one of the best gifts you can give this time of year is an honest thank you to the retail workers who are working horrible hours for probably not enough money. Everyone deserves respect and this is a good time of year to actively practice that.

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  43. My grandchildren make this season a delight and memorable. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  44. My family and I have a number of people to shop for who create detailed wish lists. The gifts that bring the greatest joy to me are truly the ones where I feel like I am giving them something as opposed to just doing their shopping. Some of the members of my family ask for and appreciate getting wish lists as they want to buy gifts that the recipient really wants,however I get the most joy in giving when I use my love, my creativity, and what I know of the individual to buy or make something really special. Yes, the wish lists have their place (even in my shopping), but my joy as the giver is greater when I was able to come up with a special gift idea on my own.

    Merry Christmas and thanks for the chance to win! kristin409 at comcast dot net

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  45. Each individual receives a unique and creative gift which I hope is appreciated and loved. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  46. Sounds like a really nice series ... dcgirl919@hotmail.com

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  47. I remember once taking 3 buses home from my job and stopping at the corner grocery store on the way home. We weren't well of, but had a roof over our heads and food in the fridge. There was a young (well, younger than me) woman ahead of me in the checkout line with three little ones in diapers in the cart with a few groceries. They wanted something near the checkout and she told them they couldn't get it that day. I asked if she would allow me to get one for each of them. She accepted and was grateful. But the best was the look on the kids' faces! Worth SO much more than the few dollars out of my pocket. luann(dot)braley(at)gmail(dot)com

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  48. Happy Holidays :)
    I enjoyed the excerpt.
    I do enjoy giving to others. I just wish I had more time and money to give more ;)
    Lori
    lorih824 at yahoo dot com

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  49. Love cozy mystery. Great giveaway.

    xzjh04@ Gmail.com

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  50. Thanks for the excerpt, No Mallets Intended sounds intriguing, a great read! My favorite gift to give is a handmade one: greeting cards, biscotti, soap, candles, quilts, soup - all are fun to make and give.

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  51. Vera Wilson said: Always have some special projects going this time of year (a family in need of extras for the holidays for their children). I would rather give than receive. Merry Christmas.

    snoopysnop1 at yahoo dot com

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  52. The gifts I feel the best giving truthfully are my time and effort. Certain things that I've seen while I was giving my time and effort over the years have made more of a lasting impression than some of the gifts that I've been given or gave myself. One example happened a few years ago when I was volunteering at the booth for the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program. Near the end of my shift there, an older gentleman came up and decided he was going to provide Christmas for some kids. He looked over the kids that still needed to be provided for and then chose to help a family with ten kids. That this man was by himself and willing to help that many, all I could think was that I was glad that I was there to witness his generosity,

    robbfan141729@yahoo.com

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  53. The best Christmas gift given one year was not by me, but my niece Janet. She had given the young ones, my grandchildren, a card with a note stating that she had donated two mosquito nets for other children, in their names...two nets per child. Later at church our minister asked the youngest two what they got for Christmas, and with great excitement they told him all about the mosquito nets that 'they' gave. Not a word about what else they got. I was very proud of all of them.
    I'd love to enter the contest, and thank you for your generosity. God bless.

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  54. Darn.... no cat.

    I love giving books, handmade goodies for every occasion (baby blankies and cross-stitch murals for newborns, home made soup when you are sick, casseroles for everything, holiday cookies, soap, rumtopf, lipbalm, scarves...), and themes... everything monkey for my niece...

    lavendersbluegreen@yahoo.com

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  55. Merry Christmas and thanks for the giveaway!!! I love reading your books!!!
    Lisa
    hseaside5@aim.com

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  56. So, no cat included, eh? I guess that's OK as long as I get in the contest. thanks.

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  57. The gift that makes me feel the best is to find out what someone needs and give it to them. IF I can...it might be family it might be a Stranger. Small things go a long way... Christmas is about love and cheer...
    Marilyn Watson
    ewatvess@yahoo.com

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  58. Both prizes look great. Cat would be great too.
    Thereadmaster@me.com

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  59. I give to animal shelters & rescue groups throughout the year; but, I try to expand that giving during the holidays. I used to deliver baked goods to the staff at vet clinics at this time of year, bu my health prevents that. So I donate a bit more in monetary donations. I also enjoy participating in the Angel tree project for local families.
    It is a beautiful cat. The bag of books would be a wonderful early gift. I pass my books on to library after I've read them.

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    1. Email doesn't show in previous posting.

      Tennisace50(@)yahoo(dot)com

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  60. Gift giving is hard for me. I have never had many gifts in my life so I do not know how to receive them well and have given gifts that were not well received. My Brother and his wife tortured me for years in front of everyone with joke gifts that ridiculed me. So now I prefer to give to charity. My favorite gift to give is supplies to our local animal shelter. I love to go out and buy cases of cat food, brushes, toys and blankets, then deliver it knowing that each one will be put to good use for a kitty that is going without otherwise. This year I noticed they have a lot of elderly cats, so I delivered a case of special food for kidney patient cats along with several blankets, towels and cat accessories. I love knowing that the elderly kidney patient cats will have food to help them feel better. I like picking up pet beds on sale and delivering them to the shelter before the cold weather. I also find giving to our food bank very gratifying. I spend what I would normally on gifts, filling a barrel knowing that others will be receiving much needed food. After all is it not better to give then to receive! Merry Christmas.

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    1. Lexie... Tho' you weren't the big winner today, I'd love to send you a book. Can you email me? victoria (at) victoriahamiltonmysteries.com

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  61. I always enjoy surprising people with gifts. My sister and I have gotten very good at surprising our parents.
    One year my mom said all she wanted for a gift was a visit. I had to lie and say I could not make it but I already made plans to visit and stay with my sister. I than called my Mom and said how sorry I was I could not visit while sneaking up on her. Fortunately she has a strong heart. One of the best gifts ever.

    gibsonbk@hiwaay.net

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  62. We always try to give homemade gifts. This year everyone is getting microwaveable heating pads and that is honing my very sparse sewing skills. I usually crochet a scarf or knit (on the cheater loom) a hat. As for purchased presents, I love to gift books. This year I asked my husband to build me a Little Free Library for the front yard. I'm excited to share books with the neighborhood.

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  63. I'm one of those always on the lookout for gifts - holiday shopping is year round for me. It's always fun to find something and say - oh, that is perfect for............ wrap it and put it away. Of course I have to keep lists so that I don't double purchase or forget anyone! cheers@marjimmanor.com

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  64. The most difficult and the most rewarding gift that I give each Christmas is to my brother. He is 59 and is severely autistic. I always get him something on-line. I get him regular stuff like cologne (which he loves) clothes, something to eat but I always try to get him something special. It is very challenging but I always try. One gift that really made a hit with him is a life sized wall sticker of a tree and a cat. He loves cats so much. He is not allowed to have one in the group home and it broke his heart when they took his cat away from him. But now he has a picture of a cat that everyone comes by to see and he is on top of the world for a while.

    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

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  65. what a great story, there are some that go out and panhandle just to make extra cash but there are people down on their luck and I feel good about myself if I can help them in some way. I look at it this way, I never know when I will be down on my luck and need someone to help me in some little way. Even a smile can brighten a day. :) darholley1@aol.com

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  66. When I'm able, I like to make lap blankets to take to nursing homes to give for Christmas gifts for those who don't have family or are not getting anything. Just so they have something soft and warm.

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  67. I like the comment under the picture: cat not included. I have five cats.
    catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

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  68. OOh I love book bags, and of course new books!! I work with Salem Harvest in the summer and fall, and do a winter food drive for the Marion Polk Foodshare through my office. We just donated $780 last Friday!

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  69. Ahh the cat would have been the best part. ;-) lady.janel@hotmail.com

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