Two hand-written notes attached to the cheerful Christmas garlands on the bridge announce a problem. It seems that some wreaths and ribbons have been pinched, pilfered, pocketed, purloined by persons unknown.

Coming home from a long commute as the lights are beginning to twinkle in the glooming winter dusk, those garlands and sparkly lights as you cross the bridge are welcoming and merry, and you know you are home. So, BAH! HUMBUG! No more illicit wreath removal!

But wait! Through the wonders of social networking, ten friendly neighbors have come forward to donate decorations, ribbons, wreaths, muscle, and money to replace the treasures. So, there you have it. One bad deed elicits ten good ones. A happy ending.

While we’re at it, do you know Mary Geurrazzi and her happy band of elves who put up these holiday decorations every year? Mary and her pal Kymm Falls used to organize their Girl Scout troop to do the job. Now that the Scouts have grown up - and are doing high-flying things around the world as young women - the job is left to Mary and her husband, and daughters Siena and Gemma, and friends Vickie Hill and Griffen Hill.

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Further good Glen Ellen news of the season is that the jolly Christmas hayride with Neil Shepard and his gang is on. The handsome Clydesdales will be pulling the sleigh hay wagon as per tradition and is scheduled the Sunday before Christmas. Meet at the Jack London Lodge parking lot, Sunday, December 18, 11 am – 1 pm. And practice your holiday carols to sing out Christmas cheer!

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It’s not that one doesn’t enjoy going to the cheerful Aventine Bar, or the delicate Glen Ellen Inn, but the London Lodge is so homegrown, so indigenous. It’s a “Local’s Bar”. You can look like a slob and nobody cares. You can run into folks who work at the Market, see old friends and complain about the changes in town. And it’s historic for heaven’s sake. So when we heard that the Richards family had sold it, we were nervous that it would change into something pricey and formal and cater to, uh, outsiders. We hope that the new owners, the Patel family, hold our down-home values and keeps it just the way it is. Pat Carlin reminds us that the bar looks exactly as it did when he used to visit his parents’ vacation home here some 50 years ago.

At the Lodge Christmas party the other night, even Santa bellied up to the bar in the spirit of the season. Merry Christmas, all.