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From the Publisher's Desk: A birthday, bake-off and tree bash on horizon

he calls me “Dabby.” Not sure where that came from, but for the last couple of months it’s been Dabby this and Dabby that. I like it.

My granddaughter turns 2 Sunday and I’m proud to say that we have forged a strong relationship over the last 24 months despite the miles that separates us.

I was at the hospital in Salem, Ore., when Kayla Grace finally arrived after an extremely long day and night. Exhausted and exhilarated, I held her in the first moments of her life and loved her with all my heart that morning.  But, of course, I didn’t know her.

Salem is about five or six hours away, depending on how fast you drive. Sometimes it’s taken seven or eight hours if Rick and I stop to shop or eat along the way. I vowed that cold November morning when she was born that I would see my granddaughter once a month, and I have.

Between visits, 21st century technology keeps us connected. I might be cooking dinner or doing laundry and get a text that says, “K wants to Skype.” I drop what I’m doing and run upstairs to the computer and logon as Grandma Skype.

When I answer her video call, Kayla screams. “Dabby! Dabby!” and my heart melts.

I wouldn’t miss her birthday party Sunday for the world.  I spent this past weekend baking oatmeal raisin cookies and biscotti for her. I bring them every time I go up to see her and I was thrilled when my daughter-in-law told me she really likes the biscotti. I liked my grandma’s biscotti, too. It’s a small thing, but it connects her to family tradition. My parents and my grandparents, people she will never know, are smiling.

I decided to bake for Kayla instead of working on cranberry bread. I have to admit I’m starting to get nervous as the Bake-off nears. I know Michelle Morgante has been practicing and perfecting – when we met for lunch to discuss the details of the competition, she had just made cranberry bread in individual Bundt pans. Tricky.

I overheard Anne Boulley tell someone at lunch that she’s been experimenting with adding Bouncing Berry Farms cranberry compote to her bread recipe “in ribbons.” Dang.

If you haven’t heard, I challenged those two to a Cranberry Bread Bake-off this Friday and Saturday. Each of us is making a half dozen loaves of cranberry bread and there will be a tasting at Vita Cucina during First Friday Art Walk, from 4-7 p.m. We’re charging $5 to sample a plate with each of our breads giving the money we raise to Teri Sandler to help pay for the community Thanksgiving Dinner.

Tasting will continue at Vita Cucina Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., but if you come Friday night we’ll all be there along with the “celebrity judges” that cranberry grower Chelle Webb lined up and Jon Parmentier playing music.

And please don’t forget to sign up for the Festival of Trees. It’s one of the most fun events of the holiday season here. All you have to do is purchase a live or artificial tree and decorate it. Some businesses and individuals decorate with a theme, but you don’t have to.

Bring your tree (you can decorate it there) to the Veterans Memorial Hall, or if I can’t convince you to donate a tree, come down to the hall and buy raffle tickets to win a tree. You can deposit your tickets in the can for the tree you’d really like to win and cross your fingers. I won the tree of my dreams the first year I tried.

The luncheon is on Saturday, Dec. 3, and that’s when all the trees will be displayed and raffled off. It’s the perfect way to kick off the holiday season. The contributions Charlotte Fleshman and the ladies in the Emblem Club raise directly benefit local charities and DNHS scholarships. For more information, give Charlotte a call at 954-4530.

Reach Michele Thomas, the Del Norte Triplicate’s publisher, at m­­tho­mas­­­@triplicate.com, 464-2141, or stop by 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

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