Russell’s Ramblings

Those who do not hear the music might think the dancer mad

The Greatest Gifts

Christmas has always been a special time for me.  When I hear a Christmas tune on the radio, whether it’s Bing Crosby or Nat King Cole, I cannot help but recall how each Christmas we would gather at my grandparent’s homes in Rock Hill.  My grandmother Russell would have worked all week in preparing pastries and other baked goodies. The air was filled with the scent of her hot buttered biscuits and French apple pie.  Her Christmas albums played in the background as we all gathered in the den. The grandchildren, spying the pile of gifts under the tree, guessed what might be in theirs.  After the festivities, we would pack up and head over to my Grandmother Feemster’s where we would start all over again.  You always saved room because it was another large helping of turkey with all the fixings and likely a fresh baked pound cake with her special icing!

Christmas is also special because of the occasions I had to work with local civic groups to bring joy and happiness to someone less fortunate.  On one such occasion, I was in Sumter, South Carolina assisting the Sumter Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) and a good friend named Doug Griffin in a project called the Christmas Shopping Tour.

A couple of dozen kids from single parent and out-of-work families were taken on a shopping tour and given $50 to buy anything they wanted. Each of us took a child and paid for their purchase.  In 1990, this token amount went a long way to brighten a Christmas for a needy child.  After the tour, Doug gave several of us a ride back to his house during which time we shared our experiences of the day.

However,  the story Doug shared will always remain with me.  He gave his little boy the $50 and off he went tearing through the local Target store.  In just a few minutes he appeared with a single pair of shoes which accounted for his $50.  Doug asked if this was really what he wanted instead of a toy or game?  Wouldn’t he prefer a football or something to play with?  Indeed, there had been no mistake –  this was what he wanted. Doug then examined the shoes carefully and noted not only were they much too big for the child, but they were women’s shoes.  When Doug inquired about this, the child looked up and said, “They’re for mama.  She needs some shoes and can’t afford to buy them for herself.”

The car was awfully quiet as all of us thought about what that child had done. After a few moments of silence, we asked what happened next?   Doug related that he asked the cashier to wrap the shoes up in some decorative wrapping paper and went back in the store where he asked the child to purchase something for himself.  While the child appreciated Doug’s generosity,  he seemed to beam with joy that he had done something special for his
mama.

This Christmas season, when many will be gathered with family and friends, others will not only go to bed without exchanging gifts, but will go to bed hungry.  Many of our area civic clubs are working hard this Christmas season to bring joy to those who need a helping hand.  Our Kiwanis club helped with Christmas in Davidson and delivered turkey dinners just a few weeks ago to the needy.  The Optimist and Lions have their Christmas tree lot and the Rotary has had their Christmas Shopping Tour.  Other civic clubs are still making plans to lend a helping hand and the Salvation Army’s bell will ring throughout the day and night at many high profile shopping centers. 

Merry Christmas from Bill, Abbie, Gipper, & Murray

Please consider making a generous contribution to these and other clubs who work so hard in our community.  The funds these clubs raise will go a long way to help those who need it most.

Merry Christmas!

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December 19, 2009 - Posted by | Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) | , , , , ,

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