“Well, I’m finally home. This is my hometown. I grew up here. It doesn’t matter how much money you make; it’s where you feel happy. Cincinnati is the place where I thought I would be happy.”

– Ken Griffey Jr., born Nov. 21, 1969

On your mark. Get ready. Folks, Thanksgiving day is all but here, and the getting ready needs to be full-blown 100 percent under way. And that’s likely what you’ll see today, if you’re out and about.

Maybe you can do it simply – grab a can of cranberry sauce and head to Mom’s. Or maybe you’re the mom. Doesn’t matter. Or maybe it does. The point is, we’re shifting into high gear getting ready for the holidays, and even if you can be slow doing what you need to do, there’s a whole lot of hustle and bustle up and down the grocery store aisles. After today, there’s one more Saturday in November, then bells will be ringing, etc. and so on, Christmas will be on its way.

It’s a very good idea to enjoy the simple little traditions and happenings specific to every time and season. And looking at today’s schedule, it seems activities are a little more on the “chore” side than “just for fun.” That’s OK. Smile anyway. Be patient and kind, and thankful for what you find. As Goldie Hawn, who is celebrating her 64th birthday today, once said, “I have witnessed the softening of the hardest of hearts by a simple smile.”

Toys for Kids

Toys for Kids will be providing toys for less fortunate families in Brown County in need of help during the holidays.

From now until Dec. 5, the sign ups will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays; and 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. All registrations will be taken and donations will be accepted at the Toys for Kids headquarters by Grand Starz, 2323 Belle Plain. Monetary donations can be sent by mail to Toys for Kids; P.O. Box 912; Brownwood, TX 76804.

Parents must bring their picture ID and their children’s Social Security cards to sign up before Dec. 5. Distribution day for the toys will be Saturday, Dec. 19.

The beat goes on

King Music Co. is hosting a free to the public drum-off competition from noon to 5:30 p.m. at King Music Co., 301 Center Ave. For more information contact Blake Lawson at kmcbwd@gmail.com or visit their Web site at king-music.com.

Operation Christmas Child

If you’ve filled a shoe box with goodies for the Operation Christmas Child project, the church will be accepting the boxes from 9 a.m. to noon. The drop-off center is at the Coggin Avenue Baptist Church Christian Education Center, across the street from the main church building.

Book signing

Author Sherri Knight will be at Hastings Entertainment Center in Brownwood from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., available to sign her just-released second book, “Vigilantes to Verdicts, Stories from a Texas District Court.”

Bingo and music

The Lake Brownwood Lions Club, 6751 Highway 279, will host bingo at 1:30 p.m. and then a country musical from 6 to 10 p.m. Come listen to some great area musicians and singers. Snack bar will be open, and some good old-fashioned homemade hamburgers and ice cream will be for sale. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed on the premises or in the building.

By the way

• Early Project Graduation will hold a bake sale from 8 a.m. until noon in front of Wal-Mart. 

• The Gun and Blade Show will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Brownwood Coliseum. Vendors with guns, knives, ammo, reloading equipment, jewelry, clips, grips, optics, books and collectibles from all across the state will be there. Buy, sell, trade or just browse.

• The Brown County Museum of History is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Saturday.

• 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 open dance practice. Cost is $2 per person. Call 646-0048 or 646-0037 for information.

• Early First United Methodist Church will have its distribution day for Angel Food Ministries from noon to 1 p.m. Come to the Family Life Center of First United Methodist Church, 1073 Early Blvd. Bring one large box to pick up your food. Also, remember to bring your receipt. Orders that are not picked up during the scheduled time will be donated. The December menu will be available and orders may be placed at that time.