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12/13/11 - NNHS Newsletter - In the Bleak Midwinter

Look round and round upon this bare bleak plain, and see even here,
upon a winter's day, how beautiful the shadows are! Alas! it is the nature
of their kind to be so. The loveliest things in life, Tom, are but shadows;
and they come and go, and change and fade away, as rapidly as these!

- Charles Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit, 1843/4
(07 Feb 1812 - 09 June 1870)

Dear Friends and Schoolmates,

   Today's theme is being revisited from 2006.

BONUS - - In the Bleak Midwinter - Gloucester Cathedral Choir - sing-along version


"In the Bleak Midwinter" is a Christmas carol based on a poem by the English poet Christina Rossetti written before 1872 in response to a request from the magazine Scribner's Monthly for a Christmas poem.[1] It was published posthumously in Rossetti's Poetic Works in 1904 and became a Christmas carol after it appeared in The English Hymnal in 1906 with a setting by Holst.

Harold Darke's anthem setting of 1909 is more complex and was named the best Christmas carol in a poll of some of the world's leading choirmasters and choral experts in 2008.[2]

In verse one, Rossetti describes the physical circumstances of the Incarnation in Bethlehem. In verse two, Rossetti contrasts Christ's first and second coming. The third verse dwells on Christ's birth and describes the simple surroundings, in a humble stable and watched by beasts of burden. Rossetti achieves another contrast in the fourth verse, this time between the incorporeal angels attendant at Christ's birth with Mary's ability to render Jesus physical affection. This verse is omitted in the Harold Darke setting. The final verse shifts the description to a more introspective thought process. Darke repeats the last line in his setting.

Hymnologist and theologian Ian Bradley has questioned the poem's theology: "Is it right to say that heaven cannot hold God, nor the earth sustain, and what about heaven and earth fleeing away when he comes to reign?"[3].....


     Happy Birthday today to Kay Davis Smith ('57)!

     Happy Birthday tomorrow to Elizabeth Mitchell Hedgepeth ('57) AND   Kathie Avant Taylor ('64) of GA!

   Happy Birthday this week to:

15 - Jewell Hamner Crowe ('57) AND        Buster Vest ('63) of VA;

16 -   Betty Brockwell McClure ('58) of VA;

17 -   Tom Oxner ('65) of AR;

18 - James Strickland ('57);

19 - Durwood Adams ('57)!

   Many Happy Returns to You All! 



Friday, Dec. 13, 1861

Over in the western part of Virginia (which was still one state in these days) there is a high spot of land known as Buffalo Mountain. On this hill was a Confederate outpost known as Camp Allegheny. This was not an entirely comfortable place for them to be, as Western Virginia had voted strongly against secession and was full of Union supporters. In fact, just on the next hill over, known as Cheat Mountain, there was a whole camp of Union soldiers, under command of Brig. Gen. R. H. Milroy. Milroy and his men came one mountain over to pay a call on their secessionist neighbors, and a considerable battle ensued. The effort caused about as much damage to the attackers as to those they attacked: 137 Federal casualties to 146 for the Confederates. It did drive the boys in gray off Buffalo Mountain; they headed for Stanton. The Unionists returned to Cheat Mountain.

Saturday, Dec. 13, 1862

Again, like yesterday, fog rose from the Rappahannock in the night, not dispersing until midmorning. As soon as it did, the cannons exploded and the first wave of Union troops began the charge up the rise called Marye’s Heights. At the top waited the Army of Northern Virginia, which had had days to dig in and prepare. Longstreet’s men held the left, Stonewall Jackson’s the right, backed up on the lower elevation by J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry. Every wave that marched up the hill was slaughtered and driven back, and then followed by another wave. This futility continued for five assaults before sunset, around 4:30 p.m. this time of year, and another one after dark. All met the same fate as the first. This is not to say the Federal attack did not wreak harm of its own, but the casualties were hugely lopsided: 12,635 killed, wounded or taken prisoner for the Union, out of some 114,000 men engaged, versus 5309 casualties for the Army of Northern Virginia’s force of 72,000. It was after this battle that Robert E. Lee made his famous remark, “I wish these people would go away and let us alone.”

Sunday, Dec. 13, 1863

This time of year most armies were in winter camp or heading for them. This did not, however, mean that complete peace prevailed upon the land. Action happened at Hurricane Bridge in West Virginia; Powell’s River near Stickleyville in Virginia, along with others at Strasburg and Germantown there. Ringgold, Ga., saw some action as Longstreet’s corps moved for winter camp, and just plain old random fights at Meriwether’s Ferry on Bayou Boeuf, Arkansas. What should have been a routine family visit in Washington was complicated by great hostility, although no gunfire: Mary Todd Lincoln received her sister for a visit at the White House. The complicating factor was that her sister, actually half-sister, Emily Todd Helm, was the widow of Gen. Ben Hardin Helm, general of the Confederate States of America. There were actually demands that Mrs. Helm swear the loyalty oath before being allowed to visit her relatives.

Tuesday, Dec. 13, 1864

The 1000-foot long King’s Bridge rebuilding job was finished, and the Union soldiers of Gen. William T. Sherman marched across it today on their way to attack the last barrier standing between them and the sea--Ft. McAllister. Sherman gave the assignment to his old corps, the 15th, now under Gen. W. B. Hazen. Sherman and his staff repaired to the top of an old rice mill to watch the action. As the blue-clad troops neared the fort, firing broke out and, to Sherman’s horror, the Union troops disappeared. After a few anxious moments they reappeared, having merely marched down into a swale. Soon thereafter they were seen waving the Stars and Stripes from the parapets of the fort. McAllister had fallen, and Union steamships could be seen offshore.

    From Joan Lauterbach Krause ('60) of VA - 12/12/11 - "Train set":

This really is AWESOME and worth the time.  Enjoy.


Model Train Display

Watch the Video at the end

Two German Brothers have put this TRAIN SET together.....

This is the world's biggest train set:
Covers 1,150 square meters / 12,380 square feet.
Features almost six miles of track and is still not complete.

Twin brothers Frederick and Gerrit Braun, 41, began work on the 'Miniatur Wunderland' in 2000.

The set covers six regions including America, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Germany, and the Austrian Alps.

The American section features giant models of the Rocky Mountains, Everglades, Grand-Canyon, etc...and Mount Rushmore. The Swiss section has a mini-Matterhorn. The Scandinavian part has a 4ft long passenger ship floating in a 'fjord'.

It is expected to be finished in 2014, when the train set will cover more than 1,800 square meters / (19,376 sq ft) and feature almost 13 miles of track, by which time detailed models of parts of France, Italy and the UK will have been added.

It comprises 700 trains with more than 10,000 carriages and wagons. The longest train is 46ft long. The scenery includes 900 signals, 2,800 buildings, 4,000 cars - many with illuminated headlights....and 160,000 individually designed figures.

Thousands of kilograms of steel and wood was used to construct the scenery... The 250,000 lights are rigged up to a system that mimics night and day by automatically turning them on and off. The whole system is controlled from a massive high-tech nerve centre.

In total the set has taken 500,000 hours and more than 8 million Euro to put together, the vast majority of which has come from ticket sales

Gerrit said: "Our idea was to build a world that men, woman, and children can be equally astonished and amazed in."

Frederik added: "Whether gambling in Las Vegas, hiking in the Alps or paddling in Norwegian fjords - in Wunderland everything is possible."

This 4-minute video is worth watching for this amazing stuff: 

   WOWZERONI-RINI! Thank you, Joan!

  From Bill Hobbs ('66) of Northern VA - 12/12/11 - "My Son":

Although this has been around for a while, I still read it till the end and it always has the same effect. This is such a wonderful time of year to reflect indeed!

This is good time to reflect.

My son

This is great. Take a moment to read it; it will make your day! The ending will surprise you.

Take my Son.....

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.

When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands.

He said, 'Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly... He often talked about you, and your love for art.' The young man held out this package. 'I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.'

The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture.

'Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift.'

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.

On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. 'We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?'

There was silence...

Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, 'We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.'

But the auctioneer persisted. 'Will somebody bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?'

Another voice angrily cried, 'We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Gogh's, the Rembrandts. Get on with the Real bids!'

But still the auctioneer continued. 'The son! The son! Who'll take the son?'

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. 'I'll give $10 for the painting...' Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.

'We have $10, who will bid $20?'

'Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters.'

The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.

The auctioneer pounded the gavel.. 'Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!'

A man sitting on the second row shouted, 'Now let's get on with the collection!'

The auctioneer laid down his gavel. 'I'm sorry, the auction is over.'

'What about the paintings?'

'I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will... I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings.

The man who took the son gets everything!'

God gave His son over 2,000 years ago to die on the Cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is: 'The Son, the Son, who'll take the Son?'

Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything!


Thank you so much, Bill!

    From the Head Flagtwirler of 1965, Janice McCain Rose of Northern VA - 12/12/11 - "Holiday warning. :-)":

Holiday Warning!!!

Please, take care of yourself out on the roads this holiday season.

A recent joint study conducted by the Department of Health and the Department of Motor Vehicles indicates that 23% of traffic accidents are alcohol related.

This means that the remaining 77% are caused by a@#$%^&s who drink bottled water, Starbucks, soda, juice, energy drinks, and @#$% like that.

Therefore, beware of those who do not drink alcohol. They cause three times as many accidents.

This message is sent to you by someone who worries about your safety.

     Thanks, Janice! You baaad!

  From Bill Hobbs ('66) of Northern VA - 12/12/11 - "Alabama Declares War on USA":

President Barack Obama was in the Oval Office when his telephone rang.

"Hello, President Obama” a heavily accented southern voice said. "This is Archie, down here at Joe's Catfish Shack, in Mobile, and I am callin' to tell y'all that we are officially declaring war on y'all!"

"Well, Archie," Barack replied, "This is indeed important news! How big is your army?"

"Right now," said Archie, after a moments calculation, "there is myself, my cousin Harold, my next-door-neighbor Randy, and the whole
Dart team from Hooters. That makes eight!"

Barack paused. "I must tell you, Archie, that I have one million men in my army waiting to move on my command."

"Wow," said Archie. "I'll have to call ya back!"

Sure enough, the next day, Archie called again. “Mr. Obama, the war is still on! We have managed to acquire some infantry equipment!"

"And what equipment would that be, Archie?" Barack asked.

"Well, sir, we have two combines, a bulldozer, and Harry’s farm tractor."

President Obama sighed. "I must tell you, Archie, that I have 16,000 tanks and 14,000 armored personnel carriers. Also I've increased my army to one and a half million since we last spoke."

"Lord above", said Archie, "I'll be getting back to ya."

Sure enough, Archie called again the next day. “President Obama! I am sorry to have to tell you that we have had to call off this here war."

"I'm sorry to hear that," said Barack. "Why the sudden change of heart?"

"Well, sir," said Archie, "we've all sat ourselves down and had a long chat over sweet tea, and come to realize that there's just no way we can feed that many prisoners."


If you are a REAL Southerner, you won't even need to be told to pass this on!


   Thanks again, Bill!

      From My Niece, Shari, of VA - 12/12/11 - "Inspirational Ball of Light, a Brain Teaser & More":

Hazelnut Daiquiri

A doctor made it his regular habit to stop off at a bar for a hazelnut daiquiri on his way home. The bartender knew of his habit, and would always have the drink waiting at precisely 5:03 p.m.

One afternoon, as the end of the work day approached, the bartender was dismayed to find that he was out of hazelnut extract. Thinking quickly, he threw together a daiquiri made with hickory nuts and set it on the bar.

The doctor came in at his regular time, took one sip of the drink and exclaimed, "This isn't a hazelnut daiquiri!"

"No, I'm sorry," replied the bartender, "it's a hickory daiquiri, doc."


Half Price

He was a good man but a bit stingy. He would bargain and haggle on a price, never paying the price asked. He especially hated paying his medical fees.

One day, while eating fish, a bone became lodged in his throat and within minutes he could scarcely breathe. His wife frantically called the family doctor, who arrived just as the patient's face was turning blue. The physician quickly removed the bone with a pair of forceps.

When he was again breathing normally, although overwhelmed with gratitude to the doctor for saving his life, the doctor's fees were a bit worrisome to him.

Trying his best to keep his costs down, he turned to the good doctor and asked, "How much do I owe you for this small two-minute job?"

The doctor, who knew his patient's miserly habit too well, replied, "Just pay me half of what you would have when the bone was still stuck in your throat!"


*-------------- Guaranteed to Roll Your Eyes --------------*

I was recently talking with a friend who bemoaned her family's lack of holiday rituals. "My family doesn't have any traditions," she complained. "We just do the same thing year after year after year."



At birth, water accounts for approximately 80 percent of an infant's body weight.

The average person in the United States uses anywhere from 80-100 gallons of water per day. Flushing the toilet actually takes up the largest amount of this water.

Water dissolves more substances than any other liquid. Wherever it travels, water carries chemicals, minerals, and nutrients with it.

The earth is a closed system, similar to a terrarium, meaning that it rarely loses or gains extra matter. The same water that existed on the earth millions of years ago is still present today.

Roughly 70 percent of an adult's body is made up of water.

The weight a person loses directly after intense physical activity is weight from water, not fat.


Sending this as the inspiration. It is approx. 10 minutes long and quite inspirational.


Brain Teaser

Cross out six letters and you'll find a word that we should know. The word must be spelled out in order.


Scroll down after trying to figure it out












You cross out the words "SIX LETTERS".

   Thanks, Shari!


     From Me ('65) of NC - 12/12/11 - "Saltine Cracker Surprise":


35 square saltine crackers
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter (NOT margarine!)
2 cups chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped pecans
   Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, and place the saltines on top.  Melt the brown sugar with the butter in a pan, stir, and boil hard for two minutes.  Pour over the crackers and bake at 350 degrees F. for 5 minutes.  Immediately cover the crackers with the chocolate chips.  As the chocolate melts, spread it over the crackers.  Sprinkle the chopped nuts on the top and chill.  Peel off the foil and break the candy into pieces.  Store in the refrigerator or freezer.



"Owed to Joy"

The year our youngest daughter, Shelly, was four, she received an unusual Christmas present from "Santa."

She was the perfect age for Christmas, able to understand the true meaning of the season, but still completely enchanted by the magic of it. Her innocent joyfulness was compelling and catching -- a great gift to parents, reminding us of what Christmas should represent no matter how old we are.

The most highly prized gift Shelly received that Christmas Eve was a giant bubble-maker, a simple device of plastic and cloth the inventor promised would create huge billowing bubbles, large enough to swallow a wide-eyed four-year-old. Both Shelly and I were excited about trying it out, but it was after dark so we'd have to wait until the next day.

Later that night I read the instruction booklet while Shelly played with some of her other new toys. The inventor of the bubble-maker had tried all types of soaps for formulating bubbles and found that Joy dishwashing detergent created the best giant bubbles. I'd have to buy some.

The next morning, I was awakened very early by small stirrings in the house. Shelly was up. I knew in my sleepy mind that Christmas Day festivities would soon begin, so I arose and made my way toward the kitchen to start the coffee. In the hallway, I met my daughter, already wide awake, the bubble- maker clutched in her chubby little hand, the magic of Christmas morning embraced in her four-year-old heart. Her eyes were shining with excitement, and she asked, "Daddy, can we make bubbles now?"

I sighed heavily and rubbed my eyes. I looked toward the window, where the sky was only beginning to lighten with the dawn. I looked toward the kitchen, where the coffeepot had yet to start dripping its aromatic reward for early-rising Christmas dads.

"Shelly," I said, my voice almost pleading and perhaps a little annoyed, "it's too early. I haven't even had my coffee yet."

Her smile fell away. Immediately I felt a father's remorse for bursting her bright Christmas bubble with what I suddenly realized was my own selfish problem, and my heart broke a little.

But I was a grown-up. I could fix this. In a flash of adult inspiration, I unshouldered the responsibility. Recalling the inventor's recommendation of a particular brand of bubble-making detergent -- which I knew we did not have in the house -- I laid the blame squarely on him, pointing out gently, "Besides, you have to have Joy."

I watched her eyes light back up as she realized, in less than an instant, that she could neutralize this small problem with the great and wonderful truth she was about to reveal.

"Oh, Daddy," she promised, with all the honesty and enthusiasm and Christmas excitement she could possibly communicate, "Oh, Daddy, I do."

I broke records getting to the store, and in no time at all we were out on the front lawn creating gigantic, billowing, gossamer orbs--each one filled with Joy and sent forth shimmering into the Christmas sun.

-- By Ted A. Thompson

From - 12/12/11 - "Pampering #11":

Dear FlyLady,

I have been flying for about a year and a half now. My house can still be messy at times, but I'm keeping up with my morning routine and decluttering, which is half the battle anyway.

Yesterday, I was a victim of my stinkin' thinkin'.

I am trying to start a new career while staying home with my 2 year old son. My unemployment is set to run out this month and we are on a very strict budget in preparation for that. My husband has MS and luckily, his only major symptom right now is extreme fatigue, so I try to let him take it easy on weekends. And thanks to my seven adorable nieces and nephews, plus the rest of my family, as well as the 30 stockings we are stuffing for the Salvation Army, I have a lot of presents all over my once-tidy guest room.

I was sitting in bed feeling sorry for myself when my husband came to check on me. I told him I didn't think I was strong enough to handle what God had given me. He told me, "Baby steps, honey! You can do it! You just need to take care of yourself."

I knew he was right, so I thought about things that would make me happy. A hot bath or an at-home pedicure wasn't gonna cut it. I thought for a few minutes, then it hit me! I LOVE wrapping presents! I really do; I have such feelings of love and caring when I take something I've carefully chosen, put it in a box, and cover it in pretty paper. I get into a rhythm and it's so soothing. Plus, it would help the pile on the guest bed look less crazy.

So I put on a Christmas album and wrapped gifts, and the bad feelings were gone. I woke up today feeling renewed. Wrapping presents (and writing out holiday cards today) may not be everyone's idea of relaxation, but it is for me!

A Flybaby

Kelly here: Our habit this month is pampering.

Decide what you can do that is relaxing and special for you!!

I am so proud of you.


- 12/12/11:

A New Yorker was forced to take a day off from work to appear for a minor traffic summons. He grew increasingly restless as he waited hour after endless hour for his case to be heard.

When his name was called late in the afternoon, he stood before the judge, only to hear that court would be adjourned for the rest of the afternoon and he would have to return the next day.

"What for?!?!?" he snapped at the judge.

His honor, equally irked by a tedious day and sharp query, roared out loud: "Twenty dollars contempt of court! That's why!"

Then, noticing the man checking his wallet, the judge relented:

"That's all right. You don't have to pay now."

The young man replied, "I know. But I'm just seeing if I have enough for two more words." 


1. Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - The NNHS Class of June 1942 meets at noon on the second Wednesday of every other month for a Dutch treat lunch at the James River Country Club, 1500 Country Club Road. PLEASE JOIN THEM. Give or take a few years makes no difference. Good conversation, food and atmosphere. For details, call Jennings Bryan at 803-7701 for reservations.

2. Thursday, January 5, 2012 - The NNHS Class of 1955 holds Lunch Bunch gatherings on the first Thursday of every month at Steve & John's Steak House on Jefferson Avenue just above Denbigh Boulevard in Newport News at 11:00 AM. The luncheon is not limited to just the Class of '55; if you have friends in that year, go visit with them.

3. Saturday, January 7, 2012 - 11:00 AM - The NNHS Breakfast Bunch will host a Breakfast Bunch Brunch at the Warwick Restaurant, 12306 Warwick Boulevard, (across from CNU) Newport News, Virginia 23606. "Please come join them for a Dutch Treat Brunch featuring a lot of 'War Stories' and maybe a lie or two. Everyone is welcome so bring your wife, husband, boy friend, girl friend, class mate, school friend or whomever you choose." Please RSVP to Bill Roady at or call him at 757-595-0716 so they have a head count.

4. Friday and Saturday, October 5 and 6, 2012 - Class of 1962 - 50-Year Reunion - Crowne Plaza Hotel, Hampton on the Water. More information after the Holidays. Meetings are second Tuesday of each month. CONTACT: Brenda Amos Williams at 

PRAYER ROLL: - updated 10/22/11

BLOG: - updated 03/13/11

Please find a few minutes of your busy schedule to support

Thank you so much!

Carol Buckley Harty
7020 Lure Court
Fayetteville, NC 28311-9309


1. Visit the main page (, scroll halfway down, and click on the Pay Pal Donate Button (;

2. Go to, log in, select "Send Money (Services) to; or

3. Just mail it directly to my home. Thanks!    

Words by Christina Rossetti (05 Dec 1830 – 29 Dec 1894), before1872

Music by Gustav Holst (21 Sept 1874 – 25 May 1934), 1906

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, Whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, Whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

 "In the Bleak Midwinter" midi (sequenced by David Cooke) courtesy of - 01/02/06

"In the Bleak Midwinter" lyrics courtesy of - 01/02/06

"In the Bleak Midwinter" calligraphy courtesy of  - 01/02/06

Snowflake Divider Line clip art courtesy of - 12/01/04

Animated Tiny Birthday Cake clip art courtesy of Sarah Puckett Kressaty ('65) of VA - 08/31/05
Thanks, Sarah Sugah!

Coast Guard Seal clip art courtesy of - 10/03/07

Navy Seal clip art courtesy of - 05/29/06

Animated Dancing Elephant courtesy of Sandi Bateman Chestnut ('65) of VA - 03/08/11
Thanks, Sandi!

Animated Fat Frog courtesy of Wayne Stokes ('65) of VA - 07/16/08
Thanks, Wayne!

Animated Ringing Christmas Bell clip art (designed by Art Holden) courtesy of - 12/08/05

NNHS65 Home Page Banner created by my #5 Son, Nathaniel Harty (Hillsboro HS, IL - '97) of IL - 06/06/02
Thanks, Nathaniel!

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