Where did this long weekend go?
The prospect of a four-day holiday loomed large on Wednesday and suddenly it is Sunday afternoon and I’m wishing it was just Wednesday.
The weather here is downright crazy – 62 degrees right now and 32 degrees this time tomorrow. When I was outside this morning, some of the neighbors were putting up their Christmas decorations up in shirtsleeves.
Well, we’ve dispensed with Thanksgiving (unless of course you are still eating turkey sandwiches, hash, etc., etc.). Black Friday has come and gone and Small Business Saturday as well. Sunday is just kind of hanging out there and now it is all about Cyber Monday.
The cyber security experts are already issuing a caveat to clear your cookies wherever you order items online. There’s something strange about that expression, and clear your cache sounds much more eloquent … but I digress.
Somehow, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday have nearly crowded out the events in Ferguson, Missouri and the Ebola crisis from the main headlines.
Recently, the 2014 version of the song “Do They Know Its Christmas?” debuted. There are new artists and they have a new cause – getting funds to West Africa for the fight against Ebola. The original version, released around Thanksgiving or Christmas of 1984, helped generate money for the Ethiopia famine, already well into its second year.
Three decades ago, that song and their plight stirred our emotions, and made us aware of the dire conditions in that faraway land.
Thirty years ago on the Sunday after Thanksgiving my mom and I were busy baking cookies for a cause.
We had a regular assembly line going as we rotated cookie sheets, loaded with Mom’s specialty, her extra-large, chocolate-chip raisin oatmeal cookies. We shuttled the cookie sheets in and out of the oven at a breakneck pace, then lined the warm cookies up along the countertop to cool. I was in charge of eating any broken ones.
At the time I was working at a law firm in downtown Detroit. In mid-November, I polled my co-workers to see if they would participate in a Firm-wide bake sale to raise money which would be donated to the Red Cross for their efforts in Ethiopia. Everyone was agreeable and eager to help.
I tacked a calendar onto the bulletin board for the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Soon it was filled up with signatures … three or more promised items slated for each day.
I kicked off the bake sale on the Monday after Thanksgiving with ten dozen cookies which I arranged on Christmas plates in the kitchen area. I might as well have left them in the Tupperware container. They were gone in a heartbeat as everyone congregated around the coffeemakers and chatted about their respective Thanksgiving break. I had back-up brownies in case we depleted the goodies quickly and soon they were gone too. Well, the price was a steal – $0.25 for each item. One of the young attorneys had signed up to bring donuts the same day as me and he barely removed his coat and set his offerings out when a second wave of eaters were soon there to snarf ‘em down.
We continued for three weeks and raised $250.00.
Even one of the partners, who was rather a stuffed shirt about frivolity in the workplace, noticed the gathering every morning and contributed his special recipe Gorp (trail mix for those, like me, who’ve never heard of the term). He brought in gaily-wrapped baggies full of Gorp and surreptitiously watched to see who bought his contributions.
We had a ton of goodies and obviously some people must’ve put in more money than required. Probably a few goodies were snitched as well, but it didn’t matter in the end. The Firm’s partners matched the amount collected and I proudly zipped off our donation of $500.00 to the Red Cross to aid in the famine relief effort.
It was a great humanitarian experience for all of us, and one which was repeated over and over again, annually, and sometimes in the middle of the year just to raise money to set aside for a good cause. It gave us all a warm and fuzzy feeling to help out.
I never knew there were so many different ways to make brownies, and the eaters, er … coworkers, never seemed to tire of anything made of chocolate to get them through the hectic weeks leading up to the holidays.