LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN !!!

Not that any of us could stop it... even if we wanted to. Y2k -- with all its buggy fears -- is on its way out. 

Y2k+1 is on it's way in, and with it we'll be updating many of gozarks regular features, putting them on-line so you have something joyous, refreshing and relaxing to read on New Year's Day.

So please do stop by for a visit tomorrow. Share a cup of Egg Nog and a few heartfelt wishes with us. And, make sure to check our Whats New page to see all the latest and greatest stuff we've added to gozarks since you strolled our way last.

Santa Claus: the true story

From an email passed along to us by Deb.

I remember my first Christmas party with Grandma. I was just a kid.  

I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered.  "Even dummies know that!"  

My grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns. 

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. 

"No Santa Claus!" she snorted.  "Ridiculous!   Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let's go."  

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second  cinnamon bun.   

"Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. 

"Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.  

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.  

I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobbie Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class.  

Bobbie Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out for recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobbie Decker didn't have a cough, and he didn't have a coat. 

I fingered the ten-dollar bill with  growing excitement. I would buy Bobbie Decker a coat.  I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that. 

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.  

"Yes," I replied shyly. "It's ... for Bobbie."  

The nice lady smiled at me. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas.  

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons, and write, "To Bobbie, From Santa Claus" on it -- Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobbie Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers.  

Grandma parked down the street from Bobbie's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."  

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobbie.  

Forty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my grandma, in Bobbie Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team. 

A CELESTIAL GIFT came our way the morning of  December 25. The moon slid in front of the sun, creating a partial solar eclipse that was visible from most of North America and the Caribbean. 

This neck of the Ozarks, however, did not produce clear skies, so us local did not see the event unfold beginning at about 9:30am (CT), and were denied the opportunity to catch a glimpse of what must have looked like a small dent in the side of the sun.

For future eclipse viewing, always remember that extreme caution is advised as looking directly at the sun can and does cause permanent blindness. Even multiple layers of sunglasses, exposed film, and other jerry-rigged filters let through dangerous amounts damaging ultraviolet light.

However, according to the powers that be, a #14 or higher set if arc-welder's glass is a safe filter, and a simple low-tech, low-cost eclipse viewer can be made from a piece of tin-foil and a cardboard box. 

Called a ''pinhole projector,'' the device consists of a tall cardboard box with a  small section cut from the bottom. This hole is covered with a taped-on piece of aluminum foil and a single neat pinhole is pricked through it. 

By aiming the foil side of the box at the
sun and holding the open bottom of the box over a clean white surface (like a piece of paper) the pinhole will project an inverted image of the sun onto the surface.

So now you have an entertaining and educational activity to share with your family, even if the chance passed you by during this holiday season. And you have the makings of a perfect gift -- a ''pinhole projector'' -- that is easy to make and practically free!!!

(Note, for more ''free'' gift giving ideas, visit our eShopper page. Low-cost and no-cost suggestions are sprinkled in-between a leisurely stroll through a plethora of specialty boutiques.)

SPECIAL HOLIDAY FORECAST.... An early report for special friends from
the Official Grand Poobah of Fairfield Bay, Arkansas weather (known to us locally as Mary Alice Beer)... 

Christmas Forecast

(Taken from an email pass-along.)


Turkey will thaw in the morning, then warm in the oven to an afternoon high near 190 deg F. The kitchen will turn hot and humid, and if you bother the cook, be ready for a severe squall or cold shoulder. 

 

During late afternoon and evening, the cold front of a knife will slice through the turkey, causing an accumulation of one or two inches on plates. Mashed potatoes will drift across one side while cranberry sauce creates slippery spots on the other. Please pass the gravy.

 

A weight watch and indigestion warning have been issued for the entire area with increased stuffiness around the beltway. During the evening, the turkey will diminish and taper off to leftovers, dropping to a low of 34 F in the refrigerator.

 

Looking ahead to next Tuesday and Wednesday, high pressure to eat sandwiches will be established. Flurries of leftovers can be expected both days with a 50 percent chance of scattered soup late in the day. We expect a warming trend where soup develops. By late next week, eating pressure will be low as the only wish left will be the bone.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa made a special guest appearance at the Shirley Community Center during the town's annual Christmas Party, held  Saturday, December 9. For a look at the photo-essay, by gozarks own cub reporter Adam Weiss, click here!

Typical to Arkansas weather, last week we were chilled to the bone and now temps are in the 50s and 60s. As to our hopeful forecast, we say....

Let It Snow!!!

It changes our plans, chills our feet, and makes things slide around... but we love it!!! And, as this view from my living room window shows, Mother Nature's veil of white is mighty pretty to behold. Wanna go sledding? Or maybe you'd rather....

Dance, Dance, Dance!  The "Happy Feet Dance Club" is tapping its collective toes to the tune of hospitality. And, they want your feet to join in!!!

The loosely structured organization, formed  by a small group of friends who wanted to dance in a wholesome and alcohol-free environment, kicked off earlier this year in Fairfield Bay. 

Now, 60 to 100 folks in fine fettle trip the light fantastic every Friday night. Swaying, bopping, and jiving to the tunes of performers like Don Nunnley and the Goodtimers, Sonny Parker, the Westereners, Bill Page, Opal Gilchrist, Feather River, Steve Trawick, Cotton Nixon, Bill and Sharon Haislip, and Sweet Corn. And, even though the weekly event is held at the Fairfield Bay Senior Citizen Center on Dave Creek Parkway near the Lakewood Village Mall, it's not just Seniors who attend. 

According to organizers, every age group is welcome, including families with youngsters who are looking to find a great way to do fun things together. And the cost is modest in the extreme. 

Annual membership dues of $5 is requested, however anyone is welcome to attend any dance without the benefit of membership and voluntary donations are the only admission fee. For more info, contact Joyce,   501-884-3565, or Michael, 501-723-4009, michael@hypertech.net and watch for announcements about the special activities of this group on our Community Calendar!

Next up, we have some news of our own to share. Being the holiday season, it comes under the heading of ''gift giving,'' and we hope you'll like it a lot. 

What we've done is set up a sort of personalized shopping boutique. We call it the eShopper, and what you'll find there are great ideas for gifts you can give for FREE, plus links to specialty items offered by others that we really like. 

And last but far, far from least for this round of updates, we invite you to take a peek at an artful computer- painting done by local artist Teresa Jamell Robbins.

Now, remember if you're looking to find information that appeared on November's Front Page or the front page of any of our previous editions, just visit our Archives and follow the links.  

So, warm-up that cup of hot chocolate, snuggle some comfy slippers on those feet, and click your way through our ever-changing pages. And while you're at it, say a small silent prayer of thankfulness for all the goodness you hold dear, tucking in a few extra warm wishes for all of our readers, our columnists, our advertisers and the Hyper Tech team -- and everyone else who makes it possible for us to continue to publish gozarks on the Internet.

Happy Holidays!!!

Christmas ClipArt above and in header courtesy of AAAClipArt.com

Christine Louise Weiss, Editor
editor@gozarks.com  

Justin Bonds, Webmaster
justin@hypertech.net
 

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121600

 

Happy Holidays from 

Hyper Tech and gozarks!!!


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