Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Zone's Third Annual Toy Drive An Overwhelming Success!

   For the third year in a row now, I've had the pleasure of being a part of the Zone's Annual Toy Drive and I'm pleased to say it has been another successful event. I'm continually blown away by just how generous Victorians can be this time of year in spite of all the world's troubles. No donation was considered too big or too small because every little bit helps.
   This was the pile about 20 minutes after I arrived. I can't even see the items I brought because it built up so fast!
   From the beginning this toy drive has been hosted by local radio station 91.3 The Zone and benefits the St. Vincent De Paul Social Concern Office, an organization dedicated to assisting the less fortunate. I enjoy taking part in this toy drive and I'll continue to do so whenever I can. I've had a few Christmases in my early youth that wouldn't have happened without the donations of strangers, so it feels good to be able to give back whatever little bit I can. As usual Megan and I bought a bunch of small, cute stuffed animals that are guaranteed to make some kids smile.
   This year I even had a little help from my managers at the book store I work at and we put together a nice bundle of children's books for donation on behalf of the store. The books were gratefully accepted and many of the Zone's staff were delighted to see a book about space since the phrase "Spacebook!" often comes up in conversations about anything to do with outer space. Believe me, it happens a lot.
   I always enjoy it when I get to meet and mingle with the staff at the Zone and it's great that they will always remember who their listeners and friends are. I felt like Norm from the old show Cheers when I got a round of "Will!" as I arrived. Too bad I didn't have a witty line like Norm would have.
   After dropping off the toys and books, I stuck around to mingle and watch as more donations came in then I helped to load the truck at the end. I even got to participate in a morning show game live on the air called Dylan vs. The World. Normally, listeners would call in for this game, but I think because the hosts were on location and not in the studio they decided to ask someone who was present and they picked me. In the game listeners go up against morning announcer Dylan answering general trivia questions read by morning show co-announcer Jason. The listener is asked to choose one of two categories and is asked the first question. If a player gets an answer wrong, the other player has a chance to steal a point if they know the answer. The questions go back and forth until one player gets two correct answers.
   The category I chose was Charities, since we were at a charity event. After a strike each for both Dylan and myself, I got one point, he got one point, and suddenly I scored the tie breaker with my correct answer about Doctors Without Borders. I won! I won't say what my prize was as I intend to share it with someone as a gift, but it's still a victory for me. I almost never win anything! It's a Christmas radio miracle!
   Enough about me. To use a real cliche phrase here, the real winners today are the children. By the end of the Toy Drive the pile was huge! There are going to be a lot of very happy kids this holiday!
This angle shows how all the bins, and the sleigh, supporting the pile were stuffed to capacity!
   Thanks again to my friends at the Zone for letting me hang out and thanks to everyone who took the time to make a donation and a special thanks to Mother Nature for the dry weather. It may have been a little chilly, but it was nice to see the sun!
   I look forward to next year's Toy Drive.
The Wandering Oak

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Missing Sock Comes Home

   We've all lost socks in our laundry. It's a fact most of us have learned to live with and a lot of us have fun speculating on where they might go. Did they go to another dimension? Did gnomes take them? Did the machines eat them? Are they in Narnia?
   Several months ago I lost a sock to the laundry gods, and I realize that's not such an interesting thing to write about, but would you believe me if I told you that my missing sock came home?
   In early August I was staying at a hotel in Comox, BC while I worked at the Filberg Festival. During my stay I visited my Mother-in-Law and her husband and took them up on their offer to use their laundry machines. That's when I figure my aforementioned sock went missing, only I wouldn't notice this until I returned to Victoria and unpacked. I didn't have time to sort and fold my clean laundry in Comox and simply shoved it all into my bag the night before I went home.
   Although it was only just a sock and not the end of the world, we decided to tell Megan's mother to keep her eyes open for it and I hung on to the spare sock just in case the mate turned up. It's a brand new sock that has only been worn once and looks nothing like her husband's socks. It was either at her house or I lost it at the hotel, though I'm sure I checked that room many times over to be sure I didn't leave anything. Traveller's OCD.
   Two months passed and when we visited again for the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday in October someone mentioned the missing sock. Megan's mom had seen it but misplaced it again in the shuffle as she was clearing out old clothing. No big deal. At least it's still in this dimension.
   Two more months have passed since then and out of the blue I got an envelope in the mail yesterday from Megan's mother addressed to me. I'm not going to lie, I had actually forgotten about the sock and at first I couldn't figure out what she'd send me. It was Megan that got it right away when she picked up the envelope. Sure enough, there was my sock wrapped in paper, still as gleaming white as the day I bought it, and pressed flat by the sorting machines at the postal station.
   I'm glad I kept the spare sock.
"Re-united... and it feels so good!"
The Wandering Oak
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