EDITORíS DESK: Christmas... do you feel it yet?

       'Tis the season, and didn't that happen fast? But that's OK. Christmas is fun, whether I feel prepared or not. By the time the actual date rolls around, it always seems like the right time. Is it that way for you too? (Apologies to any of you who don't celebrate Christmas for whatever reason. But you truly don't know what you're missing.) I've had Christmases when it felt as if I couldn't buy enough gifts and times when my monetary status was down to that of the couple in O. Henry's "Gift of the Magi." Yet the spirit of Christmas was still there, clean and true, so the material stuff didn't really matter. I was just sorry this year that deadlines prevented us from seeing Woodman Valley Chapel's producton of "Scrooge." That story of Charles Dickens is one of the best things ever written. Christmas and redemption? In an odd way, it seems appropriate.
       Looking out at our Westside world in December 2010, we are constantly reminded how bleak the economy is. So many events call for a can of food anymore, I should probably just keep a permanent stock in the trunk of my car or one in my coat pocket. Maybe that sounds insensitive. It's just that times are so different now. It's especially galling to get hit up for handouts by able-bodied young men. I'm not an expert on the job market, but I do know that work is out there for those who really go looking... especially when you're young. It may not be the job you always wanted - and believe me, I can talk about that. You think I've always just walked into writing jobs? Try dishwasher, short-order cook, warehouseman, construction laborer, sod-layer, bus driver, ditch-digger, furniture mover, furniture finisher. Other guys and I would hang out at the temporary job office, ready to take anything (anything!) if our names were called. Once I worked all day, made $26, spent it all on a purse for Therese. It wasn't Christmas, but it felt like it.

- K.J.