Walking along Wildcat Boulevard the other day, I was thinking of ringing of the bell for the Salvation Army which I did one night before Christmas. The Neosho Lions Club volunteers to ring the bell one evening each year. Doing so is an interesting experience.

Walking along Wildcat Boulevard the other day, I was thinking of ringing of the bell for the Salvation Army which I did one night before Christmas. The Neosho Lions Club volunteers to ring the bell one evening each year. Doing so is an interesting experience.
This year I rang the bell by myself. Ringing a bell for an hour is not really very hard.  Sometimes a person has to help little kids put bills in the slot on top of the bucket. The slot is quite small, and a bill has to be folded for it to slide in.
The reward is seeing the giving spirit of the people who put money in the little red pot. Half of the money givers are children. Kids like doing things like this, and parents dig in their pockets and purses for change to put in the pail.
I know I should not judge people, but sometimes I wonder if some of the givers really should be getting help instead of trying to help others with the Salvation Army’s aid.
Often I see friends and former students who are going into Walmart to shop. They usually stop, and we exchange a few words. That way, I get to meet their kids, grandchildren, husbands, friends, or wives.
Sometimes I see former students that I have not seen in many, many years. Hearing what they have done with their lives is rewarding to an old teacher.
This year I gained a bell ringing helper. I was ringing my bell when a family came up to go into the store. The boy, who I would guess was about 11 or 12, did not really want to go shopping with his parents. They decided that he did not need to go in, but could stay and sit on the bench and wait until they came out.
As he sat there, he began asking questions about what I was doing, and why I was doing it. Soon he asked, “Can I help?”
I said, “Of course!” and handed him the spare bell the Salvation Army had provided. The young man rang the bell until I was relieved a half hour later.
After being relieved, I went inside the store and did some shopping of my own. When I came out to go home, my helper was gone. I expect his folks had finished their shopping and had taken the young man home.
I never asked the young man’s name. I don’t know what school he goes to. I don’t know how old he is. Still, he stepped forward and helped ring the bell. Thanks little helper!
The Lions Club is a service club that specializes in helping with vision and hearing needs. Recently, we have had two different speakers at a club meeting who were helped at one time in their life by the Lions.
One lady said that her family was poor when she was little, and she needed glasses to be able to read. The Lions bought her first set of glasses. A man told how his daughter needed help with a hearing problem, and the Lions had stepped in to buy the expensive hearing aids the family could not afford. Lions Club attempts to help people all year long.
Take a walk, volunteer to help a cause like the Salvation Army, work to be in the Christmas spirit all year long, use the signal lights on your car, and see what you notice while passing along life’s Wildcat Boulevard.

 Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.