Memorial Day Is A Day To Remember Those Lost To War

Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day was established following the Civil War. It first took place on May 30, 1868. According to General John Logan, its purpose was to see cemeteries “strewn with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

By 1890 it was a holiday recognized largely in the north and it stayed that way until World War I, when it was adjusted to honor all Americans who died fighting in any war.

Flags

In 2000, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed for all American’s “to voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps’” at 3 p.m. local time.

So, while you’re enjoying a day off, take a moment at 3 and realize the cost of the freedom provided by those lost to war.

Good Friday Closures And Tax Deadlines Are Providing Some Confusion

Just a simple reminder that while Good Friday (aka tomorrow) is not a federal holiday, financial markets and some schools will be closed. Most banks, post offices and government offices will remain open, as will the Arboretum, the Dallas Zoo and the Dallas Museum of Art. 

Here Comes Easter To Texas (File photo)

BTW, due to the infamous April 15th Tax Day falling on Saturday, the deadline for submitting taxes is Tuesday, April 18. Whoa! Sure, the deadline couldn’t fall on Easter Sunday, but why not Monday? Is the government being generous with deadlines? No. The reason is that the District of Columbia celebrates Emancipation Day that is usually celebrated on April 16. This year the 16th falls on Sunday, so Monday will be considered a holiday the same way federal holidays are.

Confused? Don’t worry. Just get those taxes filed or warm up those extensions!

Last Call To See The 19th Annual Young Masters Exhibition At The Dallas Museum Of Art

Sometimes “putting off” isn’t such a bad thing. An example of that is visiting the 19th Annual Young Masters Exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art during its final days. This year’s exhibition ends this Sunday. Yup, that’s Easter Sunday. The good news is that a lot of folks and kids have Friday off, so they can check out the 65 original pieces of art that won the hearts of a panel of art and music professionals.

17 Young Masters graphic works*

Displayed along the Concourse, the exhibition includes 54 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional works of art created by AP Studio Art students, five essays analyzing works of art in the DMA’s permanent collections by AP Art History students, and six 4-minute original compositions by AP Music Theory students.

Tiffany Sims of Grapevine High School*

Ryan Irwin of Lovejoy High School**

These were the so-called pick of the litter of 896 works submitted by 10 Dallas-area high schools (Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Colleyville Heritage High School, Coppell High School, Creekview High School, Grapevine High School, Lovejoy High School, Plano East Senior High School, Plano Senior High School, Plano West Senior High School, and Richardson High School) participating in the O’Donnell Foundation’s AP Arts Incentive Program.

Adhithi Baskar of Coppell High School**

Daniel Che, Kevin Bai and Gahwon Lee of Plano West High School**

According to Program Founder Edith O’Donnell, “The Young Masters Exhibition recognizes outstanding intellectual and creative expression in students participating in our AP Arts Incentive Program.  In its nineteenth year, the students’ work featured in the exhibition continues to inspire. The talented students who participate in our program and complete rigorous AP arts and music coursework build essential skills to ensure their success in the 21st century global economy, including stimulating innovation, cultivating critical thinking and developing a greater understanding of diverse cultures. I continue to be very proud of their accomplishments.”

 

Lyle Kradolfer, Carol Kradolfer, Edith and Peter O’Donnell and Ruth Mutch**

But wait! Here’s an idea. The DMA will be open Sunday, which is also the ultimate, very last day of the display. So, after hunting down those Easter eggs, going to church services, munching at brunch or whatever, why not check out the “young masters’” artwork.

And while you’re there, see the “Mexico 1900-1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Jose Clemente Orzco and the Avant-Garde.” Thanks to The M.O.B Family Foundation, admission to the exhibition will be free. But it’s available on a first-come, first served basis. FYI: The DMA opens at 11 a.m.

* Photo credit provided by AP Strategies 
** Photo credit: Steve Foxall

The Perfect Fix For St. Patrick’s Day Weekend’s Need For Green

Dallas Arboretum tulips

It’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Instead of flying off to Ireland to kiss the Blarney Stone or hitting the pubs for a tankard of Guinness Extra Stout, why not surround yourself in picture-perfect green?

It can be found at the Dallas Arboretum with acres of  magnificent green grounds being highlighted by 500,000 blossoms.

And if you’re set on kissing something, the Arboretum has plenty of tulips. Wink, wink.

A Gentle Reminder: Get Your Mailing And Banking Done Before Monday’s Presidents Day Holiday

If you were planning on doing some banking on Monday, rethink it because it’s a bank holiday thanks to President’s Day. But if you were expecting bills, you can rest easy because there ain’t gonna be any mail delivery either.

History lesson: President’s Day was originally held on February 22 to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. It was started in 1800 following Washington’s death in 1799. It wasn’t until the late 1870’s when it was declared an official federal holiday. But then in the late 1960s Congress got busy and created the Uniform Monday Holiday Act that “sought to shift the celebration of several federal holidays from specific dates to a series of predetermined Mondays. The proposed change was seen by many as a novel way to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers, and it was believed that ensuring holidays always fell on the same weekday would reduce employee absenteeism.”

For some folks, the three-day holiday has become a 3½-day holiday, since some folks took off for a very long lunch.

Barack Obama, Barbara and George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush (File photo)

If you see a U.S. President, give ‘em a kiss for the day off.

Park Cities Historic And Preservation Society’s 2017 Home Tour, Luncheon And Car Show Plans Revealed At Holiday Party

Despite the holiday spirit filling Tish and Marvin Key’s marvelous Highland Park home, there was a wisp of sorrow in the air on Tuesday, December 13, for the annual Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society’s Christmas party. The very group that commemorates and encourages the history of the Park Cities was mourning the destruction earlier in the day of the Penson home. As bulldozers and other earth-moving machinery stood still under a full moon, the bricks and wood of the O’Neil Ford-designed home lay in ruins.

Liz and Lane Farley and Tish Key

Tish had once told her realtor Ralph Randall how she loved the house. So, when it went up for auction Ralph notified Tish of the opportunity to tour the legendary house overlooking the crossroads of St. Johns Drive and Armstrong Parkway.

Tish admitted she had wished she’d had the money to scoop it up. But it went to another with other plans that obviously did not include renovation.

At one point in the evening’s discussion, one guest grimly said, “I dread to think what is going to be built there.”

Marla Boone and Deborah Brown

John and Sandy Secor

As Marla Boone and Deborah Brown were bundled up greeting folks outside, Dallas Symphony Orchestra League President Sandy Secor was in the entry hall reporting that plans were all in place for the League’s 70th anniversary year including the Junior Symphony Ball in January, the 31stth Annual DSOL Debutante Presentation Ball in February, the Savor the Symphony in April and still more yet to be announced.

PCHS President  Kendall Jennings and husband Bruce Jennings were thrilled that Boston artist Stephen Wood was in town and able to attend the holiday party.

Bruce and Kendall Jennings and Stephen Wood

Regarding the upcoming plans for the year, Kendall reported that Liz Farley would be chairing the annual Distinguished Speaker Luncheon at the Dallas Country Club on Wednesday, March 29, with always entertaining James Farmer at the podium.

Home Tour Chair Tish has already finalized the residences that will be part of the lineup on Saturday, April 1, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. She’s already lined up the following homes for the tour:

3825 Miramar 

4825 Miramar*

4218 Fairfax

4218 Fairfax*

,

4309 Westway

4309 Westway*

and

3600 Greenbrier

3600 Greenbrier*

Libby and David Hunt will have a full menu serving as honorary co-chairs for both the luncheon and tour.

As for the 2nd Annual Classic and Antique Car Show, Chair Dan McKeithen has arranged to have the event at Burleson Park on Saturday, April 8. Just in case there is rain, the event will take place on Saturday, April 15. Ryan has signed on as the presenting sponsor for all three fundraisers.

While the Car Show is free, tickets for the home tour and luncheon will be available in March.

To Kick Off The Holiday Season, The SPCA Of Texas’ Paws Cause Crew Sipped And Shopped At Ralph Lauren

Having recovered from Thanksgiving feasting and family-get-togethers, the SPCA of TexasPaws Cause leadership and friends including Webster the Chihuahua held forth at Ralph Lauren in Highland Park Village on Thursday, December 1. It was just perfect for picking out that outfit for the upcoming Paws Cause at the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center on Sunday, January 29. Here’s a report from the field:

Light from Ralph Lauren Holiday candles glinted off of the magnificent crystal chandelier gracing the entryway of the Ralph Lauren Boutique at Highland Park Village on Wednesday, December 1, where ladies and gentlemen gathered in the holiday spirit to celebrate Paws Cause and shop for friends and family, all to benefit the SPCA of Texas. Guests sipped wine and champagne and nibbled decadent macaroons as they browsed.

Nancy Latner, Mary Spencer and Susie Swanson*

Sincere thanks to  Susie Swanson for hosting and to the Ralph Lauren store for welcoming the festive crowd and for donating a portion of the proceeds from the event’s sales to the SPCA of Texas. Many of the guests were spotted walking out with armfuls of beribboned boxes and bags!

Guests included Honorary Chair Andrea Alcorn, steering committee member and heartbeat of Paws Cause 2017 Karen Urie, SPCA of Texas Board Chair Katy Murray, Susie Swanson, Diane Brierley, Gloria Snead, Penny Rivenbark, Judy Davis, Penny Patton, Kevin Coffey, Mary Spencer, Jocelyn White, Nancy Latner, Sharon Fancher, Steve Atkinson, Kristen Greenberg, SPCA of Texas President/CEO James Bias and SPCA of Texas Senior Vice President of Development Debra Burns.

Steve Atkinson and Kristen Greenberg*

Jocelyn White and Webster*

Katy Murray, James Bias and Karen Urie*

Paws Cause will be held on Sunday, January 29, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center at 2400 Lone Star Drive in West Dallas. Paws Cause is committed to supporting the SPCA of Texas’ programs that aim to support the pets and people of South Dallas through sponsorships and donations to help address the serious stray animal and animal overpopulation issue. For more information, visit www.pawscausedallas.com.

Resource Center Kicked Off World AIDS Day On The Night Before At Le Méridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh With The Red Ribbon Bash

Leave it to Resource Center to always be a step ahead of the rest. While World AIDS Day is annually celebrated on December 1, the Center opted to start the festivities plus fundraising at the Red Ribbon Bash on Wednesday, November 30, at the Le Méridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh. In addition to the partying, the event also served as a reminder that AIDS continues to devastate the people of the world. Here is a report from the field:

In commemoration of World AIDS Day, Resource Center held a Red Ribbon event at Le Méridien, The Stoneleigh on Thursday, November 30, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Observed on the first of December each year, World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to honor those who have died from the disease. Red Ribbon provided the community an opportunity to kick off the holidays while coming together for a cause in a beautiful and historic setting. For more than 30 years, the Center has served the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community as well as all people affected by HIV/AIDS and all proceeds from the event support the Center’s services and programs.

Along with staff and volunteers, Resource Center’s Chief Executive Officer Cece Cox welcomed over 75 sponsors, guests and board members to the festively decorated penthouse of Le Meridien, Stoneleigh Hotel which overlooks the Dallas skyline. After a fun photo opportunity in the foyer, attendees adorned in red ribbons and holiday apparel enjoyed music while mixing and mingling in the lavish living room and library originally designed by Dorothy Draper. Built in 1923, The Stoneleigh has a rich history of haunted tales and secret passageways and was a perfect venue for the Red Ribbon event.

Chris Parker*

Tasty signature cocktails such as a Basil Gimlet and Ruby Slipper were provided by Stoli and contained flavored vodka such as blueberry, raspberry, citrus and vanilla. Scrumptious hors d’oeuvres created by Stoneleigh’s in-house chefs were offered such as Wild Mushroom and Beef Wellington, Cheese Corn Cakes with Avocado, and Chili Rubbed Shrimp on a White Cheddar and Jalapeno Grit Cake. The formal dining room was dedicated to delicious sweets from The Original Cupcakery and were paired with a hot cocoa and coffee bar complete with toasted coconut, mini marshmallows, candied orange peels, peppermint, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and whipped cream.

Red Ribbon Bash Christmas tree ornaments*

Party-goers also had the opportunity to purchase beautiful glittered Christmas ornaments to decorate their own Christmas tree and each ornament was available at a different sponsor level. The purchase of a $30 ornament represented a gift of a daily hot meal for a client living with HIV for one month from the Center’s food pantry. The purchase of a $60 ornament represented the gift of vital, fresh groceries for a person living with HIV for an entire month from the Center’s food pantry. The purchase of a $90 ornament represented the gift of an educational guest speaker and lunch for one HIV support group meeting.

Holiday gift-giving ideas were met with a silent auction that included fabulous home and gift ideas including 30,000 American Airlines miles, a two-night stay for two at The USA Grant, a luxury hotel in San Diego, California, a one-night stay in a King Suite at The Highland-Dallas with complimentary valet and complimentary room service for two, a one-night stay at The Warwick Melrose Dallas, tennis lessons for 1-2 people by Harlan Tennis, and a signed Dragon Lady, 3 1/2 inch crystal Aurora Borealis rhinestone with gold finish brooch covered in Swarovski stones.

Mary and Mike Waller*

Connie White and Kate Newman*

Al James, Don Gaiser and Wayne Medina*

Roneka Patterson and Nathalie Dadje*

In attendance at the Red Ribbon event were longtime Resource Center supporters and advocates James Lester, Jay Maggio, Chuck MarLett, Kate Newman, Jay Oppenheimer, Chris Parker, Michael Matthews and Michael Pugh, Mary and Matt Waller, Connie White and Kay Wilkinson. Several supporters who made the Red Ribbon a successful event included

  • Platinum Sponsors — Ethan Killgore, McDonald’s and Texas Instruments
  • Gold Sponsors — Dana Barber, Charles D. MarLett and Jay Oppenheimer
  • Silver Sponsors — Avita Pharmacy, Cece Cox, James Lester, Michael Matthews and Michael Pugh, Steven Pounders, MD and Jimmy O’Reilly and Mary and Matt Waller
  • In-Kind Sponsors — Bartech Services, Kurt S. Adler, Le Meridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh, Lion Ribbon, MarceloMedia, Mickey Briggs, The Original Cupcakery, Stoli and Sam S. Tucker

$10,000 was raised at the Red Ribbon event with all proceeds from the ornaments and silent auction benefiting the services and programs of Resource Center. World AIDS Day and the Center’s Red Ribbon event reminds us that HIV has not gone away; there is still a vital need to expand awareness, combat prejudice, and improve education. For more information about Resource Center, please visit myresourcecenter.org.

* Photos provided by Resource Center

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebrations Extend From Friday To Holiday Monday

Another federal holiday will have banks, government offices and most schools closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But there is so much going on to celebrate the late civil rights leader. Here’s just a smattering of the events for your consideration:

  • FRIDAY, JANUARY 13 — Presented by Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, the MLK Jr. Oratory Competition takes place at the Majestic Theatre from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It features fourth- and fifth-graders delivering three- to five-minutes original speeches. It’s free, but registration is necessary.
  • SATURDAY, JANUARY 14 — The 35th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award Gala will get underway at the Fairmont Hotel with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and featuring Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough and special guests Laila Muhammad and Yolonda Williams. The Afterglow Event will follow the gala. Individual tickets are going for $85 for the gala and $20 for Afterglow Event.
  • MONDAY, JANUARY 16 — The 2017 MLK Day Parade begins at 10 a.m. at the intersection of MLK Boulevard and Holmes Street. It’s free for the viewing. Let’s hope the rain dries up in time for the bands to strut their stuff.
  • The 2017 MLK Symposium*

    MONDAY, JANUARY 16 — Presented by BaylorScott&White, the 12th Annual MLK Symposium: MLK’s Legacy: Issues of Social Justice in the 21st Century will feature presentations by journalist Jelani Cobb and #BlackLivesMatter Co-Creator Alicia Garza at the Dallas City Performance Hall from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance because they will not be sold at the venue.

* Graphic courtesy of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture

Be Forewarned: 2017 New Year’s Day Holiday Will Continue Through Monday For Many

New Year’s Day(s) 2017

Happy newest year of your life! And because January 1, 2017, falls on a Sunday, there will be a lot of businesses and government offices that will be observing the holiday on Monday as well. Here is a brief rundown of some of the closures:

  • Banks
  • City of Dallas departments
  • Dallas County departments
  • Most public and private schools
  • SMU
  • U.S. Federal offices
  • U.S. Post Office

BTW, while other public schools will resume classes on Tuesday, January 3, Dallas Independent School District will continue celebrating the holidays through Friday, January 6.

Happily, most retailers will be wide open for business, as well as movie theaters.

Housing Crisis Center’s Patriot Party Brought Out The Red, White And Blues At The Mansion On Veteran’s Day

Thanks to the stars and calendar lining up in sync on Friday, November 11, the day of celebrating the nation’s veterans flourished. While the day’s parades and festivities went on under sunshine, the Housing Crisis Center’s Patriot Party at the Mansion proved to be a nighttime crowd pleaser.

Katherine Wynne and John Baer

Cindy Stager and Oscar Durham

Roz Colombo, Amy Turner, Sunie Solomon and Laura Moon

Paul and Tiffany Divis and Kim Hext

Jamie Williams

In keeping with the Patriot Party spirit, the red, white and blues were the colors of choice for the night thanks to Katherine Wynne, Sandy Schwan, Tiffany Divis, Amy Turner, Sunie Solomon, Cindy Stager, Roz Colombo and mama Gigi St. Pe, Jamie Williams, Anita Braun, Shannon Brame, Holly Mayer, Eliza Cochron, Darlene Elison, Tasha Harden, Katy Bock and Lisa Cooley, who accessorized her outfit with a sparkly clutch. According to their choices of ties, it appeared the gents like Paul Divis, Lawrence Bock, Clay Cooley, Thomas Harden and Event Chair John Baer evidently got the color memo, too.

Lawrence and Katy Bock and Lisa and Clay Cooley

Anita Braun and Shannon Brame

Heath Oakes and Jenny Anchondo

KDFW anchor/evening emcee Jenny Anchondo was sporting more than a fresh glamorama makeup do. Little did she and husband Heath Oakes let on that they were on the verge of announcing that they’d be expecting a baby girl in May.

As if the reception didn’t prove heady enough with its countless silent-auction items, the main disco act in the Mansion ballroom created a bit of a stir when one over-exuberant blonde slipped and fell on the dance floor.

Ken Cooper

Jonathan Jaffin

Then there were the chat-about types who insisted on chit-chatting nonstop when Dr. Ken Cooper and Jonathan Jaffin talked about the importance of military service and our brave veterans and how, despite their selfless service, there are 40,000 homeless vets in the U.S. On the other hand, there were others who listened intently and afterward recalled stories that their parents and grandparents had told them about past military service.

The newly renovated ballroom’s A/C was working nicely. So much so that some staved off the chill with fur wraps, while other naked-shouldered lasses just harvested goose bumps.

Helene Cronin

Speaking of which, one poor gal’s bare-shouldered cocktail dress required some occasional hitching up as the décolletage went southward. Luckily, a gal pal came to the rescue helping her bud redirect the errant gown northward.

After Americana artist Helene Cronin sang a touching, original tribute to the military called “Lucky Me”—it was based on a true story, she said—it was time for the live auction. The auction proved to be a patriotic success, with the Napa Valley wine experience going for $3,000, the New York Broadway package luring $3,250, and a dinner with Fox4’s Mike Doocy bringing in $2,250.

MySweetMusic For Christmas – Part 6

You’re winding down from the food and festivities. But the Christmas aftermath is starting to sink in. There are those thank you notes and those … ugh, returns for the right size.

But give yourself a break. The dirty dishes and demolished gift wrap can wait. You deserve to settle back, turn off the TV, close your eyes and enjoy the music of the season that inspires people to pass-it-forward.

BTW, MSC elf twins Cherry T. and Jerry T. are heading for their trundle beds after 30 hours of DJ-ing. Not to worry. Queenie made sure that their stockings hanging from the MSC mantle are filled with all types of goodies.

We hope that your Christmas was filled with blessings and the knowledge that you’re so very important to the entire MSC community.

MySweetMusic For Christmas 2016 – Part 5

Let’s envision this scene. If you have munchkins anywhere in the house, then you’re up with a cup of coffee watching a destruction derby taking place around a pristine Christmas tree. Gift wrap is being torn apart like a truck pull at AT&T Stadium. But it’s worth it.

Now, there is a full day of activities including food, food and more food.

But let’s have a reality check. As you settle back on the couch, are you  wondering how you could have eating all “that stuff”? Or, perhaps you’re in the kitchen, drafting “volunteers” to help do KP duties? Surely, you’re not already writing thank you notes!

Regardless, it’s a dreary day with gray clouds and rain outside. Still, you’re inside safe and sound. Here’s some music to enjoy your state of being.

MySweetMusic For Christmas 2016 – Part 4

Chances are that you just returned from midnight services. Or perhaps, you just were way late in the gift wrapping duties. Regardless, you’ll be hearing drips of rain on the roof as well as the patter of reindeer. Makes sense. Rain and reindeer on the roof.

But really, should you be up so late? If so, MySweetCharity twin elves Cherry T. and Jerry T. have provided the background music for you to chill.

MySweetMusic For Christmas 2016 – Part 3

The clock just struck midnight and Christmas Day has begun. If you’re still up, you might want to turn off your fireplace. We just heard from Claus Headquarters that Santa cellphoned in saying that his boots got singed as he shimmied down one fireplace that was aglow.

Oh, and don’t forget to leave out the cookies and milk for Kris Kringle. He needs a sugar high, don’t you know?

Here we go

MySweetMusic For Christmas 2016 – Part 2

Most of the retailers have closed their doors and last-minute shoppers are hoping to find a 7-11 or an all-night gas station to get a gift. For the more tech-savvy types, gift cards are the perfect answer.

Now, it’s time to giftwrap, sip cocoa and listen to some more Yuletide tunes.

 

MySweetMusic For Christmas 2016 – Part 1

Tis Christmas Eve. Some are attending midnight services; some are having a Christmas Eve get-together; some are picking up someone at the airport and others are madly wrapping last-minute gifts.

Not to worry. Santa is making his way to North Texas with his bag of gifts. The old boy has been on a diet, so squeezing down the chimneys might not be the challenge it was in the past.

Before the MySweetCharity elves took off for their annual holiday with their North Pole cousins, elf twins Cherry T. and Jerry T. put together a collection of holiday tunes for your listening pleasure.

This first one has some old favorites from Dean, Gene, Burl, Johnny, Julie, Andy and, of course, Elvis … you know Elvis was an elf.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: The Claus Collection Santa Exhibition

The Dallas Arboretum will be closed on Christmas Day. And while the official word is that this closure allows the staff to be with their families and friends, the unofficial word is that there is an exclusive party taking place in the DeGoyler House.

Reserved annually for this festive event, the stately mansion is where Santa parties with Mrs. Claus, the elves and the reindeer after delivering toys and before heading back to the North Pole.

The Claus Collection Santa Exhibition

In addition to the eggnog, decorated cookies and fruitcake (yes, Santa does like fruitcake, especially from Corsicana), the highlight of this year’s occasion is the hundreds of Santas provided by members of the Junior League of Dallas at The Claus Collection Santa Exhibition.

The Claus Collection Santa Exhibition

The Claus Collection Santa Exhibition

By Monday morning Santa and his crew will have headed home, but the collection of Kris Kringles will still be on display along with the 12 Days of Christmas throughout the grounds until Sunday, January 8.

For your consideration, check the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for a smattering of the Saint Nicks.

The Last Tree On The Lot

Years ago there was a child who was at that age when the belief in Santa, elves and flying reindeer was starting to fade. As she sat next to her father driving home from Christmas Eve dinner, she told him of her doubts about the season of miracles. Her father, who was dreading this talk more than the one about the facts of life, pulled into the garage and told her a story that his father had told him decades ago. On this Christmas Eve, we share the story with you.

That night was the coldest and windiest Christmas Eve ever. The seasonal Christmas tree lot was bare except for one little fir. People had wanted bigger, robust trees for their homes and the tiny tree just was passed by each time.

But despite the frigid temperatures, the tree and her guests huddled together and stayed warm. The little sparrows joined the mockingbirds and Mourning Doves in singing Christmas carols. The squirrels and mice applauded with great enthusiasm for each song. The little tree’s heart was warmed by all the happiness.

As the night went on, so the wintry conditions grew. Finally, just as the first ray of sunlight began to appear in the east, a great whoosh of breeze spun around the tree and there was silence. The tree and her friends discovered they had been joined by a sleigh, reindeer and Santa himself.

One of the mice peeked out from the tree’s branches and asked, “Perhaps you have a gift or two left?”

Mice can be a bit pushy, you know.

“I am pleased to say we had exactly the right number of gifts for children this year,” Santa replied.

“That’s remarkable,” said the tree. “How marvelous it must have been for all of my tree friends to be surrounded by presents. Just think what is happening right now? People are laughing and smiling and enjoying the happiness of Christmas. How lucky my tree friends are.”

“They probably are,” said Santa. “But unfortunately, I have a problem and must ask your help.”

The tree was surprised that Santa would ever need help.

Santa and a Christmas tree (File photo)

“You see,” Santa continued, “I forgot to get a tree this year and Mrs. Claus is going to be very disappointed if I don’t return with one. When I passed overhead just now, I was advised by the reindeer of a singing tree. Well, I know it’s rather late, but I was wondering if you and your friends would let me take you home to the North Pole.”

Before the tree and the little creatures could reply, Santa added, “By the way, we’ll need you for quite a while. You see we celebrate Christmas year round. It helps the elves keep focused.”

With that, Santa carefully lifted the tree into the sleigh and told all the creatures to hop on board for a trip to their new home. 

Keep An Eye On Santa

Around here Santa is considered the top-shelf elf of the season. Starting Saturday evening, the jolly old fellow and his team of reindeer will be making the rounds.

Santa Claus (File photo)

Just for fun, here is a link to him on his journey to deliver.

BTW, there are a heck of a lot of local organizations like Community Partners of Dallas, S.M Wright Foundation, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Command, Toys for Tots, Santa’s Helpers and North Texas Food Bank that helped Kris Kringle fill his bag with toys, bikes, clothes, food and all types of goodies.

Thank-you notes are not necessary, but milk and cookies would be appreciated by the North Pole resident.

The Eight Days And Nights Of Hanukkah Begin At Sunset Saturday

Saturday evening will be a very special occasion for many. For some it will be attending midnight church services. For members of the Jewish religion, sunset will commence the eight days and nights of Hanukkah (aka Festival of Lights). With the use of a menorah, a candle is lit after dark each night by the shamash and placed in a doorway or window. On each following night an additional candle is lit until the eighth night when the entire candelabra is aglow.

Modern day menorah

The tradition goes back to more than 2,000 years ago, when the Maccabees succeeded in rebelling against Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The Temple of Jerusalem was purified and, despite there only being enough oil for menorah’s candles being lit for one day, they burned for eight days.

In addition to the lighting of the candles, there is the reciting of Hallel prayer, eating foods fried in oil like latkes and sufganiyot, playing the dreidel game and Hanukkah gelt.

Hanukkah ends at nightfall on Sunday, January 1, on the first day of 2017.

MySweetWishList: MySweetCharity

MySweetCharity

North Texas’ nonprofit old timers and newcomers made their wishes known in the MySweetWishList series for the past weeks.

Hopefully, you had time to check one, two or all of them out. And just maybe you were able to come through for one of them.

At MySweetCharity we have a wish, too. It is that if you couldn’t make one of the nonprofit’s wishes come true immediately, you’ll keep them in mind in the year ahead.

North Texas generosity is legendary for providing nonprofits with the resources to support those in need and to improve the community. While the challenges may seem never to end, there is an incredible number of dedicated people who tirelessly work in the trenches to make North Texas arise to the occasion.

Thank you for your consideration.

The Two-Day “Christmas Is For Children Radiothon” Resulted In A Record-Breaking $1,262,704 For Children’s Health

KLUV’s Jody Dean seemed to put an extra “oomph” in this year’s two-day “Christmas is for Children Radiothon.” Perhaps it was because he will have his first granddaughter born this April.

And that “oomph” on Thursday, December 8, and Friday, December 9, at Children’s Medical Center resulted in a record-breaking sweet deal — a check for $1,262,704 for Children’s Health.

Jody Dean (File photo)

Jenny Q (File photo)

El Chiquilin (File photo)

Chris Sommer (File photo)

As part of the partnership with Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals, Jody was joined by other CBS Radio DFW folks like KLUV’s Jenny Q, La Grande’s El Chiquilin, KRLD’s Chris Sommer and 26 patients and families like Lacey Parker and her mom Renee Parker for the 26-hour fundraiser.

Why La Grande alone broke another record by bringing in a record-breaking “$558,199, making it the No. 1 CMN Hispanic Radiothon in the country.”

Lacey Parker and Renee Parker

According to CBS Radio DFW Senior Vice President/Market Manager Brian Purdy, “CBS Radio DFW began the Radiothon partnership 11 years ago to support the incredibly amazing work of Children’s Health. Year after year, the generosity of our listeners continues to humble us as we are reminded of how truly blessed we are here in North Texas.”

In addition to the VIP guests like Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher and former Foundation President Dr. Kern Wildenthal dropping by to visit with the radio personalities, teams from area companies manned the phone accepting contributions.

Local sponsors of the event included presenting sponsor FairLease, phone line sponsor Credit Union of Texas, child champion sponsor Neighborhood Credit Union and others (Albertsons-Tom Thumb, The Children’s Courtyard, Granite Properties, Padrino Foods, Skanska, ReTrak, Dallas Fort Worth Acura Dealers, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, ADT Security, Cisco, Marquis Group, UBC and El Rio Supermercados).

If you missed the opportunity to support the Radiothon, you can still support Children’s Health via the Children’s Medical Center Foundation by donating here!

MySweetWishList: Interfaith Family Services

According to Interfaith Family Services’ Board of Directors Chair Ashley Blanchette,

Ashley Blanchette*

“As the chair of Interfaith Family Services’ Board of Directors and as a mom, I was shocked to learn that Dallas now leads the nation in child poverty.  While many of us are blessed to enjoy a warm meal, a bed to call our own and the knowledge our children will have gifts to open during the holiday season, this is not the case for many Dallas families.  My wish is for the community to help us provide our families, who recently experienced homelessness, a joyous and memorable holiday with some of the basic comforts needed to thrive. Many families don’t have access to items that you and I might not think twice about, including warm coats or shoes, as they come to us from incredibly difficult situations, such as fleeing domestic violence or living in a car. Through your donation, Interfaith will be able to provide our families with essential items, including a hot Christmas dinner, which we plan to enjoy with our families this month. The season of giving is all about appreciating what we have and helping others who are in need of a ‘hand up’ this holiday!

Interfaith Family Services*

“Thanks to a number of organizations and individuals, Interfaith will provide each family with a Christmas tree, holiday décor, gifts and more. Though gifts and toys are a blessing to have, many families are still in need of everyday necessities. My hope is that our community can contribute to making this holiday season less stressful for families in Interfaith’s program.  Below is a breakdown of how each donation will directly benefit a family.

  • “$25 — Give one child a new pair of shoes
  • “$50 — Give one child a warm winter coat
  • “$100 — Give a family a holiday dinner
  • “$250 — Give a family a very Merry Christmas

“As members of the community, we have the great privilege of being able to serve the working poor and provide their children with a meaningful Christmas. To all the wonderful MySweetCharity readers out there, God Bless and I hope you enjoy the holidays!

“For more information on Interfaith Family Services and how to participate in the holiday giving, contact Ashley Agnew at 469.828.1805, or visit www.interfaithdallas.org.”

-By Ashley Blanchette, Interfaith Family Services board of directors chair

* Graphic and photo provided by Interfaith Family Services