Penny Sweet and Larry Springer received an unexpected gift Christmas Eve. The Kirkland couple own the Grape Choice wine store and the shop...

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Penny Sweet and Larry Springer received an unexpected gift Christmas Eve.

The Kirkland couple own the Grape Choice wine store and the shop mascots, golden retrievers Beaune and Pinot. The elder Pinot greets customers with a dignified tail wag but prefers to nap. However, the not-quite 2-year-old Beaune still displays puppy traits. Saturday he slipped through an open door and was last seen bounding after the ducks in Marina Park.

The couple searched downtown and called the police.

At some point Springer checked voice mail because Beaune was wearing dog tags with his owner information.

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A FedEx dispatcher had left them a message — they were delivering Beaune home. A FedEx driver found the wandering dog and alerted his dispatcher that he was making an unplanned stop. Beaune was waiting inside the couple’s enclosed patio.

“Beaune probably jumped right in the FedEx truck,” Springer said. “He knows the UPS and FedEx drivers carry dog treats.”


Lee Maxwell of Bellevue guess-timates the Surrey Downs bunco group has been rolling in good times for at least a quarter-century.

Each December, in addition to the usual dice game, the women raise money for a local charity. Club members bring white elephant items for a silent auction. This year’s loot included costume jewelry, a necktie and a set of preloved cloth napkins that fetched $10.

“Some of it is really ugly stuff,” said Maxwell. “But people buy it anyhow.”

Maxwell was delighted with the autographed Boston Red Sox baseball she purchased.

“We’re big Red Sox fans. We just haven’t figured out whose autograph is on the ball,” she said.

When the closing bell tolled, the group collected 12 checks totaling $336.50. The big winner for the night was Hopelink.

Sisterly love

Another tradition hit the Eastside when “Sister’s Christmas Catechism,” the holiday version of the popular “Late Night Catechism,” recently rollicked through the Kirkland Performance Center.

At the show’s end the sister passed a collection plate. The money goes into a medical fund to care for aging Roman Catholic nuns who aren’t covered by Social Security or Medicare. During the four-night Eastside run, audiences donated $5,282.

Snowside seats

An unknown young man saved a holiday outing for Betty Smith of Bellevue. Her daughter and son-in-law, Bobbie Maletta and Lou Kovitz, had invited Smith, 93, to the Snowflake Lane show.

They planned to watch it from the sky bridge between Bellevue Square and Lincoln Square, but Smith was unable to walk that far.

Maletta asked one of the hosts at a Bellevue Way kiosk if there was a place her mother could sit.

“He was very sweet but apologized there wasn’t,” Maletta said.

Smith leaned against the building. In just a few minutes the young man returned.

“He was carrying two folding chairs filched from somewhere for my mom,” Maletta said.

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633