Sun., December 21, 01:50 PM

I believe I heard just one new song this season. I think it really wasn’t a Christmas song so much as a public service announcement. It much have been recorded about sixty years ago (rough timeline).

The song is sung by Nat King Cole, who died in 1965; I don’t have to look that up. It’s a request to support Toys for Tots, a program started by the U.S. Marine a couple of years after War II ended. I knew about it but never paid much attention. Not only was I not a kid who wanted toys, but I’m quite sure my parents would never have accepted such a thing. We weren’t rich, but we weren’t that hard up.

My granddaughters, with lots of extended family, have an “embarrassment of riches.” Sometime around Thanksgiving their mother starts going through all their storage bins, weeding out toys that have outlived their usefulness and those that are still good enough to donate. Within a month they will have a whole new assortment of playthings. I don’t think they notice what has been removed.

Last month the girls accompanied their dad when he took me to the train. There was a collection box in the station, and Lila read all the words. But, “what does it mean, Daddy?” Her Daddy, his mother’s child, gave an extended explanation. Obviously, children without toys had never occurred to her.

Then Lila looked inside the box; she was concerned that there was only one toy in there. We assured her that the box had just been put there, and there would be more toys in the next couple of weeks.

I don’t know whether the concept of giving away toys will stay with her, but I hope it does. I certainly hope the box is full now.

With a spirit of giving, not getting, I wish you all Merry Christmas! Or happy Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/solstice/day off/holiday to the rest of you.

P.S. They have played it too often. I am now officially tired of hearing Nat Cole advertise Toys for Tots. Ahem.

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