Etcetera - 01/22/10

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Janet and Dan Clark reported that 1,725 shoe box gifts for children around the world were collected locally during the 2009 Operation Christmas Child collection week. It "was a big success thanks to the generosity of the Walla Walla Valley community," Janet said. She also mentioned the ongoing hospitality of Northwest Collision, which continues to provide a home for the collection activities. She cited the services of the Union-Bulletin and KGTS to inform the public about this project, too.

An additional five cartons of gift items were shipped with the shoe boxes to the processing center in Santa Ana, Calif. The extra items filled in boxes that needed just a little more. The total number of shoe box gifts that were shipped from the processing center was 567,630. The Clarks heard from the California center that the shoe boxes there were designated for delivery to children in China, Indonesia, Peru, Mongolia and the Philippines.

Personally, the Clarks' grandsons received word through the EZ Give program offered by Operation Christmas Child that their shoeboxes were being sent to boys in Peru.

For more about Operation Christmas Child online, see www.samaritanspurse.org or call Janet or Dan at 529-7178.

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I'm relieved that we solved the mystery of where the dirt goes in our back yard. Scarlett, our 8-month-old Welsh corgi puppy, who we believe is secretly descended from Welsh coal miners, does a significant amount of excavating in our back yard. It's becoming as crater-divoted as the moon's surface.

She normally has white stockings on her short legs. But following a bit of naughty, parent-disapproved digging, she sashays into the house sporting black stockings and is grimy-dirty to her chest and tummy.

Winter froze the earth for a time, but it was an all-too-brief respite. As soon as the ground thawed the other day, she began moving molecules out there. She doesn't have the good grace to put the dirt back. When we refill the holes, they never level out. There's always a depression -- in more than one way.

"Where does the dirt go," I keep asking. My friend Louise said it must be that Scarlett wears the rest of it into the house. She's escorted directly to the bathroom for a hosedown, though, so that's really where the dirt goes -- down the drain.

Other friends responded to my mystery: Scarlett's breeder, Tami, said she thinks it's our Gordon setter, Emma, who is the hole digger but blames it on Scarlett. "A Pembroke would never do that kind of thing. It is undignified. I would blame it on Emma," Tami said emphatically. "You know those bird dogs ..."

And friend Annie said that when she washed their dog Buster after he played in the dirt, he would get about five shades lighter. "Same goes for our new dog Chase."

My fervent wish is Scarlett will tire of this pursuit. But we may need to keep a pile of dirt handy -- outside the backyard -- so we can smooth out the moonscape. So far my husband hasn't bought into my idea that we need a mini-excavator, say a nice little Bobcat bulldozer, so I can move dirt around our place at will, or after Scarlett, whichever comes first. It's a fantasy, but sure fun to dream.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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