I CAN IDENTIFY with the older gentleman on the jewelry store commercial who complains that all the kids' gifts have to be plugged in and need the Internet or need batteries. Then he watches as a young man gives a young lady her engagement ring and he approves. "Looks like we have a young man, here!" he says.

I like the electronic toys, I must admit. My wife thinks my smart phone is grafted to my body. It's like Linus's security blanket in Peanuts or Norm's bar stool at Cheers - if I have to live without it I am very uncomfortable.

So, I am happy to go Christmas shopping for our grandchildren. They like the hot new toys and I'm thankful we can spoil them a little bit. But I was overjoyed to find some classic (a.k.a. antique) toys last weekend.

One company is distributing . . . can you believe it? . . . a wind-up train made of tin! I got so excited by the train and the yo-yos and marbles and the other classic toys that Linda asked, "Do you want Santa to bring them to you for Christmas?"

No, but how great that grandparents can finally share some toys with their grandkids without grandma and grandpa having to learn the controls on the newest video game. (By the way, kids - that's NOT what you're getting for Christmas from us. Keep guessing.)

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A THANK YOU letter from Athens of Indiana Arts Studios & Gallery prompted me to reflect on how much Crawfordsville's own resident art gallery brings to the county. Have you been in there? We help Kim VanArsdall promote the gallery every chance we get. There is always something fascinating on display. 

My favorite of the past year? The display in the front window made entirely of folded newspapers, of course!

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ALSO IN THE MAIL-- good news from the Crawfordsville Municipal Airport. 

"More aircraft are using our airport, with more fuel sales, more maintenance work, more visitors--all adding up to more revenue earned by our airport!" reads the December CFJ Quarterly newsletter. The airport has "received the final grant before actual construction begins on our runway extension," the newsletter says, and the Crawfordsville airport has been nominated for Airport of the Year by the Aviation Association of Indiana.

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FINALLY, COME see us at Kroger's south store at Crawfordsville Square on Friday. Our folks will be ringing bells for the Salvation Army from 9 a.m. to about 7 p.m. Be sure to bring your donations and help fill the red kettles! All of the money raised locally helps local folks. 

Frank has reported on the news, events and people of west-central Indiana for years. He can be contacted at frank@thepaper24-7.com.