Enjoying special time with friends and family is the essence of life and community.  I’m reminded of this every day and give thanks for friendship.  I am thankful for those who walk by and say hello to me as well as those who give a friendly toot on their horns as they drive past on Cushman.  It is wonderful to live in Fairbanks and share in the joys of living here with all of you.  We were all so thankful when the temperature rose from the depths of cold the other day.  Zero to minus ten is tolerable and a veritable heat wave when compared to minus 40!  Spending as much time as I do outside, I’m so happy about these moderate temperatures, I could jump for joy!  Sometimes a little discomfort makes us focus on just how thankful we really are for normal, everyday things.  Then again, something sensational like breaking low temperature records several days straight in November makes us look around and give thanks for sun dogs, the way cold snow sounds under our boots as we walk,  the alpenglow at the end of a short-light day, and the brilliance of the stars and moon in a clear, crisp night.

Or, you might need something sensational besides cold weather, like the trip one of the If Only… store owners took, quite unexpectedly, the last of October.  Seems one of her childhood friends was headed to the U.S. from Poland where she’s lived all her adult life.  Grandchild number 3 was on the way, and she wanted to help out.  Thanks to Facebook and e-mail, the two of them had been corresponding with a mutual friend now living in Puerto Rico.  Would it be possible for the three of them to connect for a bit of a reunion of sorts?  On this side, thanks to everyone pitching in at the store and an Alaska Airlines mileage ticket, the trio met in Montpelier, Vermont, the town where they all grew up.  They had a fabulous time catching up.  It had been 39 years since the three of them had been together!  Now that’s something for which to give thanks–serendipity, and friendship that extends over time and space and years, even through times of  losing touch.

Which brings me back to things here on Cushman Street.  This is the time of year to pay special attention to one-of-a-kind and unique offerings here at If Only….  The store is full of holiday cheer and gift ideas aplenty.  Come by often and check out the selection.  You’ll always see something new!  Our sales associates are happy to assist you with all your gift-giving and holiday needs.

In case you’re wondering about the dessert, it is one of the fabulous creations offered at NECI on Main, one of the teaching restaurants of the New England Culinary Institute.  www.neci.edu I’m still hearing about that perfect evening full of good food and conversation, just as I’m hearing shoppers leave If Only…. saying, “I found the PERFECT gifts!”