Looking gift horses in the mouth: an annual ritual of catharsis

NEIGHBORS

December 29, 1993|By BONITA FORMWALT

"What is it?" I asked, poking at the large metal object on the dining room table. It appeared to be a power tool of some kind.

"It's a SAWZALL," replied Sharon. "He gave me a SAWZALL for Christmas."

We murmured our sympathies. Although Sharon's husband always gave her odd Christmas gifts, he usually managed to avoid Hechinger's.

"I'm next," said Pat. She stood up and flung open her coat to reveal a red leather dress.

"I thought she was making some strange noises when she sat down," Sharon whispered.

We were debating the merits of dry cleaning the dress vs. saddle soap when Cathy interrupted.

"Doesn't anyone care that I got a talking scale for a gift!" She was livid. "It announces how much I weigh -- loudly. If I want any privacy I have to turn on the shower and sing every time I get on the scale."

An involuntary shudder ran through the group. The technology of the '90s was going to get us yet.

I went to the cabinet and returned with an envelope, which I waved in front of their faces.

"A gift certificate to one of the most popular stores in the area," I announced, basking in the green glow of their envy.

NB "Wait a minute!" Cathy was younger and her eyesight was sharp.

"This is a gift certificate to Giant."

I reminded her that Giant carried a lovely line of eau de toilette, stuffed animals and nail polish.

"And cheese," she replied sarcastically. "Don't forget the deli department."

Gathering their gifts my friends prepared to leave. We would TTC meet again next year. It was our gift to ourselves. In the meantime . . .

Many happy returns, Glen Burnie.

* Celebrate New Year's Eve with a party from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 160 on Dorsey Road.

The $10 admission includes a buffet dinner and draft beer. Soft drinks and other liquors will be sold at the bar for half price.

At midnight, revelers can welcome 1994 with complimentary champagne and party favors.

Rosemary Mounts, bar manager for the post, will serve as the "designated driver" for patrons.

"I do it every year," Mounts said. "I don't drink, so anyone who needs a ride home, I'll drive them."

Profits from the party are used to finance community service projects.

Last Christmas, members of the post distributed 25 holiday food baskets to needy families.

Tickets are available by calling 766-9802.

* Families of students attending county schools are invited to visit the Parent Involvement Center at Oakwood Elementary School, 330 Oak Manor Road. Classes and workshops are scheduled on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Individual counseling and referrals are available by appointment.

The center has scheduled a full agenda of sessions for the month of January, including:

Jan. 4, Megaskills for Parents; Jan. 5, Current Trends in Physical Education and Motor Development; Jan. 6, Guiding Your Child Toward Successful Career Selection.

Jan. 11, 18, 25, Conflict Resolution; Jan. 12, Principles of Encouragement; Jan. 13, Early Intervention in Treatment of Autism.

NB Jan. 19, How Children Grieve; Jan. 20, Sexual Harassment; Jan.

26, Your Pupil Personnel Worker in Connection With Home, School and Community; Jan. 27, Make It-Take It, for parents of children in Grades 1-5.

In addition to the classes at Oakwood, a satellite center will offer sessions at High Point Elementary School in Pasadena starting Jan. 5. satellite centers at Van Bokkelen and Lothian Elementary schools are slated to open in February.

For information on classes at Oakwood, call 222-6429.

* The generosity of the Glen Burnie Lions Club made the holidays special for several of our neighbors who have vision or hearing impairments.

When a father was laid off from his job right before the holidays, he had to tell his two young daughters there wouldn't be any presents under the tree this year.

The Lions adopted the family, paying their rent for January and providing gift certificates and toys -- wrapped and ready -- to be placed under the tree for Christmas morning.

A new set of eyeglasses were also provided for the oldest daughter.

Another of the club's holiday projects was the gift of a 19-inch, color, close-captioned television set to a 9-year-old hearing-impaired Glen Burnie girl.

On a larger scale, the club sponsored a visit from a signing Santa Claus at the Glen Burnie Mall.

This was the fourth consecutive year that hearing-impaired children from area schools were able to communicate with Santa stand-in Steve Frank.

The new year finds the Glen Burnie Lions in search of new members.

Men and women interested in addressing the needs of the hearing and vision impaired are invited to join.

The club meets at 6:59 p.m. every second and fourth Tuesday at Faye's Dorsey Road Diner.

The next meeting is Jan. 11.

For information on the club call Steve Fowler, 255-5660.

* Michael Pfister of Glen Burnie was the grand prize winner of the train garden raffled to benefit the North County Emergency Outreach Network. Pfister will take home a 4-by-8-foot snow scene with two train sets.

In addition to the grand prize, three smaller train sets were awarded. Second prize went to Elain Cantal, of Pasadena. Cindy Miller, also of Pasadena, won third prize, and J.J. Nolan, of Baltimore, won fourth prize.

Approximately $6,000 was raised for NCEON to provide food and emergency assistance for local families.

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