The seat warmer, the radio, and me - Denese Rodgers

These days, I'm up to me parts in my Community Christmas program. I say, "my," because I hold myself responsible for the families, and to the donors.

Lots of decisions, a tad of stress and angst, but there's an awful lot of happiness as well. I love it when we can help. It makes me sad when we cannot.

We're finishing up the application interviews this week, and it'll be a downhill run until I have donors to adopt all the families.

That having been said, it also does not leave a lot of time for reflection or planning. We do as much as we can in August and September to pre-plan. But now, when I need introspection, I combine it with travel. That's what I do when I'm zipping to and fro in the Mini Cooper. I get in the car way too early in the morning, turn on the seat warmers and the nuclear leg warmer vents, crank up Metallica S&M, and it's off to work I go. Hi, ho, hi, ho.

Going into work in the morning, I'm cogitating on the day's schedules and possible hiccups. Coming home at night, I'm doing a mental checklist to see where I forgot something or ran out of time.

My buddy, Lynn, listens to talk radio. I can't. It messes with all the other voices swimming around in my head and I can't think clearly. I've either got to have ear-drum shattering, head-banger rock and roll, or silence.

It's funny, the more uptight I'm feeling, the more likely it is that I've got that volume cranked until I look just like the silly teenagers sitting at a red light with their car thumping up and down from the bass impact.

My CD collection in the car is a weird mix of Guns N Roses, Mozart, Nickleback, and String Cheese Incident.

If I'm in the mood for silence, it is because something is worrying me and I need to fret in peace. My dad taught me how to think from different angles when I'm posed with a problem. It lets me see other possible paths or ways to approach something tough.

The other reason I love silence is when I want to sing. Now, it is a well established fact that I cannot carry a tune in a bucket. Singing in the car is the only way that we don't have dogs howling in pain as I croon.

And what do I sing? This is a kicker. I love old Baptist hymns and Broadway show tunes. Isn't that a hoot?

My favorite hymn is "He Keeps Me Singing" (with "He Lives" following a close second). I can't truly hit all the notes in either one of them, but I sure do make a joyful noise unto the Lord.

I also like to whistle - yeah, just like old men. My favorite tune to whistle is Beethoven's "Fur Elise."

It was the only tune I ever really learned how to play on the piano, and I assure you that particular skill is long gone. Aw man, now I've got that song stuck in my head ...

Denese Rodgers is executive director of Connecting Henry, a social-services, networking, community organization in Henry County.