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People show true colors when ground turns white

Dear Shirley, You can tell a lot about people by the way they react to the first snowfall of the season. The optimists among us greet the snow with joy and talk of snowmobiles and cross-country skiing this week. The pessimists shiver at the thoug...

Dear Shirley,

You can tell a lot about people by the way they react to the first snowfall of the season. The optimists among us greet the snow with joy and talk of snowmobiles and cross-country skiing this week. The pessimists shiver at the thought of icy roads and the need to learn once again how to drive in the winter. There were mixed emotions when the first snow of the season turned the lawns around here from green to white. There were some who leaned forward on their bicycles and kept going with a look of determination. Others leaned over the steering wheel and wisely crept along in their cars and approached intersections with care.

Dot.Com the dachshund had a surprise when she ran out in the backyard and found it had turned to snow. She stopped dead in her tracks and tried to nose her way down to the grass.

Living in the desert all these years, you have probably forgotten the mixed emotions of excitement, despair, joy, fear that come over people on a week like this. It is here, and it is time for us to hunker down and make the most of winter. The time has come for sleds and skates and earmuffs and gloves.

November, you may know, was one of the warmest on record here. It gave people a chance to string outside Christmas lights without freezing their fingers. There are lights all over town. I like the snowflakes along Washington Street and the train in colored lights above the underpass. I was thinking it would be good to have something like this all year long. That could take the place of the friendly smiling water tower that went the way of all old water towers this year.

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What are they doing to decorate Tucson for Christmas? Has there been a stampede to the stores?

I think people here are approaching the season of shopping in a conservative mode. But there are parties and programs coming up in churches and schools. That will never change, Shirley.

There's a classified ad running in the Herald saying Santa and Mrs. Claus are available for occasions. I don't know if they are the real people at the North Pole. They list their phone as (701) 360-1534.

I think a lot of kids will be asking Santa for hamsters this year. I was reading about the little robotic Zhu Zhu Pets toys in the Denver Post last week. They interviewed a woman who found them more scarce than the H1N1 vaccine. I guess these pets might be this year's must-have toy. Maybe they will follow in the footsteps of past crazes such as Tickle Me Elmo and Cabbage Patch Kids. And maybe not. You never know, Shirley. One thing about them is that the price is right at about $10 -- if you can find them.

Some say they are hot because they are scarce. At any rate, they are made in China.

Love from your sister, Marilyn, wondering why anyone would want a Zhu Zhu Pet for Christmas.

P.S. Have you ever stopped to think how much savings in energy, trees and landfill waste there would be if we all used travel mugs instead of disposable coffee cups? Well, a group of students at UND were handing out information about it Wednesday at the Memorial Union. This afternoon, there is an Emergency Preparedness/Severe Weather Update and Planning meeting in the Memorial Union Lecture Bowl. And tonight is the last Culture Night for this semester, when the invitation is out to come and experience Korean culture in the Loading Dock. There will be a presentation about South Korea and a sampling of the cuisine.

P.P.S. Jim Richter and Keith Jensen are up early this morning working on the grill at the Blue Moose in East Grand Forks. The Chamber is serving its annual Eggstravaganza until 9:30 a.m. I guess Jerry Youngberg and Kent Hanson are on kitchen duty, too. Because they have steady hands, the following were assigned to the buffet line: Thane Bergh, Linda Pierce, Jim Galloway, Tim Sayler, Andy Byron, Pat Berger and Carrie Herrig. The task of pouring coffee and clearing dishes went to Steve Swanson, Barb Schultz, Monica Musich, Jeri Hird Dutcher, Kristi Hall Jiran, Jerry Youngberg, Rich Becker and Chris Semrau.

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Reach Hagerty at mhagerty@gra.midco.net or by telephone at (701) 772-1055.

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