We do the same things every year, right about this time.
Yes, yes, of course we wonder when Winnipeg's hockey team will turn a corner, and we stress over how long the Grey Cup drought must go on before we've paid our dues.
But here at the Free Press, we also go very visible asking you, our loyal readers, for help.
Not for the subjects mentioned above or other sports issues percolating around our town. All of them have ample resources with which to address their issues.
But for Kai Madsen and the Christmas Cheer Board he leads, it's not that easy. So we try to help by doing what we do very well -- getting the word out.
And so we ask you to pitch in however you can. We add this extra push with the Spirit of Christmas campaign, hoping we can help Madsen with the two big pictures he has in focus. The first is to assure the 19,00 or so hampers get filled and delivered and the second is to address the resulting bill of about $850,000.
Why do we ask?
It's called faith.
For as long as Winnipeg has been my home and many years before, good men like Hal Sigurdson, Mark Stevens, Julian Rachey, Buzz Currie and now Steve Lyons -- all Free Press sports editors -- have taken it upon themselves to uphold the tradition of both being a voice for the Cheer Board and putting faith in our readers.
Last year, you helped our Spirt of Christmas campaign get the job done to the tune of $135,583, a figure for which there are a lot of thank-yous owed and a lot of gratitude felt.
Quite some time before this year's campaign began, I knew Steve would be asking me to plug in for one of our Saturday appeals. Sometimes they are gentle reminders, other times they are tales of some inspiration and once in a while they are just clever arm-twisting.
I've already taken care of the reminder part (see above) and it's a hybrid of the other two for a closing thought and appeal.
This column would not have been correctly focused to start with a personal observation that the start of another intensely anticipated hockey season has been slightly off-axis for some time.
But it is relevant to share with you that the loss of two very important men in our community through the middle part of the year has left us poorer in terms of leadership and generosity.
Bob Chipman and Don Baizley were men to be admired, generous with their time and the values and wisdom they shared with many of us. They supported many, many important initiatives and causes in our city, more than most of us will ever realize. I'd prefer not to be too presumptuous to call them friends, but I shared their love of golf and I can't remember a time encountering either when their caring and their selflessness didn't shine through.
It's the perfect time of year to remember qualities, a time for families and for peace and for sharing.
Since the pucks have been on the ice this fall, I have missed seeing them, talking with them. But their example doesn't fade. It's up to all of us to see efforts like our Spirit of Christmas campaign don't, either.
Please send your donations to The Spirt of Christmas, c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6 or call the Free Press classified department at 204-697-7100 to make a credit card donation.
They have the spirit:
Patrick /Clarice Matthews$200.00
James & Doris Thunder$100.00
W. Thompson & Willa R. Fleming$50.00
In memory of Bernice Tough$125.00
D. E. Carruthers$100.00
V. F. McKenzie$50.00
D'Arcy & Deacon LLP$300.00
Seniors Melody Group - General$100.00
In memory of Joyce Jones$50.00
Marge & Gary Campbell$100.00
In memory of Jim Guild,$30.00
Bernice Guild & Doris Millman
In memory of Steve, Jean & Cliff$75.00
Marion A. Reynoldson-Blaine$100.00
In memory of Gordon & Ivez Davidson$50.00
Mary A. Stones$25.00
Patrick J. Clarke$200.00
Gordon & Geraldine Moodie$100.00
Khartum Ladies' Auxiliary$425.00
Honouring Bruce & Pat McBeth,$300.00
From P & G
In memory of Wayne Hallonquist &$50.00
In memory of Fred Anderson$100.00
In memory of Leif Thomas McLure$100.00
In memory of Muffin$50.00
Joe & Heather Corbett$100.00
In memory of Byron & Jessie Angus$100.00
In memory of wife & mother Helen$100.00
In memory of Mark Beaulieu$100.00
In memory of Tim & Judy Walker$200.00
In memory of George &$50.00
In memory of Reta, Naomi, Stephie &$100.00
Mr. & Mrs. J. S. Nicol$50.00
In memory of Ed & Inga Morgan &$50.00
Jim & Jean Baglow
In memory of Frank & Eileen Jones$25.00
In memory of Bob & Edith Turner$25.00
In memory of Irma Arthurs, Ron Bell, $300.00
In memory of Nell Drake$50.00
In memory of Beryl Thompson$100.00
In memory of Todd Fraser$100.00
In memory of Mike O'Hara$100.00
In memory of Jack & Jean McKay$50.00
Jim & Cynthia Slevin$100.00
Brenda & Jim Smith$60.00
Employees of Salisbury House$1,000.00
Paul & Anne Woytowich$40.00
Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League$200.00
Newsroom Book & DVD Sale$1,334.00
Anonymous (six donations)$765.00
Today's Total$ 8,824.00