Black Friday won’t be the same this year, and I’m not sad about that.

I’ve watched as the countdown to enormous savings lured people away from the dinner table earlier each year, shortening Thanksgiving bit by bit, until I feared there would be no holiday at all except the celebration of half price television sets, with throngs of people shoving and grabbing, after waiting, huddled together in the cold, for hours. How far we’ve come from that Norman Rockwell painting.

But COVID has forced us to slow down and rethink the way we gather. I’m reminded of a time when Christmas shopping was, shall we say, more civilized. Before malls and big box stores. A time when we dressed up to go “to town.” Town was Wilkes-Barre, and that is where department stores like Isaac Long, Pomeroy’s, Fowler, Dick and Walker, and The Boston Store didn’t open their doors until 9 a.m. Stores with escalators. And in between, little specialty shops like The Book and Card Mart. After a morning of shopping, there was time for a leisurely lunch at The Spa or Percy Brown’s.

I saved all year, having a Christmas Club at the Wyoming Bank. Each week, my mother gave me money for the smallest deposit, and the total was returned to me in November, in time to purchase gifts for my family. Small gifts that seemed wonderful to a child so excited to offer a token of affection at the most glorious time of year.

I probably bought fishing gear for my dad at Carey’s, a scarf for mom at Faye’s, but I remember most vividly going to Jacoby’s Drug Store, next to the post office, and selecting Jean Nate powder for my grandmother. The box was yellow and probably came in a gift package with perfume, and I surely wanted that because I would have given her the moon if I could afford it. I loved the way she smelled after her bath and believed that when I grew to be an adult woman I would wear the same scent. Of course, by then, there were many beautiful scents available to me, and I no longer wanted to smell like a grandmother, even if I am one now.

Christmas shopping shouldn’t be a chore, a tug of war for expensive gifts. It’s the gesture and the emotion behind the giving that counts. As we approach Thanksgiving and begin to plan our shopping, let’s remember those who need our help this year more than ever. Pay attention to the little stores in our own community where we can spend our Christmas Club dollars.

Jacoby’s is gone, but right around the corner you’ll find Summer Hill Botanicals. Sorick’s in Wyoming is a wonderful jewelry store. Brandy Patch in West Wyoming specializes in embroidery items. Argo’s in Exeter is jam packed with Wyoming Area sportswear.

Buy gift certificates to service shops, like Carter’s Auto Center and, of course, our many fine restaurants. We can’t lose them. Shop local, this year more than ever, to keep our business community alive.

COVID has reminded us of what’s really important — the health of family and friends, our neighborhoods and our towns.

I’m going to enjoy slower, safer, more local this year. I hope you will, too.

Food distribution

Wyoming, West Wyoming and Exeter residents are eligible for free food from the Al Beech Food Pantry from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays at the Church of Christ Uniting, 786 W. Market St., Kingston.

Proof of income is not needed, but proof of residence is required.

This is drive through only. No walk ups. Remain in your car and food will be placed in your trunk only.

Everyone is welcome.

Winter Wonderland in Wyoming

The Wyoming Recreation Board will host its annual Winter Wonderland in the Park on Saturday, Dec. 5, at the Butler Street park.

This year, vendors are being recruited for a holiday marketplace, scheduled to open at 1 p.m.

The Santa Parade will begin between 3:30 and 4 p.m. and will end around 4 p.m. at the park.

The children will have a visit with Santa, followed by the lighting of the tree.

Last year, more than 150 families attended and the board hopes to expand this event. This would be a great opportunity to promote your business.

Interested parties can email the recreation board at wyomingrec@gmail.com or private message Wyoming Rec. Board on Facebook. There will be enclosed tent space with lighting, but no spots with electricity. The cost of the spot is $30. For details, email the Wyoming Recreation Board or contact Roseanne Colarusso at 570-693-0291, ext 104.

Wyoming police signs

Support Wyoming Borough Police Department. Back the Blue signs are available for purchase at the borough office for $10 each.

Wyoming notices

Wyoming residents are reminded they are not to utilize the West Wyoming compost site for their yard waste or they will be fined. The contract with West Wyoming was terminated in 2019.

Wyoming Borough yard waste will be picked up for the last time this year on Saturday, Nov. 21. The following are considered yard waste: grass clippings, branches, leaves and weeds. Dirt is not yard waste. Waste must be placed in reusable containers or 30-gallon biodegradable paper bags. Branches must be tied in 4-foot lengths. If not properly bagged or tied, it may be left behind.

Bulk collection is the second Wednesday of the month and stickers can be purchased for $5 at the borough building.

If trash, recycling or yard waste is not picked up on the scheduled day, report it immediately to J.P. Mascaro, 1-800-243-7575, so they can dispatch workers to your residence. Also inform the borough so it can be reported to the Mascaro site manager.

Pay your bills to the borough with credit cards online at wyomingpa.org.

Sanitation fees for 2020 are now $300. Letters have been mailed to residents who have not paid and citations will be issued.

Vacant properties are not exempt from fees.

Rental property owners, not the tenant, are responsible for sanitation fees.

No cash payments will be accepted. Pay with credit cards online at wyomingpa.org. Check or money order should be made out to Wyoming Borough Sanitation.

All bills owed to the borough may be placed in the secure box outside the entrance to the building.

First United Presbyterian

Church news

First United Presbyterian Church holds in-person worship at 11 a.m. Sundays.

Masks are required and social distancing measures are in place.

For planning purposes, reservations are requested and can be made by calling the church office at 570-609-5410.

Services are also broadcast live on Facebook on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. Look for the live stream link presbywp.org.

Also, the church hosts online Zoom Bible study and prayer time every Wednesday.

Call 570-609-5410 for information.

Cub Scout pasta dinner

Cub Scout Pack 310 will hold a takeout pasta dinner from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27, at the Exeter Scout Home and Community Center, 53 Lincoln St., Exeter.

Dinner will include ziti with sauce and meatballs, a salad and a dessert for $10. Just hand your tickets to the Scout out front and your dinners will be brought out to you.

Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling Wally Janoski at 570-693-1930 or from any Cub Scout family.

Proceeds from the dinner will help pay unusually high registration fees caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and to fund Pack activities.

Exeter notices

Bulk collection has resumed in Exeter. Stickers are $35 for each item. To purchase bulk stickers, contact the Exeter Borough refuse office at 570 654-3001, ext. 2. A bulk item includes small furniture, carpet, mattress or an appliance.

The borough building is closed to the public and open only to essential personnel until further notice. Public needs for all police, fire and medical emergencies will be answered. Dial 911 in the event of an emergency.

Payments can be dropped off at the secure payment box located outside the entrance of the borough building for trash, taxes, tickets, building permits and dumpster permits. Call 570-654-3001 or visit www.exeterborough.com/ for information.

Refuse stickers for Exeter Borough are now available at penalty for $250. It is mandatory to purchase a sticker. At this time, the borough building is closed to the public. All bills owed to the borough will have to be mailed to Exeter Borough Refuse, 1100 Wyoming Ave., Exeter, PA 18643 or placed in the secure payment box outside the borough building. Make checks or money orders out to Exeter Borough. No cash will be accepted. For information, call Lynda at 570-654-3001, ext. 2.

Barbara Bullions writes about Exeter, Wyoming and West Wyoming. To list an item, email barbarabullions@gmail.com or call 570-301-2185 by Monday.

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