Oh, these dark mornings! I am normally an early riser and love the morning hours, but it is hard to get out of a warm bed when the house is chilly and dark.
Remember, though, that in only 16 more days, it will be the Winter Solstice when the sun begins its slow journey to bring back long hours of daylight. Often in December the sun closes the day with a dramatic production, a blaze of color that etch the bare branches of trees against the semi-circle of sky and turn the pine needles so dark as to appear black shafted with gold from the last rays. Swiftly the blaze of color fades to be replaced by the first glistening stars. Silent Night! Holy Night!
If the weather is clear Tuesday, Dec. 13 and Wednesday, Dec. 14, watch for the Geminid meteorite showers. The show will not be as spectacular as some years as the full moon on Dec. 10 will outshine the meteorites, but it is still well worth watching. While you are star gazing, observe the Milky Way, that incredible stellar band. According to Cherokee legend, it was formed when a spirit dog stole cornmeal from village women who banded together to scare the dog away. It leaped into the sky, scattering cornmeal from its mouth, and the cornmeal trail is what the Cherokee call “where the dog ran” and what we know as the Milky Way.
Pine/Strawberry Thrift Store
This week will be Quarter Week at the Pine/Strawberry Thrift Store, 3916 N. Highway 87 in downtown Pine — see how much you can purchase for only 25 cents. Christmas cards are 25 for 25 cents; selected ladies’ pants and jeans, 25 cents; cassette tapes, 10 for 25 cents; children’s/tween’s books, five for 25 cents. Saturday, Dec. 10 will be Shop Hop Day with regular clothes and shoes at 50 percent off the marked prices. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. It will close at 2 p.m. Christmas Eve and reopen Wednesday, Dec. 28.
Payson Senior Center and Thrift Store
The Senior Center will host a dinner party in the Center Dining Room, 514 W. Main St., at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 7 for Center and Thrift Store volunteers.
The Center offers a variety of activities for seniors such as musical programs by Anne James and Friends on Tuesdays, the Country Gospel Misfits on Wednesdays, Bingo on the third Monday of each month, weekly exercise classes, card games and much more. A full schedule of events and monthly menu are available at the Center weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Plans are being made to offer more classes in 2012. Volunteer instructors are needed to teach classes in painting, ceramics, scrapbooking, needlepoint and other activities. If interested, call Gayle at (928) 474-4876.
The Senior Thrift Store, next door to the Center at 512 W. Main St., is having a sale on clothing, 10 garments for $1 this week. Also, everything in the store will be discounted 30 percent through Friday, Dec. 9. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday with evening hours on Thursday. Call (928) 474-3205 for details.
Rim Country Senior Circle
Doctors Sam Gillette and Toby Paulson will be guest speakers at the Wednesday, Dec. 7 Lunch and Learn at Senior Circle, 215 N. Beeline Highway. The monthly members’ luncheon is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 14. Call (928) 472-9290 for reservations to either event.
There will not be a Library Friends of Payson meeting in December, the next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 16, 2012. Information about the program will be posted on the Friends’ Web site: www.libraryfriendsofpayson.org. The library will close at 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 24 and will be closed on Monday, Dec. 26.
A Christmas party for Payson Community Kids is scheduled for 2 p.m., Dec. 18 at Payson United Methodist Church, 414 N. Easy St. Donations would be appreciated and volunteers welcomed. For information about what donations are needed, call Suzy Tubbs at (928) 978-3256; for volunteer information, Jamie Schreiner at (928) 978-1547.
Volunteers are needed year-round. Call Jamie at the above number to learn more.
’Tis the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial fire of charity in the heart.” — Washington Irving