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December 25, 2001
Treasure Island

By Peter Meinke

Along the beaches  sand lies blank as snow

on Christmas evening   Dying stars

fade in the foreign sky   While children go

to dream  of toys beneath the tree  guitars

and gimmickry  white boxes and red ribbons

we wonder what this Christmas day will bring:

not likely that our sins will be forgiven

not likely that we’ll hear the angels sing

Nor was there snow in Bethlehem that night

but sand  like snow  shifted beneath the bright

star guiding kings across the desert drifts

So goes the tale  and even if they crossed

in someone’s dream and then got lost

we have our children still  and we have gifts
The power of poetry

As many emotions collide within each of us this holiday season, the words of poet Peter Meinke, which appear above, provide a haven for reflection and perspective.

Carving music from spruce and maple   This violinmaker is a woodworker at heart -- and a music lover, painter and a bit of a dreamer. Story

[Times photo: Mike Pease]

Having a merry little Christmas
We decided to cancel Christmas this year. Well, maybe not cancel it, but prune it, simplify it. It has become too frantic. We struggle to think of gifts for each other. We ask for and give each other lists. We order poinsettias to be delivered to the West Coast family, and they do the same thing in reverse for us.

The fire is so delightful
Something about a fireplace makes a house a home. The same can be said about other accoutrements, but to me, fireplaces always have been special. The_power_of_poetry.shtml

Change for the good in new year
What better way to end one year and begin a promising new one than to resolve old conflicts and to replace negative habits with positive routines?

Share in the joy of the season
Let's have a show of hands. How many of you hate the commercialization of Christmas? If your hand is up, I have a few questions: Did you give everyone on your list hand-dipped candles that you made? Were you delighted to receive lumpy, sudsless, handmade soap wrapped in the funnies from your friends and family? How many fruitcakes did you make, and whom did you have the nerve to give them to? Have you been knitting this year's sweater gifts since last Dec. 26? Do your grandkids shriek with delight when they open the homemade wooden toy trucks with square wheels?

'I enjoy helping others in any way that I can'
Eighty-year-old Bea Armstrong was born in Britt, Ont., population 1,500.

For this volunteer, one agency isn't enough
Since 1992, Ray Crookshank has logged in more than 700 hours volunteering with the Retired and Senior Volunteer program, working with three different RSVP agencies.

Sweep sends danger of fire up chimney
BRANDON -- While reading several magazine and newspaper articles about the fire dangers presented by soot-filled chimneys, Larry Ivey wondered how people in sunny Florida could have such a problem.

Quilters win hearts
When a group of quilters started making adult bibs to protect patients' clothing, the items were not only prized; some of them won prizes for their stitchers.

Drive-in provided off-screen action
For years I have passed by and observed with nostalgia the abandoned old parking lot where our favorite drive-in theater once stood. Weeds have grown up through the cracked cement, and the fences are badly in need of repair.

Help with health insurance

Take a few moments to soothe the spirit
Happy Holidays! After all the packages are open and the bounteous feast consumed, there might be time to ponder on this year of 2001, now almost over. I don't think even Stanley Kubrick, who created the astonishing movie of that title, could have predicted how our world would change and deepen.  

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