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Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. He writes about what's circulating through his iPod every Monday.
I love Christmas. I get dewy every

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I Am a Freak for the Giving of the Holiday Season

capfamduff.jpg
Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. He writes about what's circulating through his iPod every Monday.
I love Christmas. I get dewy every year when my family and I watch It's a Wonderful Life. When I was single and my life was upside-down in my 20s, I would cry when I watched that movie--for the sheer beauty of the message and because I thought I would never have something like that for myself. My tears now are of happiness that I seemingly have it all: a family and the means to make enough each year to provide for them.

I am on a plane right now flying back to Seattle. My first event this Saturday will be a benefit show (with Loaded) that KISW has selflessly and tirelessly organized to raise money for the poor families of those four slain Lakewood police officers. There is a man on the plane right now who had a huge fit when they had to gate-check his bag from the plane because it was too big to fit above. He was screaming for the names of the flight crew, who frankly were just trying to help the guy.

I think we should all perhaps take a step back during this season to realize what things we should be at least a little thankful for. I was thinking of these cops' families when this man on the plane was losing it . . . over a piece of luggage. Luggage he will get when we get off this plane in two hours. These families will never get back what they lost. Maybe it is unfair of me to make fun of flight guy's predicament, but after the crew told him his bag would be fine, they also tried to wish him a Merry Christmas. He was not, let's say, accepting of the holiday tiding. Poor guy.

I have been a BIG fan of the Toys for Tots program ever since I could afford to take a trip to a toy store before Christmas and bring a toy to the nearest fire station--maybe because my dad was a fireman and I have been cognizant of Toys for Tots since I was a little kid. It is now an ongoing tradition in my family; my girls LOVE to go to Target and help me pick out the toys. They make sure that we buy cookies and stuff for the firemen, too. The firemen think my girls are pretty cool, and they are right in that assumption.

This year, Washington's Toys for Tots program is facing a dire shortage of 60,000 gifts as it begins distributing to the 108,000 kids served by King County's Department of Health and Human Services. The Marine Corps Reserve and various fire departments are pleading for new unwrapped toys for children from newborn to age 13. Check the Toys for Tots Web site for drop-off locations, or take them to your local fire station.

Last year, I wrote of a family I became acquainted with who had spent their life savings on health care for their 17-year-old daughter with cancer. The Seattle Ronald McDonald House was their last chance for at least a roof over their heads while their daughter went through treatment at Children's Hospital. Last week, I stopped by the front office of the RMH to see what might be needed as far as donations. Yeah, they need a LOT.

Families who come to the RMH are, as I said, desperate not only for their child's chance for a cure, but broke. RMH provides an on-site apartment or larger townhome, and an open pantry in the main house, rec center, front office. On their list:

Food:

--bagged or boxed pasta

--pasta sauce

--canned food of all sorts

--frozen dinners

--cake mix

--canned meats

--canned, boxed or bottled juices

--condensed milk

--jarred baby food

etc.

Housekeeping times:

--sheets for queen and twin beds

--an Oreck 600 vacuum and carpet-cleaner combo

--six blenders

--new plates, cups, glasses, and silverware

--brooms and mops

--dustbins

--toilet paper and paper towels

--sponges

--pillows

etc.

The Ronald McDonald House is located at 5130 40th Ave. N.E.

It may be a bit gauche for me to ask you, my readers, to help out with things I think are important this holiday season. I am quite sure that many of you give to charities and such that are family traditions, or perhaps even just help out someone you know. Maybe you help out at a mission or church or synagogue or temple. Maybe you spend time praying or meditating for those less fortunate or who have recently lost a loved one. Maybe you just smile at someone when they need it, or man a crisis hotline. The recession has hit us all hard these last two years, and a donation in cash, toys, or food certainly may be not even remotely doable for many of us, which is a big reason, I am sure, that Toys for Tots is running so low this season.

I must say now that I have been honored to have you ALL as readers and friends during this last year and a half at Seattle Weekly. It has been a journey for me, and I hope I can at least keep things interesting and thought-provoking. Life is an adventure. Happy Holidays to you all. Now I've got to find a Santa suit that has fashion-forward tapered-bottom pants and a jacket that accentuates my "pluses"!

 
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