He dropped the last of the 47 boxes of Christmas decorations at my feet. Dust bunnies from the attic clung to his hair.
"This is it," he announced, a noticeable lack of holiday spirit in his voice. "Now leave me alone until Jan. 2."
TV Guide in hand, he prepared to retire to the bedroom. "I told you when we got married -- I don't decorate."
Scrooge lives, I thought. I could have argued but there was work to do. I pulled out my list.
1. Plug in all musical animated Christmas figures -- Frosty, Rudolph, Santa and assortment of Disney characters purchased at Price Club. Turn tinny, off-key music up very, very loud to annoy spouse who will not help.
2. Prepare popcorn to be strung for garland. Wonder aloud if microwaving Orville Redenbacher's Extra-Buttery clashes with tradition.
3. Search in vain for Christmas tree stand that was thrown out with last year's tree -- just like the year before that and the year before that . . .
4. Cover TV in Reynolds Wrap to make it look more festive.
5. Call seven closest friends to discuss the validity of the color pink as the Christmas color of the '90s.
6. Cover family in Reynolds Wrap to make them look more festive.
7. Locate holiday cassette tape purchased at Gas-n-Go. Weep over John Wayne's rendition of "The Little Drummer Boy."
Ra-ta-ta-tat, Glen Burnie.
More than just strings of lights and a revolving Santa or two, holiday decorating allows us to share our creativity with our neighbors. This time of year, an evening's drive is enhanced with the holiday lighting displays throughout the community.
The Glen Burnie Improvement Association shows its appreciation of these efforts with awards in three categories.
The homeowner with the "Best All Around" decorations will receive a $75 prize while those homes displaying the "Best Child Appeal" and "Most Original" decorations will be awarded $50 each.
Prizes of $25 will also be given for honorable mention.
The judging is scheduled for Christmas weekend.
For additional information, call 766-6760.
An original speech by Rebecca Gardiner has been selected to represent Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 434 in the District 6 Voice of Democracy script-writing contest on Sunday. The winner of Sunday's contest will go on to the state and possibly the national levels of competition.
Rebecca, a sophomore at Glen Burnie High, was participating in the VOD program for the first time. She wrote and recorded a five-minute speech on the theme "My Commitment to America."
Kim Servedio, also a 10th-grader at GBHS, was the first runner-up.
Members of the Old Mill Middle School South Chorus will entertain at the "Happy Helpers" luncheon distribution for the homeless at 1 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of the Glen Burnie Improvement Association.
Under the direction of music teacher Linda Kahl, approximately 30 students will share the message of the holidays with those less fortunate.
Amber Coffman, founder of Happy Helpers, is a member of the Old Mill chorus.
The music will be special, but the lunch distribution is business as usual for Amber and her Happy Helpers. Each Saturday, Amber, her mother, Bobbi, and several friends make 200 lunches.
Some of the lunches are given out on Saturday in front of the Salvation Army office in Glen Burnie. The rest are taken to Simple Sacrifice -- a homeless advocate program in Severn -- and stored for distribution the next day in Baltimore.
"We average about eight people helping every Saturday, but we really need at least 12," Mrs. Coffman said. "It takes 12 people two hours to make 200 sandwiches.
For information on volunteering, call 766-4973.
For the next few weeks it's "All Aboard" at Glen Burnie Mall, the home station for the North County Emergency Outreach Network's train garden. For a $1 donation shoppers can buy a chance to win the 8-by-12 modular O-gauge train garden. The winner will be announced at 2 p.m. Dec. 23.
This is the second year a train garden is being used as a fund-raiser for NCEON. Last year, $5,662 was raised for the relief efforts. This year's goal is $10,000.
All proceeds will be used to provide food, support and financial aid to area residents.
Point Pleasant Elementary School is opening its doors Saturday to Santa.
The fun starts at 9 a.m. when Santa joins the children for breakfast. Doughnuts, milk and coffee will be sold.
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., children and adults can finish up their last-minute shopping.
A visit to Santa's Secret Workshop finds inexpensive gift items for children to purchase. Volunteers will be available to help with the shopping and wrapping.
Dozens of artisans will display and sell holiday decorations, clothing, jewelry and toys.
Volunteers are still needed to help with breakfast or the workshop.
The event will take place in the school's primary building, 1035 Dumbarton Road.
To volunteer, call 768-4515.
Have you ever found a silver dollar or a "wheatie" penny and wondered if it was your ticket to fortune? Do you constantly check all your quarters before depositing that 25 cents into the phone? Did you realize that the history of the United States can be traced in a pocketful of change?
If collecting coins interests you, you may want to visit the open house being held by the South Glen Burnie Coin Club from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at VFW Post 160 on Dorsey Road.
The open house kicks off the club's annual membership drive.
Interested bidders are encouraged to arrive early to examine the items that will be sold at the monthly auction.
For additional information, call Jim Osborne, 766-2574.