I just don't understand it!

Shopping for Christmas (or just simply trying to pick up a few needed things) is difficult enough without having all these special days when the stores are crowded and people so focused on their own wants that they have no patience for others.

Before I needed a handicap parking space, I never noticed the cars parked in them that displayed neither plate nor placard indicating their legitimacy. Or the obviously healthy young woman who says laughingly to her friend, "It can't be a problem, I'm only going to be a minute," as she exits the car she has just parked in a handicap space. Or the folks, gathered in the middle of the aisle in the store deep in conversation who see you using the motorized shopping cart and act as if you aren't even there. I suppose they think it's no problem - after all, you are sitting!

Perhaps the pain is making me grumpier than usual. (I'll be getting this hip replaced in a couple of weeks.)

But what about all those other folks - the ones whose needs for access are even greater than mine?

It's usually in my New Year's column that I address the need for more courtesy and understanding of others. A sort of resolution thing for the new year. But lately, in addition to my own hassles, I've heard so many others complaining about a lack of respect, both in the stores and on the road, that I decided perhaps before Christmas might be a better time to plead for us all to be more considerate.

People seem to be forgetting that their vehicles are equipped with something called a turn signal, and with the increased traffic of the season, that could cause an accident. So let's all make a point of being more mindful of others - after all - their lives may just be busier than ours.

And, as we bustle about in the next weeks, let's not forget the real reason for the season - the birth of Jesus Christ!

andbull; I have some wonderful news this week! It's back!

We'll have the Singing Christmas Tree once again at the Foursquare Church. How I would love to be able to sing with them. Or even hear them this year, as unfortunately for me, it follows right after my surgery.

Performances are Thursday to Saturday, Dec. 12andndash;14, at 7 p.m., with two performances on Sunday, Dec. 15, at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

This has been a long-standing tradition here, and the loss of it last year was such a disappointment. I am so very glad it will resume. The music of Christmas is so beautiful.

andbull; The Crescent City United Methodist Church will follow through with its annual tradition of beginning the Christmas season with the music of Christmas. Featuring the Chancel Choir, the Spirit Rings Handbell Choir, and other musical selections, the music begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, in the sanctuary and is free to all. A reception will follow the music.

andbull; The Temple Beth Shalom Chanukah party will be held Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Coast Guard Auxiliary Hall. Its next scheduled service and class will be Friday at the Pilot building in Brookings at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 7, at 10 a.m. in Brookings. Both will be led by Rabbi Les Scharnberg.

andbull; Wednesday nights at 6 p.m., Dec. 4andndash;18, Grace Lutheran Church will continue its traditional Advent Soup Suppers. All families are welcome. There will be free nursery care and kids' crafts.

Supper begins at 6, family devotions at 6:30, and worship at 7:30 p.m.

andbull; Cornerstone Church will present "A King's Birthday" at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 22, at 6 p.m. Admission is free, but a donation of non-perishable food will be appreciated to help bless others for Christmas. A cookie reception will follow the performance in the Youth Powerhouse.

To reach Martha Williams, call 460-3000, or email