Neighbors First

Days of all-inclusive social planning

December 17, 2005

Holiday social planning in Hood River these days quite often puts neighbors first.

Numerous individuals, clubs, school groups, churches, and businesses went to lengths this year to bolster the Hood River Christmas Project, which culminates another successful year this weekend. The same can be said for the collection efforts for the FISH food bank, where once again the Hood River Valley High School students surpassed the record, with 25,000 items of food totaled up this week. Heaven knows what homework and social gatherings the kids had to give up in November and December to accomplish this. Many thanks to the students, and to the citizens who delved into their pantries when the kids knocked on the door.

The drive has been the students’ focus for a number of weeks. Compare it to this item from Dec. 24, 1937, Hood River News: “Quite the largest social function planned for the college and school sets during the holidays is the Christmas dance to be given Dec. 29 by the Odell Alumni Association. The dance will be the first given in the new Odell gymnasium and is being eagerly awaited by the young people of both town and country. The affair is strictly invitational and cards which were mailed last Wednesday must be presented.”

This was of a time and place, with the Great Depression thawing, and the kids had every right to step out and celebrate.

But these days, seasonal observances are far from “strictly invitational.” Be it the annual fun of Elks’ Children’s Party (details on page A3) or the Christmas Day free community meal (page A5) planned by a Hood River woman, and any number of other goodwill offerings in the community, no invitation is necessary. Giving comes easy in Hood River, and it is a 24-hour activity.

On that note, we invite readers to enjoy the 23rd, and next-to-last, edition of “Around the Clock,” the hour-by-hour Saturday chronicle of life in the county. Stops have included 9-1-1 dispatch center, Relay For Life, a gas station, a care center, the post office, hat company, pear orchard, a Cascade Locks restaurant, the hospital, Parkdale School, Meals on Wheels, a Rotary meeting, Bonneville Dam, a packing house, a school bus, backstage at HRVHS, a printing press, a basketball camp, a pizza parlor, a towing company, the bowling alley, and, this week, a window factory.

The 24-hour odyssey ends in our Christmas Eve edition, with an hour in the life of someone involved in social planning — something that puts neighbors first.

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Director Judie Hanel presents the Steve Braunstein play “The Tangled Skirt” in an unusual theatrical setting, River Daze Café. Here, Bailey Brice (Bruce Howard) arrives at a small town bus station and has a fateful encounter with Rhonda Claire (Desiree Amyx Mackintosh). Small talk turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse and both seek advantage. The actors present the story as a staged reading in the café, where large windows and street lights lend themselves to the bus station setting, according to Hanel. Performances are 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, Saturday, Sept. 30 and Sunday, Oct. 1. (There is no Friday performance.) Tickets available at the door or Waucoma Bookstore: $15 adults, $12 seniors and children under 15. No children under 9. Enlarge

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