Our little tree-cutting adventures weren’t anything like Thursday’s grandiose cutting production, preceded by 30 minutes of speeches from dignitaries and U.S. Forest personnel, but it was ceremonious in its own special way, as we heaved the pine tree into the back of Dad’s work truck and drove home with that year’s seasonal centerpiece.

The Capitol Christmas tree, a 55-foot-tall Engelmann Spruce, was cut from the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest.

It took about a minute, if that, to cut through the tree tree trunk using a powerful chain saw and, I’ll admit, I got a little misty-eyed when the realization hit, that it was the end of the stately 80-year-old tree’s forest reign.

“Mr. Engelmann” we’ll call him, was placed on a flatbed truck and, after a number of rockstar-style tour stops in the area, he’ll continue his journey to Washington, D.C. to be adorned with lights and ornaments, welcoming visitors on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building.

But, what happens to Mr. Engelmann — and for that matter, all the previous Capitol Christmas trees — after New Year’s Day when the tree is taken down and the hand-made ornaments are removed? According to an online story, about the 2017 Capitol Christmas tree from Montana, the “Capitol Christmas trees are normally chipped for mulch, which is then spread across the West Lawn.”

And now you know the rest of the story, as the legendary Paul Harvey would say.

I “wood” encourage you to check out Mr. Engelmann’s “rockstar tour” when it stops in Grand Junction from 5:30–7 p.m. Wednesday, at the Grand Junction Convention Center, 159 Main St.

Or if you can’t make it, “log” on to capitoltreetracker.com to follow his journey to the West Lawn, and beyond.

VCA Tiara Rado Animal Hospital is hosting its annual pet food drive that will benefit the Community Food Bank in Grand Junction.

Donations of dog food, cat food, cash and checks will be accepted at the hospital, 2245 3/4 Broadway, through Nov. 20. The animal hospital has worked in partnership with the Community Food Bank for many years to assist with providing dog and cat food to those in need throughout the year, a news release said.

“Many of our clients have four-legged family members who are just as important to feed during times of crisis,” said Community Food Bank executive director Alisha Wenger, in the release.

“Our partnership with VCA Tiara Rado Animal Hospital provides the majority of our annual pet food needs so we can offer pet food as an add-on option to any client requesting assistance throughout the year”

Call 243-4007 or go to vcahospitals.com/tiara-rado for information.

Veterans who have received a flu shot from the VA Hospital’s drive-through flu shot clinic can get free vaccines for their pets from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Tuesday, at the Western Region One Source parking lot, 482 28 Road.

The pet vaccine clinic is hosted by Roice-Hurst Humane Society. Veterans should present their flu shot coupon to receive the free pet wellness exam plus rabies, distemper/parvo, Bordatella and FVRCP vaccines for their pets. Vaccines and exams are available to cats and dogs that live with veterans. Pet micro-chipping will cost $15 and nail trims are $5. Discounted pet vaccines will be offered to pets of veterans without a flu shot coupon.

Veterans Day on Wednesday is the final National Parks Fee Free Day of 2020.

Entry fees will be waived on Wednesday at the many National Parks in the park system. Go to nps.gov/planyourvisit/fee-free-parks.htm for information.

Weather permitting, Redlands Lion’s Club members and volunteers will place more than 700 flags out on Wednesday for Veteran’s Day.

Flags will be placed early in the morning and picked later that same day. Areas served are Tiara Rado, Seasons, Monument Village, Panorama, Redlands Village, and other subdivisions. Flags will also be placed at Community Hospital and some Redlands-area businesses.

The Redlands Lion’s Club flag service honors nine holidays throughout the year. Cost is a $35 donation for residents and funds are used for community projects like KidSight, Kids Aid and Colorado Mesa University scholarships. Anyone interested in subscribing to the service or volunteering to help, should call Lion Dave McIlnay at 433-7961 for information.

It was announced last week that The Salvation Army Grand Junction Corps would be making changes to its Thanksgiving meals that are normally served at the Grand Junction Elks Lodge.

This year, because of COVID-19 restrictions, the meals will be served in a carry-out fashion, from The Salvation Army’s main office, 1235 N. Fourth St.

And, for that meal, The Salvation Army is in need of turkeys — lots of turkeys.

According to its Facebook page, it is looking for donations of 100 frozen turkeys to help feed the community this holiday season. Take the turkeys to 1235 N. Fourth St.

And, moving on to Christmas, The Salvation Army has extended its registration deadline to Nov. 16 for those in need of assistance. Go to saangeltree.org to sign up. Registration is not complete until documentation is uploaded.

The Knights of Columbus 1062 have resumed its second-Sunday breakfasts and the first one is from 8–11:30 a.m. today in the Parish Hall at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 230 N. Third St.

The breakfasts take place on the second Sunday of each month.

Cost is $8 for adults and $6 for seniors. Proceeds from the breakfasts help fund charitable projects, including Christmas Food Basket deliveries, Coats for Kids drive and scholarships for local high school and college students.

Email Jim Pasterz, Knights of Columbus Grand Knight, at jpasterz6@gmail.com or call Mike Moran, 270-6162, email mjmoranheiden@yahoo.com, for information.

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Submit community news items and Thanksgiving meal cooking tips/ideas by email to communitynews@gjsentinel.com, by fax at 244-8578, or by mail to 734 S. Seventh St., Grand Junction, CO, 81501. Online calendar items can be uploaded at GJSentinel.com/calendar.

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