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I worry about Thanksgiving. We seem to skip right over it in a rush to Christmas. Stores are already playing Christmas music and the Hallmark Channel is playing Christmas movies non stop. Half the people I know will work today, and not in essential jobs. Many kids think Thanksgiving is just a prelude to Black Friday.

It wasn’t always like this. I fondly recall the Thanksgivings of my childhood, in the early 1960s. My friends and I dressed in our warmest clothes and hurried outside to meet. Clear, crisp air carried the sound of the bass drum from 10th street, the signal that the big game would soon begin. Our little gang ran three blocks to see the band march from the field, the heels of the majorettes’ boots clopping up the stone ramp.

The fierce rivalry was our Redskins versus the West Wyoming Cowboys. No other game mattered as much. Not a single space was available in the bleachers, which was just fine because on this day we were allowed to sit on the edge of the bowl, as close to the cheerleaders as possible so that we could answer their calls. At half time, nearly frozen fans rushed to the field house for hot chocolate to get them through to the end.

Cars horns announced the winner and all made their way home to waiting turkey dinners. Extended families squeezed around the table, everyone overfilling plates and stomachs, laughing at old stories repeated every year as two lucky kids got to split the wishbone. Dinner seemed to last for hours, and then came the homemade pie. No rush. No place to go. The day grew late, and men who had little reason to be tired fell asleep in the living room as children were tucked into beds. It was the perfect holiday because of its simplicity.

The big game is no longer on Thanksgiving Day and far too many families have had to adapt to a holiday disrupted by work schedules. It’s still a day we love, but I worry that it’s slipping away. Our most treasured national holiday is being erased by a rush to Christmas.

My wish today is for each of you to slow down a bit and enjoy family and friends. Appreciate each person at your table, those who can’t be with you, and those gone but who remain in your hearts. Sing “Over the River and Through the Woods.” Eat too much and linger in the warmth of your homes. Let the old folks repeat the same old tale, without groaning. This really is a wonderful holiday. Make it one to remember.

Exeter tree lighting

Santa will visit Exeter on Sunday, Nov. 25, at the annual Exeter tree lighting ceremony. The event at Lions Memorial Park on Wyoming Avenue, next to the Exeter Borough Building, will start at 5 p.m. with snacks, refreshments, activities, caroling and pictures with Santa.

Wyoming Area Catholic news

Wyoming Area Catholic Builders Club is seeking coat donations. Send them to school through November. Also this month, student council is collecting new mittens, gloves, hats, scarves and socks for newborns through age 16. Donations can be dropped off at the school.

Wyoming Area Catholic PTG will be selling poinsettias and holiday plants through Nov. 30. The poinsettia colors available will be red, pink or white. The flowers and plants will be delivered Tuesday, Dec. 11, and can be picked up between 2:45 and 3:45 and 6 and 7 p.m. at the sports entrance of the school. The cost for each poinsettia is $10 for a 6½-inch single branched and $17 for a 7½-inch two branched. Also available are 24-inch wreaths with red bow, $20; cemetery log, $20 and winter rose plant, $17. Orders are due by Friday, Nov. 30. Please call the school at 570-654-7982 during school hours for order forms.

Free hearing tests

First Presbyterian Church of West Pittston is offering free noise and hearing testing at the Institute, 40 Institute St., Wyoming, from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28. Bring your headphones and measure the noise you are putting in your ears. Take a quick hearing test to learn how noise is affecting your listening ability. Family Hearing Center audiologist Dr. Jim Zeigler will share information on how hearing is damaged by noise and how to prevent damage with the use of safe earphones, earplugs, monitors and even cell phone apps.

St. Monica’s pierogi sale

St. Monica’s Church, West Wyoming, is taking orders for homemade potatoes and cheese pierogi made using the former St. Joseph’s Church recipe. Pierogi will be available for pickup

from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, or immediately after the 4 p.m. Mass in the church hall. Cost is $8 a dozen. To order, call Maria Parra at 570-709-2335.

Kiwanis Breakfast with Santa

The Wyoming Area Kiwanis Club, along with the Wyoming Area Key Club and Builders Club, will hold its annual Breakfast with Santa from 8:30 a.m. to noon Sunday, Dec. 2, at the Wyoming Area Secondary Center cafeteria. The public is invited. Breakfast will consist of pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice, milk, coffee and tea. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for children 2 to 12 years and free for children younger than 2.

Tickets may be purchased in advance by using the Wyoming Area Kiwanis Club Facebook page and the link to PayPal. Advanced reservations are not required and tickets can be purchased at the door. Money raised from the event will continue to support the Key Club, Builder Club and K-Kids Club and Circle K Club sponsored by the Kiwanis Club.

Children and parents will have a safe, non-stressful environment to visit with Santa, enjoy the wonders of Santa’s Wonderland, and do crafts with the Builders Club members. There will be raffles for baskets of toys for boys and girls and Christmas trees. PSP will be available to take professional photos at an additional cost.

Wyoming Hose Company fund drive

Wyoming Hose Company No. 1 reminds residents and businesses that the 2019 annual fire department fund drive has begun. This is the time you can donate to help the volunteer firefighters help you. Donations help keep the firefighters safe while they protect you and your property. By now, you should have received a 2019 donation request form. Please fill out the form and send it in along with your donation. A second reminder will be sent soon.

Exeter collections

Exeter Borough is now offering single stream recycling. All recyclable items can now be placed in the same container and can be placed out weekly. Pickup will still be Mondays.

Yard waste is collected Thursdays. Regular garbage is collected Wednesdays.

There is a three-bag limit no matter what size the bag is, as long as it is under 30 pounds.

Refuse, recyclables and yard waste are to be placed curbside the night before pickup or by 6 a.m. the morning of collection. For information, call Lynda at 570-654-3001, ext. 2 or Karen at 570-654-0933.

Barbara Bullions writes about Exeter, Wyoming and West Wyoming every week. To include an item in her column, email or call 570-301-2185 by Sunday, one day early due to Thanksgiving.