Monday, December 17, 2007

An early obligation

It's rare that I ever have to be up and out of the house by 7:45 a.m. Don't hate me because I don't have a job. Heh. Today, though, was an exception, and a fun one it was.

As both all of you regular readers know, I volunteer at Alderson Federal Prison Camp. Holidays are not fun for inmates; no matter where they are, their families are usually far away. But at Alderson, anyway, the staff does what they can to make life a little more festive during this time of year.

A longtime tradition at Alderson is a holiday decorating contest, and I was asked to be a judge again this year. I think this is the fourth time I've participated. There are eight housing units at Alderson and each unit prepares and presents a skit, complete with props, costumes and decorations. They get a small amount of money for supplies, but most of their creations are made of discarded cardboard boxes, pine cones, wheat grass and tempera paint.

They come up with a theme – they varied this year from Chistmas celebrations around the world to a version of Home Alone to a variety of characters from Disney animated films – write a script, cast the roles and spend weeks making decorations, backdrops and costumes.

You wouldn't think this kind of talent could be found in a prison, but the creativity, enthusiasm and energy I saw this morning were amazing. They'll be glad to leave it all behind when they walk out the gate, but I won't soon forget the inspiring experience I had this morning.

So. That had nothing to do with fitness or knitting, did it? We'll get back to our regular programming tomorrow. Thanks for indulging me and letting me get off track today. My holidays are much brighter.

Tomorrow is your last day to enter the drawing for Gary Taubes' book Good Calories, Bad Calories. An e-mail to shrinkingknitter AT citynet DOT net with "GCBC" in the subject line is all it takes to enter. You don't have to write, dance, sing, draw or otherwise prove yourself to have a chance. I'll announce the winner Wednesday.


Anne M. said...

Who said you were limited to writing about fitness and knitting? I think the Alderson experience was worth telling us about- definitely rewarding for the inmates and for you, and a reminder for us to give thanks for all the small things we have in our lives. We have so much and take it for granted; they had little but made the most of what they had, using talents and creativity. Thanks for sharing :)

Barbra said...

Thanks for sharing about Alderson. I am so glad you are there for the ladies. Is there anything we can do to help them?