Nothing makes you feel more in touch with your community than staffing the Savation Army kettle. This year we rang the bells at the K-Mart on Oakton Avenue in Des Plaines. It was cold, but not bitter, and everyone greeted us with a smile and usually a donation. One woman cheerfully instructed me on getting more sound out of my bell: "Hold it by the tip of the handle, dear." She was absolutely correct.

Mayor Moylan joined Denny and Sharon in the afternoon. His enthusiastic smile and handshake brought in more money than we gathered in any other timeslot!