The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Front Page -

Hot Springs res­i­dents look for­ward to cel­e­brat­ing Thanks­giv­ing with fam­ily and friends and are eagerly an­tic­i­pat­ing the Christ­mas sea­son that fol­lows.

Soon, the Spa City’s nat­u­ral beauty will be en­hanced by glit­ter­ing home and busi­ness adorn­ments and its al­ways invit­ing am­biance will sparkle even more.

Tur­key with all the trim­mings and other fa­vorite tra­di­tions, com­bined with es­tab­lish­ing new ones, re­mind us that giv­ing thanks for our many bless­ings and find­ing ways to be of ser­vice to oth­ers do bring us a spe­cial joy de vivre.

The gen­er­ous hearts and help­ing hands of Hot Springs’ vir­tual army of vol­un­teers make pos­si­ble events that up­lift our spir­its, bring us hope and re­newal, and per­son­ify the term, “community.”

On Satur­day, Nov. 17, The Sal­va­tion Army and its “helpers” will kick off the An­gel Tree and Red Ket­tle pro­gram at Hot Springs Mall; that same day, and con­tin­u­ing to Dec. 31, Gar­van Wood­land Gar­dens’ cheer­ful cadre of elves turns on the Hol­i­day Lights dis­play that trans­forms its grounds into a twin­kling fan­ta­sy­land. Jolly mer­chants host a hot time and cool Yule gath­er­ing on Mon­day, Nov. 19, when they host the Ninth An­nual Chili Cook-Off Fundraiser and Lighting Dis­play at the Ex­change Street Park­ing Plaza. Mid-Amer­ica Sci­ence Mu­seum will treat guests and pa­trons to a va­ri­ety of delecta­bles when it presents the 13th An­nual Taste of the Hol­i­days on Dec. 2.

And Santa him­self is likely to make an early ap­pear­ance on Dec. 3 when chil­dren of all ages “ooh and aah” at the cre­ative floats and other imag­i­na­tive en­tries of this year’s Christ­mas Parade as winds its way through the down­town.

My child­hood chum, Mol­lie Mul­doon, nee Lol­lis, and I grew up just houses apart on Wood­bine and thus shared many Thanks­giv­ing and Christ­mas ob­ser­vances. We rode our bi­cy­cles or skipped back and forth be­tween res­i­dences, eagerly await­ing a chance to try the baked goods that came from her mother’s kitchen or from that of my pa­ter­nal grand­mother, who lived in the du­plex apart­ment next to my par­ents.

We put tin­sel on the live trees and told one an­other what we se­cretly wanted to find un­der them on Christ­mas Day. We tied red and green Christ­mas bows around our cats’ necks and mar­veled at the pretty wreaths neigh­bors hung on their doors. Life was good then and on ev­ery hall­mark oc­ca­sion be­cause peo­ple, not things, mat­tered the most.

Even though per­sonal and ca­reer choices took us in dif­fer­ent direc­tions in early adult­hood, Mol­lie and I have, more of­ten than not, bro­ken bread to­gether on Thanks­giv­ing and Christ­mas. Each sea­son, the mag­nif­i­cent tree in her great room, aglow with lights and fes­tooned with unique dec­o­ra­tions, stands tall and is a tes­ta­ment to fa­mil­ial love and last­ing friend­ships.

Gift wrap your fa­vorite hol­i­day mem­o­ries and keep them safe for all time. These are the best presents any­one can have.

Melinda B. Gas­s­away Ex­ec­u­tive ed­i­tor

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