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December 24th, 2003

Today I drive to Camden, Arkansas, through Hope.
Atop a downtown building in Hope, I'll see Santa's sleigh being drawn by seven razorback hogs. Some night this week, we'll drive out into the woods outside Fairview to see the Jeffus home. The Jeffus family and their neighbors all put on an immense light display that virtually amounts to a holiday theme park. The leaping dolphin is my favorite, but I'm sympathetic with those who prefer the cannon shooting flashing lights across the sky.

We'll have lunch at my sister's home, as various of my relatives must head to in-laws or former in-laws for part of the festivity. Tonight we'll have sirloin steak, following which Santa usually arrives with a complement of toys on Christmas Eve. When I was a kid, Santa frequently would leave presents while my family was out on a drive, touring Christmas lights at neighboring homes, and singing "Jingle Bells" together. I do not remember us as having chorale-worthy voices, but I still love to sing "Jingle Bells".

If the weather holds warm, I'll do some fishing and some hiking. Chill weather will confine me to hiking.

Last night I stopped in Target to get a 10 year old nephew a present. Although this is my "hunt and fish" nephew, the fishing equipment had apparently been relegated to seasonal obscurity and while I do not fault him for Bambi patrol, nor do I encourage that hobby in particular. It's a way many fellows bond with other fellows in their family, so I'll leave him to it. I'll just pass on the 10 gauge and orange camouflage, thank you very much.

I despaired of finding anything, when I had a moment's thought--"hey, this is a 10 year old kid. He'll like a world of things! What would I like when I was 10".

Then I saw the old-fashioned game Stratego, in a boomer-tempting "Nostalgia Games" wooden box.
When I was a kid, I loved to play Stratego. I hope that he doesn't mind that the game doesn't have electronic components, designer labels, or
anything remotely resembling an issue of Field and Stream.