Sally GracieBy Sally Gracie

On my way back from town today, I noticed the young couple next door out in their front yard raking leaves. “How sweet,” I thought, reminiscing about Sunday afternoons in Sudbrook Park spent moving piles of crisp, fragrant, brown oak leaves into the street for burning.

As I walked over to say hello, I realized that there are no trees in my neighbors’ yard. The leaves they were raking had blown into their yard from my tree. How sweet.

Donations to Manger Mall are needed by Dec. 6. Committee co-chair Wendy Braden asks the community to consider buying a gift for teenagers – especially teenage boys. Gifts may be dropped off at Mick and Miki’s Red Cedar Bar on Glover Street in Twisp, North Cascades National Bank in Twisp, and Winthrop Fitness. Donations by check, made to Neighbors Helping Neighbors, can be mailed to Manger Mall at The Cove, P.O. Box 895, Twisp, WA 98856.

Manger Mall, a division of The Cove and Neighbors Helping Neighbors, allows valley families in need to provide gifts for their children this holiday season. Parents must pre-register and pay a small amount for each child’s gift. On the given day, parents go to the Twisp River Grange to select the gift and stocking stuffers for their children.

Additionally parents may usually select a soft item – a blanket or quilt, pillowcase, or pajamas – handmade by members of the community. If an expensive item like a bike or snowboard has been donated, Manger Mall holds a drawing.

To allow parents to get together with other parents, the grange will serve refreshments upstairs.

Wendy Braden calls on the community to make Manger Mall’s fourth year its best ever. It will soon be “a good time to look out for the after-Thanksgiving sales,” she says. Contact Wendy at 997-9357 or co-chair Kathryn Eisenhauer at

It isn’t too soon to make your New Year’s resolution to attend Bill Hottell’s entertaining (but thorough) romp through English history, now in its third year. “The History of England” will begin on Jan. 8, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. in the fellowship hall at the Methow   Valley United Methodist Church. Tuition is $50, but Bill honors a sliding scale to pay what you can.

Bill will begin with the Tudor dynasty – Henry VII and VIII – and diverge from England for a bit as the Tudors invade Ireland. Ireland will be the destination for Bill’s excellent adventure as traveling tutor to valley tourists.

New to Bill’s classes? Call him at 997-6655 to sign up.

It’s time for you to share your favorite books of 2013 with me. I’m interested in fiction and nonfiction published this year. Tell me a bit about the book and why you liked it in an email. (Has anyone read either Donna Tartt’s or Andre Dubus III’s new novel?) Please include your phone number in the message to

If you missed Liberty Bell’s junior class fundraiser at the Winthrop Barn, you can still support the class trip to D.C. by purchasing a $10 raffle ticket from members of the class and their families. Nearly 50 prizes are up for grabs, including a plane ride with Bob Hoffman, season tickets for the Methow Valley Music Festival and a $459 value stay at Twisp Suites. The next time you hear from me will be from Nebraska. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.