"Well, considering that we have lost communication with the engineer, and are standing totally exposed on the front of the locomotive, and the train seems to be accelerating, uncontrollably, not to mention that we are headed to Glacier Gulch, which just happens to be the steepest downhill grade in the world, I suggest we all hold on ... tightly!"

- The Conductor, in the movie "Polar Express"

It's just ‘fore Christmas, and you'd think we'd be being as good as we can be (and no one is saying we aren't). But maybe there's a little of that panic mode setting in.

Because?

Because - hello? There's not much time and there's lots to do. Yep. We know. We are all feeling it and knowing it. Question is, are we showing it?

Christmas comes. It always does. And isn't it just the most glorious thing that it always will? Here's what we know, of course: What's not done before Christmas, will probably get done after. Or there's always next year and just as much time (plus Leap Year day) to accomplish in 2012 what we had to do in 2011.

The point is, if you can't enjoy the season, you've kind of missed the point. Even the Grinch, whose "heart was two sizes too small," learned after plenty of trials and lots of errors that "maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store ... maybe Christmas means a little bit more."

Today, with the shopping time dwindled to a handful of days plus two, there's a just-before-Christmas schedule with plenty to enjoy. So go ahead. Spend a little time seeing, doing and feeling all the good things about this season, and have a merry day making memories.

Ho Ho Ho, Santa's

on the go

The jolly guy in the red velvet suit will be in town today, making a couple of unique stops and checking behavior patterns (we can only guess). Even though Santa's advanced GPS knows who's sleeping when, who's awake and who's been bad or good, Brown County (as it turns out) is one of his favorite pre-Christmas get-aways.

For the schedule Santa keeps, he has to eat breakfast, and from 9-11 a.m. today he'll be dining and visiting at the Early Church of Christ. There will be plenty for all. Now, even though there's not really such a thing as a free breakfast, there won't be a charge for the fare.

However, it being Christmas and all, a good thing to do would be to bring a new toy to donate to the annual Toys for Kids drive.

Besides breakfast, visitors will have a chat with Santa in his sleigh; a time to write letters to Santa in his workshop; story time with Mrs. Claus; play areas; Christmas movie on a big screen; photo opportunities and more! Those attending will also receive a free ornament.

Christmas at the

train museum

Proving he really can be two or more places at once, Santa will also be at the Martin and Frances Lehnis Train Museum posing for pictures.

There's lots of fun activities going on besides the Santa visit. Children can make a Christmas craft and operate the model trains. Plus, Buster's Concho, Colorado and Brazos Valley Railroad, the 7 1/2-inch gauge ridable mini-train, will be hauling passengers from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Passengers will be charged the special $2 holiday admission to get into the museum and there is an additional $2 charge for a ticket to ride the 7 1/2-inch gauge.

Live Nativity

at First Christian

Members at First Christian Church, 2411 Coggin Ave., will portray a live Nativity setting from 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. today and Sunday (weather permitting). People can view the dramatic scene from chairs that are provided or from their vehicles. Refreshments will be served after each performance.

Tree lighting

The Elm Grove Community Club is hosting a community Christmas tree lighting and program at 7:30 p.m. Santa Claus is scheduled for an appearance and will hand out gifts. Gloria Weatherman is in charge of the program. The public is invited. Those attending may bring finger foods.

Recycle, recycle,

recycle

The in-town mobile recycling trailer is available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. under the Austin Avenue overpass at Avenues A and Brady. Recyclable items include aluminum cans, metal cans, glass bottles and jars, newspaper, white office paper, cardboard, plastic milk jugs, all number 1 and 2 coded plastic bottles, jugs and containers, ink jet cartridges, magazines and catalogs. All recyclables must be clean and sorted.

Volunteers will be at the site to help unload and locate the correct bins, if needed. For more information, go to www.keepbrownwoodbeautiful.org. Keep Brownwood Beautiful and the City of Brownwood Landfill and Sanitation Departments are the sponsors for the recycling trailer.

By the way

• The Lake Brownwood Lions Club, 6751 Highway 279, will host bingo at 1:30 p.m., and then, from 6 to 10 p.m., will have a country musical. Listen to the talents of area musicians and singers. Snack bar will be open serving hamburgers and homemade ice cream.

• Christ-centered mentoring classes are held from 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday at 1800 Belle Plain. For more information call Paula at (325) 646-1042.

• Author Linda King Eoff will hold a signing for her children's book, "A Country Morning," from 1 to 4 p.m. at Heartland Mall.

• The Heart of Texas Dance Club meets from 7 to 9 p.m. each Saturday at St. John's Church, on Main and Depot, for casual dancing - country and western and ballroom. Cost is $2 per person. Call 646-0048 or 646-0037 for information.