The inevitable clouding of the skies, coming of the rains and canceling of our star parties means that the observing year is coming to an end. It’s time to put away the telescope, but not too deep in the garage in case we get one of those clear cold nights in February that breaks up the winter doldrums.
My father grew up on a farm in Iowa and his favorite season was winter because it was play time. Summer was for hard work; winter was for taking care of animals, repairing tools, and ice skating and going on hayrides. In that vein, I started to inventory my equipment and make my ToDo list for winter. Among my warm clothing I found half a bag of items that I don’t take observing with me anymore, or never did. There are extra hats, scarves, gloves and even an odd pair of après ski socks that make my feet too hot. Every star party, I go through this bag but never take any of these items with me because they’re extras and duplicates.
At the October meeting I announced that we would have a warm clothes fashion show at the December holiday dinner, but to tell the truth, this idea has received only lukewarm response. It occurred to me that a better plan would be to gather up these extra clothes and give them to the shelters. So scratch the fashion show; disaster avoided. But if you have any extra warmies that you don’t need or use but that are clean and in good repair, please bundle them up and bring them to the holiday potluck on December 19. Every observer knows what it is to be cold late into the night. And most of us have plenty of defenses against that. Probably almost everyone in the club has at least one extra hat or scarf or pair of wool socks we can spare. We’ll have boxes and bags to put them in and we’ll deliver them right after the dinner, since the donation center is open 24/7. I checked.
And while we’re at it, we’ll as usual collect extra food for Oregon Food Bank and once again, as usual, deliver the leftovers from our annual dinner to the Clark Men’s Shelter on MLK. Oh, the good that we can do! It will be a nice addition to the year-end celebrations. I wish you all a warm and wonderful holiday season.