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The Top Of The Mountain



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As with so much, the Ram Pasture Tree Lighting is a bit different in 2020. You will still enjoy the lovely luminaria lighting the streets on Friday evening, December 4, as well as those that circle Hawley Pond. But the public is invited to a “Silent Night Stroll” to visit the trees leisurely, between 5 and 10 pm, in hopes that it will keep the crowd size to a minimum at any time. Sponsored by the Borough of Newtown and Newtown Parks & Recreation, they remind visitors to wear masks, and practice physical distancing as needed.

Visit newtownyouthandfamilyservices.org to find out details on the Holiday Festival that begins Sunday, December 6. The organization has done a great job of developing COVID-19-safe events, virtually and a few in-person, to celebrate the season. Festival of the Trees will be on view in the Alexandria Room of Edmond Town Hall this Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm, as well as on December 12 — or make your bid online, if an in-person visit does not appeal to you. Also on Sunday, you may see small teams scouting about town to turn up the NYFS clues in the Road to Disney Scavenger Hunt. Carolers? You can schedule a small group of singers to serenade friends or family from a safe distance, as well, and support NYFS by doing so.

Hope On Main Street is also eager to bring some cheery singing — to local cancer survivors — on Sundays, December 6 and 13, during the hours of 4-7 pm. You can sign up, with a suggested donation of at least $20 to support American Cancer Society research, at hopeonmainstreet.com/jingle-jam-for-a-cause.html. A decorated float will pull up to the address you choose, and bring holiday cheer to that home with music, dance, and singing. All of this safely distanced, masks on, of course!

Just a reminder that the Friends of the C.H. Booth Library are hosting the annual Holiday Book and Gift Sale during library hours — and this year, it continues through December 31 (just in case you are looking for that perfect New Year’s gift). Check out chboothlibrary.org for library hours, and please, wear a mask and respect social distancing as you shop.

What about a gift for your favorite pooch? The Humane Society has a few suggestions: Hard rubber toys are great, as are the thick, woven and knotted “bones.” Some of the hard rubber toys can be filled with treats or peanut butter to keep your dog busy and curious. And just like people, dogs do have “lovies,” that is, soft toys they like to carry around. If your dog is not apt to tear it apart and swallow the fluff, a soft toy may become a favorite. Keep an eye on any items with squeakers inside, as a persistent pup can work it out and potentially swallow it. You’ll want to look for a toy that is tough enough to withstand ripping, biting, and other playful attacks, though, if that is more your dog’s nature. The Humane Society even has a suggestion that will cost you nothing: old T-shirts, blankets, and pillow cases can offer comfort and fun for some dogs; so long as it is not an item you ever expect to get back intact! Flying disks and balls are great outdoor fun for the very active pup — and pet owner. Know your dog and you can be sure your special gift will be one that is not only a joy, but safe, as well.

The monthly drive-through food drive at FAITH Food Pantry, 46 Church Hill Road, takes place this Saturday, from 10 am to noon. Socially distanced volunteers will unload your donations as you drive up. Please check the FAITH website, newtownfoodpantry.org, for a list of most-needed items. Remember that a donation box is also set up in the lobby of The Newtown Bee, 5 Church Hill Road, where you are welcome to leave donations Monday-Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. (You’ll find a donation box for Toys For Tots in our lobby, as well.)

The Newtown Senior Center continues to offer Drive-In Lunch and Learn programs. Early bird Bee readers are reminded that Newtown Savings Bank will present the Lunch and Learn this Friday, December 4, focused on fraud detection. On December 11, the Drive-In Lunch and Learn will present speakers from The Watermark at East Hill, with tips on healthy sleep habits. For either of these programs, pull up into the parking lot by the 8 Simpson Street Newtown Senior Center at 11:30 am, tune in to radio station 87.9 FM, and enjoy! Call the Center at 203-270-4310 to register for a provided lunch.

By the way, the Senior Center continues to offer virtual and in-person programs for members. Billiards, Crafting, Pilates, Spanish, Chair Yoga, Ping Pong, Knitting, Art Class, Zumba, Quilting, Meditation, Tai Chi, and more are among the offerings. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, most in-person classes are limited as to how many can participate, so members need to call 203-270-4310 for details on signing up. You’ll find the complete newsletter for December at www.newtown-ct.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif3546/f/uploads/december_2020_newsletter_6.pdf. Not a member? You can find out how to join by calling the Center or checking out the newsletter. (Hint: At $20/year per Newtown senior, it is quite a bargain!)

There are so many good organizations in our town that need support. If you missed this past week’s “Giving Tuesday” to donate to your favorite local charity, remember that every day can be a giving day. From the Parent Connection to the Newtown Fund and on through the long list of other groups and foundations that help others, bring joy to others, or provide needed services, every little bit helps. Give if you can, receive if you are in need. It is all good.

How about a Good Egg Award for the staff of the Citgo full-service station on Church Hill Road? No matter the weather, no matter how goofy the request or actions of customers, these service people are always smiling and ready to help you get your vehicle back on the road with a full tank of gas. Thank you, to each of you!

If you are planning your holiday grocery shopping, Stop & Shop asks that you keep in mind that Connecticut stores will close at 6 pm on December 24, Christmas Eve, and the pharmacy will close that day at 5 pm. The store is closed on Christmas Day, December 25. Looking a little further ahead to New Year’s Eve, Connecticut Stop & Shop stores will close at 9 pm, the pharmacy at 5 pm. Online shopping will close at 8 pm on New Year’s Eve. On New Year’s Day, stores will follow regular hours. It might be wise to check with other local businesses as the Christmas holiday draws near, too, in case there are changes to shopping hours.

I read an Associated Press release with pleasure this week, as it noted that President-elect Biden and his wife plan to get a cat once they move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The kitty will join the rescue shepherd Major (the playful source of our next president’s mildly fractured foot this past weekend) and the older shepherd, Champ. Purr-sonally, I am thrilled to know the White House will once again be home to some pets.

It’s probably no surprise that bird watching is one of my favorite activities. But lately I’ve been watching as squirrels and deer devour the bird seed from the bird feeder, and frustrating the finches, chickadees, and cardinals that are so much fun to watch. I would consider the hot pepper bird seed available — which does not bother birds, but is quite the unpleasant surprise to mammals; it seems a little harsh, though. So I guess I will just learn to love the antics of the squirrels as they work to overcome the squirrel guard, and hope that Bambi soon forgets this easy source of food. Birds or beasts, it does give me much to keep an eye on.

I hope you will be keeping an eye on this column. Be sure next week to... Read me again.

Betty Presnell is a Good Egg!
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