The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle

I have stood as a greeter, on The Salvation Army Christmas kettle, many times over the past forty years. My usual placement is the liquor store. During my early years as a greeter, I would meet a lot of my friends and those whom I played soccer or softball against. Most of them knew that I didn’t drink alcohoolic beverages and the reasons why.

It always troubled me and still does when I see some of them who drink to access and some who have lost everything because of their addiction to alcohol. It bothers me when I see parents bring their children into the liquor store and when I see young people, who need to have their id checked, purchasing alcoholic products. The amount of alcohol, that some people purchase, still astounds me.

Two things stand out from my last placement. An aquaintance, who I had known years ago and whom I as well as others had tried to help, came in to buy his flask. He stood at the cashier and glanced my way and called me by name. I could see the sadness and the memories of what used to be. We spoke, from a short distance and he turned, looked back and walked away. He was unsteady as the alcohol had ravaged his body and his mind.

I had a short conversation with the gentleman, whom I replaced as a greeter, on the kettle. He was a few years older then me and I had never met him before. After we introduced ourselves, he mentioned that he had known my father. This is what he said, ‘”when your father and his good friend, would go moose hunting they would take the liquor store with them.” A bit exaggerated but he spoke the truth.

The stories, related, are a couple of the reasons why I don’t drink alcoholic beverages, There are many others…  ..

Paula’s Christmas Story

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