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Perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea to have a circulation promotion involving the question of, “Where’s Willie?’’

Now, everybody in Laurel County is trying to find me, and doing a pretty good job of it.

I’m walking down the street and people are honking their horns at me, scaring me to death. Strange vehicles are circling my neighborhood. I’m being stalked while standing in the buffet line at Frisch’s. Eyes look upon me wondering, “Is that him?”

I suspect people will soon be camping out in my front yard. They’ll try to befriend my dogs on their daily walks in hopes of finding clues to my whereabouts.  My wife will finally know how it feels to be married to a rock star.

Maybe I’ll be like John Calipari at Big Blue Madness and buy pizza for all the campers. Maybe I can get them to rake my leaves and clean out my gutters.

When circulation manager Earletta Sparkman pitched me the idea of finding “Willie” I thought it would be a lot of fun. But I never dreamed she’d splash it on the top of the front page of the paper, as she did last week. She printed up rack cards and placed signs all over town.

The blitz worked immediately. I was coming out of a restaurant last Thursday evening and a man was getting a paper out of the rack, hot off the press.

He looked down at the paper and then back at me and said, “I found you! That wasn’t so hard. Where’s my money?”

That’s the ironic thing about this contest. I don’t have the money. I have no idea where it’s located or how to find it. I may be stalked, hunted and interrogated but I am not the source of the funds. My wife already knows how it feels not to be married to a rock star.

It’s all for a good cause, I guess. I encourage people to follow all the clues in the paper in the coming weeks because at the end, someone will win a nice pile of cash, just in time for Christmas.

But remember, finding me has no connection to finding the cash. So, the surveillance vans with the tinted windows parked across from my house and the baying bloodhounds are no longer necessary.

*****

I’m glad we’re giving away cash this Christmas through a circulation promotion. We’re also giving away another $1,000 in cash and prizes in conjunction with area merchants.

We’ve been doing the $1,000 Giveaway for many years and the winner usually is a family that truly needs it. We’re gratified that we can make them a little happier and ease their worries at Christmas.

The recession has put a hurt on charitable giving, so there is is less money to help those who are doing without basic necessities. But we should still do everything we can to help people who are not as fortunate.

I still have vivid memories of attending the giveaway at the American Legion post last Christmas and seeing the joy on about 200 kids’ faces when they received new coats and shoes.

Many of the children were tramping out in five inches of snow in worn-out shoes and thin coats. I was glad the Legion post was there to meet their urgent needs.

Supporting efforts like this should be the number one item on our Christmas list.

•••••

Many people told me they agreed with my complaint last week that we’re celebrating Christmas way too early and neglecting Thanksgiving.

But just as many people told me they like to put up their trees and lights early to get it over with.

I’ve also noticed that more and more stores are staying open on Thanksgiving to catch the early Christmas shoppers.

Traditions are slowly giving way to convenience and the quest for the almighty dollar.

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