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From furry friends, a paw-written holiday wish list

I'm not Santa, but I did get a "wish list" from someone dear to me in the mail this year. It asks for bleach, paper towels, 33-gallon or larger garbage bags, new or old terry cloth towels, brooms and mops.

Further down is a shorter list: "dog and cat treats, dog and cat toys," and, most importantly, "a loving family to adopt us."

The lists are from my favorite little critters, the dogs and cats at the local Humane Society shelter, where many years ago I found my late buddy, Bustopher Jones II, a big gray cat.

Some time ago, our family realized that we all had too much stuff already, so we stopped exchanging holiday gifts and started using the money we would have spent as donations to our favorite causes.

Two of my favorites are the Humane Society of Pasco, Inc., and The Angelus, the residential compound in Hudson for developmentally disabled adults and kids.

My donations are small, but several hundred donations can add up to a lot.

In the past year, those donations and hard-working volunteers at the Pasco Humane Society have built roofs over the dog runs, bought chain link fencing, built little heated houses for the giant turtles and started work on a sewage lift station, which will do away with septic drain fields and free up some land for future development.

If you want to send money, which is spent on our animal pals right here, the address is P.O. Box 10, Elfers, FL 34680. If you want to donate "wish list" stuff, the shelter is at 14949 Harmon Dr., Hudson. (Take Hays Road off State Road 52. Harmon Drive is just north of the intersection at Hudson Avenue.)

The Angelus is also in Hudson, about five miles east of U.S. 19. Donations can be sent to 12413 Hudson Ave., Hudson, FL 34669.

For a special treat, you can see The Angelus' Christmas Pageant at 6:30 p.m. tonight, Sunday or Dec. 9, 10, 16, 17 and 23, weather permitting. It's outdoors, about 30 minutes long and will make your heart sing. Afterwards, everyone goes to the Activity Center for refreshments and socializing.

There is no admission. "This is our gift to you," the invitation says.

Speaking of singing

Some people simply don't know what to think of the annual Christmas show at Richey Suncoast Theatre in New Port Richey.

I happen to love it, but I realize that some patrons are rather, um, puzzled by it, expecting something a little slicker.

This year's edition, A Pasco Christmas: Tribute to the U.S.O. (8 p.m. today, 2:30 p.m. Sunday) is one-of-a-kind with a friendly, neighborly feel. There's a story of sorts, but it's the singing, cute kids, and emotions that really count.

You've got to love a Christmas show that has a tradition of singing Neil Diamond's Coming to America as the grand finale. I think almost everyone leaves with tears in their eyes.

Charlie Skelton, who is the theater's board president and also the writer of the show, said that as of Wednesday, 75 people had bought tickets for a second look. And none of them are relatives of people in the show.

Mail away, mail away

I stood in line at the post office and spent $20.25 to mail the one package I'm sending this year.

It is going to Salt Lake City and is stuffed with thick socks with only a couple of holes in them, a faded, but warm nightgown, several slightly ragged sweatshirts, five pair of undies, some long underwear, a scratched hair curling iron with a slightly loose spring and mini shampoo bottles.

No, it's not a careless care package.

The package is to me.

I finally believe one of those awful scary stories that keep cropping up in the news, specifically the one about how many thousands of suitcases are going astray on airline flights these days.

So I've mailed back-up stuff to myself at my destination, and I'll take the other stuff with me on the plane. Surely something will get there.