What friends are really for

“I’m worried,” I said.

My friend lifted his head from the newspaper he was reading, then turned the paper over and looked at the front page.

“What? This? That’s got nothing to do with … ” he started.

“Not that,” I said. “You know how you always get junk mail from insurance companies and car dealerships and furniture places?” I asked. “You know what I mean. It’s that stuff we always throw away.”

He nodded.

“You’re afraid we’re going to run out of trees, aren’t you?” he asked. “A lot of that stuff is just recycled, recycled paper times 50. There are plenty of … ” he started.

I cut him off with a wave of my hand.

“It’s not that,” I said. “I can’t really explain it. It’s just … ”

Nothing was said for a while,

My friend went back to his newspaper, making comments now and then on a story he was reading.

“You read about this family in Minnesota?”

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TnAchieves needs volunteer mentors

With only four full days remaining — as of Nov. 30 — until the application deadline, TnAchieves still needs 2,000 volunteer mentors across the state. A regional breakdown showing the number of mentors needed in each East Tennessee county is below:

• Anderson County: 6

• Blount County: 38

• Campbell County: 11

• Claiborne County: 2

• Cocke County: 15

• Grainger County: 3

• Hamblen County: 27

• Jefferson County: 8

• Knox County: 62

• Loudon County: 24

• Monroe County: 22

•Morgan County: 8

• Scott County: 16

• Sevier County: 38

• Union County: 13

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Cheer brightness and hope are coming

When I was a child, I thought Christmas would never come.

The weeks dragged by while I wore out the toy sections of the Sears and Penny’s catalogs hoping Santa might stop by. I always looked for Santa Claus and tried to stay awake on Christmas Eve just to catch a glimpse of the jolly big guy.

Typically, I would see him at the five and dime store or G.C. Murphy’s. I always had a list longer than Santa could carry. However, Santa typically managed to show up with something on Christmas thanks to hard-working parents who loved Christmas and giving as much as they could.

The anticipation of Christmas was an adrenaline boost as a child. The hopes and dreams of what might come or be always was exciting. The downtime came when late on Christmas Day I had to reconcile that Christmas wouldn’t happen again for another year.

I dreaded seeing the Christmas tree and the outside lights come down. Christmas was always a good winter mood boost. My dad didn’t put a lot of Christmas lights up outside but the ones he did put on the house always seemed beautiful and filled the outside air with cheer, brightness and hope. America is ready for some cheer, brightness and hope, and it’s coming. Santa Claus won’t be dropping this down the chimney, but it’s coming soon via your local medical-care provider.

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