Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays

Ho Ho Ho,

Well, today is the big day, and although I live alone and there weren't so many packages under my tree, I was up at 5 am and ready for the day. Old habits acquired in childhood may linger for a long, long time. Of course, I never really gave up my belief in the jolly old elf, so that might have something to do with it.

I always look forward to Christmas. My father loved the holiday and he made a big deal out of cutting and decorating the tree. Gifts were piled up under that tree from Thanksgiving on - giving us kids fits of curiosity. One time we came home and opened one gift early when our folks were away from the house, but it seems to me that the thrill wasn't really there. Christmas morning is for opening gifts - not some after-school activity.

We never did that again. And we never told we had been bad. Instead, we found some tape and re-wrapped those gifts and put them back under the tree - partly from guilt, partly from the fact that there is no magic on Christmas gifts unless they are opened on the proper day.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. The Maryland Energy Commission sent some specialists over to clean my furnaces, and another complement of men to insulate my attic and walls. They caulked windows and blew insulation all the way around the house. I will admit that the house is warmer, especially the upstairs where I used to bring a two-liter bottle of hot water with me when I went to bed because otherwise it took forever for my feet to thaw out. I consider that a real blessing and thank HEAP for the referral. HEAP is a program that helps seniors with low incomes with paying energy bills. I guess they were just making sure the people they help are warm as well as having enough to pay their bills.

Today I will go to a friend's house to share a holiday meal, a date of long standing with good friends. It is always nice to have people to spend the holiday with, since I have had Christmas days when I never saw a soul. I lived through them, though, and that was the blessing in those lean years - I wouldn't really like to repeat those days. People are better than no people every time.

I hope you are having a great holiday, that Santa came to your house and left you the gifts of your dreams, and that the coming year is better for all of us. HO HO HO

PS: The wonderful window art that the Wednesday Morning Artists did for Pleasant Day Medical Adult Day Care center in my last post was sold for $300! What a great use for something that might otherwise have been thrown away! As a matter of fact the gentleman who donated the window when the exterior of his house was updated purchased the same window back as a present for his wife! The Festival of Wreaths gala was a great event with the community turned out to support the facility, which cares for more than 75 clients every day.

Terry L White -Author of the Chesapeake Heritage Series
"Travel Through Time With Terry"

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Small-Town Gala

Last night I went to a gala to benefit the local medical adult day care center. What is that, you ask?

Medical adult day care is a program for people with chronic health problems who require daily medical supervision. Clients are picked up in a distinctive blue bus and are treated to two meals and a snack, activities, social interaction and medical support, and while some folks have long term care insurance to help pay for their care, others may not.

Which does not mean that those individuals who don't have the means to pay for their care are denied entrance in the program.

The Festival of Wreaths is a major fund-raiser for the medical adult day care center, earning thousands of dollars for patient services. The event, paired with a Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours, is so well attended one can barely make his or her way down the halls in the center - halls that are decorated with dozens and dozens of gorgeous handmade wreaths that have been donated to the program. Visitors receive a pencil and a ballot for the "People's Choice' award, and can place bids on the wreath they want via a silent auction.

In the center's great room, a live auction draws great interest, garnering even more funding to keep the program going. The photo I posted today is of a window sash painting executed by my favorite group - the Wednesday Morning Artists. Sixteen artists painted portions of the painting of a compote full of fruit; the result a vibrant painting that glows behind the ancient window sash donated by the program's director.

On a sweet note, the director's husband bid cheerfully for the painting, and surprised his wife with the birthday present she had admired from the day it was delivered at the center.

The Wednesday Morning Artists were gratified to see that the painting sold for a healthy price and were glad to know the money it earned will go to help others less fortunate. I am happy to say I helped.

It was a wonderful night and a grand gala. I am always delighted to see people helping people and I hope to share in this gala for many years to come.


Terry L White -Author of the Chesapeake Heritage Series
"Travel Through Time With Terry"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

In The Wake of Thanksgiving

I was talking with my brother the day before Thanksgiving and he mentioned that he was going to a neighbor's to share their turkey dinner. I asked if he bagged the turkey in his somewhat rustic yard and he was horrified.

"I couldn't shoot them," he said. "I feed them every day."

Which just goes to show that there are indeed different strokes for different folks. When I was a kid, one of the book-a-month selections was: Don't Get Personal With a Chicken, a long story about a girl who tamed her chickens and therefore could not stand poultry on her plate. I guess this is about the same thing. Guy is just too soft-hearted to shoot anything anyway.

But turkey is far from the focus fifty years after our childhood. Dad used to stop at the locker plant and pick up a fresh turkey for the holiday and we just stayed home and played games and made cookies and fudge for the rest of the weekend. The holiday was quiet and soothing.

Today the next thing people do after the big dinner is to write out a list of everything they want to purchase for Christmas. Then they get up in the wee small hours of the night in order to stand in line for hours in the cold. This affords them the opportunity to get into the big department stores first, to grab the bargain items (of which there are never enough to go around) and to shop until one dropped - or ran out of money.

Well, back in the day, Dad never bought things the family could not afford, and most of our gifts were clothing. Today, people buy all sorts of things and pay for them the rest of the year - if not the rest of their lives. Credit cards are great thing if one uses them correctly, but way too many of us have at least one experience of over spending that left us wrestling with huge interest charges. At one point I cut up every credit card I had.

Did I go out and brave the storm of shoppers on Black Friday? No indeed. I spent the day pretty much getting over the effort of making a turkey and traveling.

I also spent some time thinking about all the good things that have come to me over the years. It was a good day and a good year since the last Thanksgiving feast. I hope yours was good too.


Terry L White -Author of the Chesapeake Heritage Series
"Travel Through Time With Terry"