By Marsha M. Brown
It’s customary this time of year to think of the folks we want to give presents to. We make our list and much like Santa, we ‘check it twice’ but no matter who’s been ‘naughty or nice’ we give…regardless.
Family comes to mind first – in the natural order Moms and Dads are at the top of the list. Having brought us into the world, they are who we shared our first Christmas with, they watched us grow up, taught us table manners, to check traffic before crossing the road and to follow the golden rule. And… they were the first to love us.
If they’re still with us, maybe they need ‘round the clock’ care; maybe they’re fortunate enough to still putter around their own kitchen or garden living life in their golden years celebrating Christmas in their own, special unique way. Maybe they aren’t still here and have made their way to Heaven.
Our husbands and wives are on our shopping list always. They’ve shared our hopes and dreams, our heartaches and sorrows, our tears and laughter. If either spouse was in the service, the other has waited at home for extended, lonely periods. For those who are married to M.I.A.’s and P.O.W.’s, they still wait. Our spouses deserve presents for sure but mostly they deserve gratitude – for their support, patience, encouragement, understanding and forgiveness. They are our better half. In normal circumstances and unless our significant other is deployed, they are the first face we see each morning and the last we see at night before ‘lights out’.
Our children who started out as sweet little bundles have grown over the years into hard working men and women with families of their own. No matter how old they are, we never stop worrying, fretting and praying over them. We still worry when they travel until we know they arrived at their destination safely. Time will never change that. Many are running their own businesses and changing the world for the better. Its hard to realize that our ‘babies’ are now in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s…and its certain that we love them more today than yesterday.
We heard their first cry, tendered their scraped knees, took them to school their first day, cheered for them at Soap Box Derby races, basketball games and Science Fairs. We’ve watched them transform from a tiny bundle of dependent innocent life into being the strong, independent beautiful person they’ve become that we’re proud to call our son or our daughter. They’ve touched and blessed our lives in a way that’s impossible to describe. They are ‘us’ all over again, a reflection of our values, our traits, our skills and our past.
The littlest of our family chain – our grandchildren, great grandchildren and possibly great, great grandchildren. Be it they’re a toddler or high school senior, a college student or professor, they are our pride and joy. They make us laugh, and fondly call us ‘Nanny and Pappy’ or ‘Grandmamma & Granddaddy’. They’ve seen us grow older, our hair turn whiter and our walk become slower but they still love to hug us and listen to our funny, old stories…the ones we forget we’ve told over and over again.
We think about others to add to our Christmas shopping list too, like our preachers and devoted friends who stick by us through thick and thin. There’s no doubt the people we love and care about who have loved us, like Santa’s list, are endless.
But before our list is completely finished there is someone else to think about…our veterans. On the Outer Banks there are two assisted living facilities, Colony Ridge and Spring Arbor. Whether you know any of the veteran ‘residents’ personally or not, they have ‘given’ to us all for decades…now it’s our turn. If you have a minute to spare, please think about stopping by one of the facilities and asking to visit a veteran, especially one that may not have a lot of visitors or family close by.
Early last week Mr. Brian Kelly and Mr. Bob Maher of The American Legion Fort Raleigh Post 26 (Kill Devil Hills) took their annual trip to Fayetteville to deliver “comfort items” to veterans. Gathered primarily through the Holy Redeemer by the Sea Catholic Church and the Outer Banks Presbyterian Church, the spirit of Christmas was shared with all.
Bob Maher said an array of much needed items were donated including clothing, underwear, socks, sweat suits, personal hygiene items like powder, toothpaste, shaving supplies, soaps, skin lotion and even fun things like crossword puzzles and Word Search games too.
The two men traveled with 26 cartons of ‘blessings’ and delivered them to Norma Frasor, Chief Voluntary Services for the Fayetteville Veterans Hospital for distribution.
When I contacted each Legion Member, I was touched by the joy in their voices having accomplished their goal to help their fellow comrades. It was apparent they took pride in what they had done – it made them happy – and no doubt about it…they didn’t just ‘talk the talk’, they ‘walked the walk’ and put their Christmas spirit into action.
Veterans deserve praise, special acknowledgement and gifts too for their kindness, selflessness and sacrifice. And they deserve to be remembered in a very special way during this profound holiday.
If you have items that you wish to donate to our veterans, please feel free to contact Mr. Brian Kelly at (252) 261-5024. Thoughtfulness and generosity will go a long way in saying ‘thank you’ to those so deserving. Perhaps you children or grandchildren would like to accompany you and participate in doing a nice thing for a veteran. Please just think about it.
I look forward to hearing from you at [email protected]. Until next time, be happy, be safe, be proud and stay tuned…