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Wanted: Toy baton for aspiring twirler

POSTED: December 11, 2008 5:00 a.m.

All I want for Christmas is a baton.

Well, it’s not for me; it’s for my niece, Gracie.

When I was a kid, a twirling baton, sometimes with streamers, was among the second-string toys for girls.

The front-line girl toys were Barbie and any number of her assorted fashion accessories. There were also Barbie’s friends, including Ken, Skipper, Midge and Scooter, among others.

I was once trapped in a sheet metal heat duct helping a girl find a lost Barbie high heel. Barbie’s tiny feet weren’t as big as your thumb.

I remember one Christmas, Shelly Sue got a Mrs. Beasley doll, just like the one carried by little Buffy on "Family Affair." You may remember the show: three orphaned kids show up one day to live with their highfalutin uncle and his butler in New York City.

Having the TV doll was a big deal, or so we thought.

But then, there were the secondary toys. For boys, it was plastic Army men, a Slinky or some Silly Putty.

For girls, it was usually some kind of pretend make-up set and a baton.

For years, stores had an ample supply of batons. They were usually near the Hula Hoops, another second-string toy.

In October, Gracie and her brother, Austin, came to visit. We took Gracie to watch my daughter, Ashton, march with the Johnson High School band at a band festival in Cumming.

She was mesmerized, particularly by the majorettes.

"Uncle Harris, will you buy me a baton?" she asked.

I said yes, remembering the old display of batons near the Hula Hoops.

Apparently that was in another era.

This past week, I walked off my Thanksgiving meal on a 20-mile hike through Wal-Mart, Target, KB Toys and Toys R Us. They don’t carry batons anymore.

They do carry an assortment of laser guns and dolls called "Bratz."

I looked at stores in three counties. I walked all over the big mall and the little mall.

I asked the guy in the sporting goods department at Wal-Mart if they carried batons. He thought I meant what we used to call a "billy club" or a night stick.

"Sir, we do not carry batons or Tasers," he informed me.

I just gave up.

I thought I might find one on the Internet.

I did. They have a professional model for about $30. They can even get you one that you can light with kerosene.

I’m not looking for a professional baton. I’m looking for the one that was next to the Hula Hoops for a jillion years ... until I needed to buy one.

It’s not often that I make a direct appeal to readers, but when you go in the basement or garage to get out the Christmas decorations and you see an unused baton laying around, I’d be happy to take it off your hands for a nominal price.

Now, if it has some sentimental value, I’d rather you keep it.

But if that old baton is gathering dust and you were wondering why it didn’t make it to your last yard sale, call me at the paper, 770-718-3423.

It will make me look really great in the eyes of a 6-year-old girl.

Harris Blackwood is community editor of The Times. His columns appear Sundays and Wednesdays.



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