The Kettle

by Arnold Nelson

     A couple of years ago the Salvation army asked churches in the area to help ring the bell and collect donations for them. Our church agreed to do it 2 Saturdays afternoons in a row. The the first Saturday a lady and her son did it.

    The second Saturday I was talking to one of my best friends and he said he was going to be there. He asked me if I was. I really had not thought about it, but when he asked me and I found out he would be there, I said I would and I would dress up as Santa Claus. Bob loved the idea.

     A couple of hours later I pulled up to Safeway where the kettle was and about 4 or 5 church members were already there. I walked up with my chair and they told me to sit right in front next to the kettle so all the kids could see me. So I did. A few minutes later Bob walked into the store and came out with some candy canes and other things for me to hand out to the kids He said the manager gave them to him. So I started handing them out to all the kids that walked by. What fun! Another friend walked up with his trumpet and we sang Christmas Carols for a while.

     Then all the others started to leave. pretty soon it was just Bob and I, we had a great time. Bob knows everyone in Bullhead so everyone stopped to chat and put money in the kettle. About 45 minutes before the end some of the church members came by and said they were going caroling and wanted Bob to go with them (Bob has a great voice). Bob turned to me and said will you be alright by yourself? I said Bob go ahead I will be fine. So he left with the carolers.

     A few minutes a young man came up to me and asked how long I would be there. I told him and he said he was calling his sister. She was looking for a Santa and wanted to get some pictures. About 20 minutes later three or four young ladies walked up to me and asked if the could take some pictures. I said sure. One had a baby about a year old, she put the baby in my lap and took some pictures. Then all the ladies gathered around me and they took some more pictures. Then they left.

     When the man from Salvation army came to pick up the kettle he could not believe it. We had that kettle stuffed full. After he left and I was picking up my stuff another lady and her daughter came out of the store. Her little girl wanted to put money in the kettle, I had to tell them it was too late, the kettle was already picked up. they would have to come back some other time and donate, so they left.

     I had so much fun I had planned on volunteering the next year but my schedule would not permit it. Now I am in Oklahoma and it is too cold I do not want to stand out there and ring the bell when it is so cold out..

     Some facts about the Salvation Army

     1. They believe in the 3 'S's' soup, soup and salvation

     2. They do not believe in Baptism or Communion. They believe too many people rely on the outward signs of grace rather then grace itself.

     3. It is one of the most popular and well known charities.

     4. It is in 124 countries and has services in 175 languages

     5. It has nearly 2 million employees and 4.5 million volunteers worldwide.

     6. All the money raised in their thrift stores goes to rehabilitate alcoholics and drug abusers.

     7. They also have a family tracing service to help reunite families with lost members.

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