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Sunday, May 31, 2020
Boomers are booming!

Jingle! Jingle! Jingle!

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By Jene Hedden, Publisher, ShelbyBoomer.com


     For me, there are certain sounds of December that just take my thoughts to Christmas. Yes, there are the traditional carols and pop songs we have heard since our youth, choirs singing in the malls and horns blasting along main street. These are all sounds of Christmas. But there is another sound that I associate with Christmas. It’s the sound I hear above the auto engines as I walk across the Target or WalMart parking lot. It begins as a tiny tinkle and grows as I near the point of its origin. I see the object as I recognize the person creating this high pitched noise and the red bucket hung from a simple tripod by a short chain. I hear the ringing of the tiny brass bell. It’s the Salvation Army Christmas drive once more.

     For many years…I have lost track of how many… my friend Tom and I have volunteered to ring the bell together for one hour usually on the Friday before Christmas between 7 to 8 PM. Most often, we man the kettle in front of Kroger or WalMart.

     We have rung the bell in all kinds of weather…cold, snowy, windy, foggy, rainy and, once or twice, it was even pleasant out!   Sometimes, we purchase cups of coffee, not for drinking, but to keep our hands warm. When the coffee gets cold, we dump it out and buy another cup. We shake the bell until, if we’re not careful, it slides right out of our hands whether gloved or not.

     As we greet the passing shoppers, some stop to drop a coin or paper bill in the red kettle. Most return our greeting with a warm Merry Christmas. A few fumble in their pockets for loose change, and when they find none, walk on. We wish them a Merry Christmas as well.

     Since first starting this annual tradition many years ago, Tom and I have always worn red Santa hats. As a result, my white beard makes some small children look at me twice, though I’m sure I do not compare with the Coca Cola image.

     So when you hear the tinkle of that tiny bell, don’t be surprised if somewhere off in the distance of a nearby parking lot, you see a couple of Boomer age guys in Santa hats smiling and extending a holiday greeting while jingling a bell by a red kettle for the Salvation Army.  It might be Tom and me. Then again, they might be Santa’s helpers!