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Girl Talk
The ‘Great Santa Claus Chase’ of 2013
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

December 18. 2013 6:00AM
This could have been the year without a Santa Claus.

Now don’t go crying to your mom or dad - keep reading on.

Let me be more specific. This could have been the year without a picture of Santa Claus on the pages the Brandon Valley Challenger.

Over the course of two days earlier this month, I had four opportunities to snap photos of the jolly ol’ elf with kids (and adults) right here in Brandon and neighboring Valley Springs.

Yep, that’s right. Santa Claus, the Mrs. and a few elves were scheduled to be front and center at four various venues throughout a weekend. I had them all on my schedule, and one by one, Santa’s four stops and my Nikon weren’t seeing eye to lens, so to speak.

To start the weekend Santa spree off, Santa and the Mrs. got a reprieve from their first appearance of the season at Brandon’s Christmas Lights Parade. Bone-chilling temperatures – too fierce even for a guy who lives at the North Pole – called off the parade and photo opportunities afterwards at the local Chamber of Commerce.

Cross that one off the list.

On Saturday, Santa was scheduled for a 10:15 a.m. stop at the Brandon Community Library. I, however, at that same time was seated on the sidelines of a wrestling match snapping photos of our high school athletes in action at the Rider Invitational.

OK, cross that one off the list too.

I had no fear though, as St. Nick was scheduled to arrive via a Valley Springs fire truck at the city’s American Legion Hall at 3 that same afternoon.

So shortly before 3, I hit the road for Valley Springs steering my purplish-blue Impala across the snow-covered, icy roadway. I pulled into town five or so minutes before Santa was scheduled to arrive, and reached for my camera bag, only to discover I’d grabbed my purse, not my camera bag.

No problem, I thought to myself, I’ll use the handy-dandy camera on my cell phone.
But when I went to grab that, I realized it, too, was in the camera bag, which I’d lugged to the wrestling match and then to the Holidazzle cheer and dance event earlier in the day.

Hesitantly, I made the choice to scratch that Santa-sighting off the list, too.

So that left me with Sunday, and Santa’s promise to make a showing at Bethany’s Christmas pageant. As you may have seen in last week’s Challenger, Santa was there. And so were my Nikon and I.

In the days that followed, I thought about my weekend chase of photo opportunities with Santa, and quickly came to the conclusion that I should’ve climbed aboard his lap to present him with my Christmas wish list.

After all, one’s never too old to believe in Santa Claus and Christmas wishes.

* * *

This Christmas, may all your wishes come true. And remember, Jesus is truly the reason for the season.

Merry Christmas to you all!
Community organization needs
With the change of seasons comes a change of new needs at the Brandon Area Food Pantry. Among the seasonable requests are hot chocolate mix, bottled juices, baking supplies (flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, chocolate chips, etc.), snack crackers, pizza sauce, Manwich, oatmeal (in canister).

While always appreciated, the Pantry has a large supply of canned goods in stock. Monetary donations are always appreciated.

Before donating, please check the expiration date, as expired food items cannot be distributed.

The BAFP is located at 406 Main Ave., and is open from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. To donate to the food pantry or for more information, call 582-7001.

The Brandon Lions Club also wants your aluminum cans. Proceeds from the sale of aluminum funds requests to the Club for vision and hearing impairment needs.

The Lions Club collection shed is located in the Sunshine Foods parking lot.






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