Bill Kirby

Online news editor for The Augusta Chronicle.

Today we are thankful at my house

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Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.

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-- Dave Barry

My good friend James says he has a surefire way to find his wife whenever they get separated while Christmas shopping at the mall.

"I walk up to the best looking woman I can find," James said, "and ask if she can just talk to me for a few minutes. If she asks why, I tell her: 'Because every time I talk to a pretty woman, my wife appears out of nowhere.'"

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TODAY'S DATE: Many remember today's famous date for the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, but in my family we remember it for the Winecoff Hotel fire in downtown Atlanta, Dec. 7, 1946.

Here's why.

The blaze -- one of the deadliest hotel fires in American history -- killed 119 people. Many of the hotel's guests that night where teenagers from around Georgia, who were in town for the statewide Tri-Y Youth Conference.

One of them was supposed to be my wife's father, Carl. He was all signed up and ready to go, except ... his mother got sick and he stayed home to be with her.

Because he was at home that night and not in downtown Atlanta, he was able to enjoy a future that included starting the family that included my future bride.

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LIT UP: Thanks to everyone who dropped by the stage to chat Saturday at The Augusta Chronicle Christmas Light-Up Spectacular.

Thanks to WBBQ and Chick-fil-A for the great fireworks.

And thanks to my new friends Natalie and Victoria for winning the trivia contest and naming all eight of Santa's reindeer. They not only named them, they sang them.

They got to share event tickets from the James Brown Arena for the Augusta Riverhawks.

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TODAY'S JOKE: Scott Gay , of Waynesboro, shares a story for the ages.

One day an old German shepherd starts chasing rabbits and before long discovers that he is lost. Wandering about, he notices a panther heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch.

The old German shepherd thinks, "Oh, oh. I'm in trouble."

Seeing some bones on the ground, he immediately settles down to chew them with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the panther is about to leap, he exclaims loudly, "Boy that was one delicious panther, I wonder if there are any more around here?"

Hearing this, the young panther halts his attack in midstrike and, with a look of terror, slinks away into the trees.

A squirrel watching the whole scene from a nearby tree figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the panther, and strikes up a deal for himself.

The young panther is furious at being made a fool of, and says, "Here, squirrel, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!"

The old German shepherd sees the panther coming with the squirrel on its back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?"

But instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to the attackers, pretending he has not seen them, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old German shepherd says, "Where's that squirrel? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another panther!"


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