Friday, November 29, 2013

Giving Thanks

November 29, 2013
Another Thanksgiving has come and gone.  We served around 350 seniors. There were ups and downs and there always is but I choose to be thankful for the ups and wish to list the highlights of the day:
So many handshakes, hugs, and kisses from grateful seniors who would have sat in their houses in front of the TV.  To watch them interact with the volunteers and see the smiles on their faces is a priceless thing.
Our greeter was from the local TV station and did an incredible job along with one of our regular helpers who had never organized seating before but did it like he had done it all of his life.
In the first hour, servers along with a couple of seniors stopped and sang "My Girl" along with the singer.  Servers from the back room ran into the front room to join in the fun.  I stood next to the greeter and said, "This is why we do this."  Seniors in the crowd clapped and sang along with all of them.
Buck and Gayle picked up Ethelene. As she came in the door, she shook her finger at me and barked, "Don't you ever send Buck Sherwood after me again!".  I believe she meant it too.
My daughter, Trinity, giving up two days of time and a half at the airlines to step in and reduce my stress.  I am not good at organizing and she is.  She stepped in where ever I asked her to and helped reduce the problems.
My other daughter, Carrie and grandson, Jayden who showed up to be with us.  Jay helped out in the cashier booth and was greatly appreciated.  Carrie knew I was stressed a bit and gave me constant hugs and reminders that I was loved.
Judy showing up even though our little dog, Mia, had kept us up most of the night prior with an upset tummy (still don't know why).
Tony and Leo from my group showing up and eating with the seniors.  It was great to see my two brothers and their presence reduced my stress just being there.
Somewhere in the first two hours (always the most stressful as that is when the problems usually occur), I stepped out on the floor and one of our volunteers told me, "I am having so much fun".  I had been wound tight and that was such a release knowing that they were enjoying themselves since I had already encountered other angry volunteers who did not deal well with our disorganization.
Cynthia from COCOA who worked feverishly with Trinity to control the staff problems.  They agreed to stay in touch with one another before next year.
Seeing friends and customers who have become friends over the years enjoying themselves with good food and entertainment.
Jimmy working so hard these past few days to insure that the food quality was top notch and to insure that the left over food was delivered to the police station so that officers who had to work so that others could enjoy their day could have some holiday cheer when they took their break.
Ed's tap dancing.  I saw a couple of seniors grab their cameras so they could take his picture while he danced.
Being able to jump in and sing the chorus of a song that I knew with Roy and the resounding whoops and claps afterward.
Richard once again handling the pie station.  It is so comforting to know that I can count on him every year there.
The various venders who helped out including Sysco, FSA, Franz, and Farmers Coffee.  And local dairy, Eberhard providing the ice cream so that the pies became pie alamode.
All of the various volunteers and entertainers who took a big hunk of their holiday to become family to the many who showed up.  Love isn't Love  (til you give it away).  Reba McIntire and Michael W Smith amongst others.
The people who donated money on the week before to pay for peoples meals on Thanksgiving that they did not know.
And last but certainly not least, Barb, Sterling, Bob Gordon and his wife (she did all the vacuuming), and JW and his family for sticking around afterwards and helping clean up the mess and reset so that we can go on with business on Friday.  If you guys had not shown up, I would probably still be down there.
I was so exhausted afterwards that I fell asleep the second my head hit the pillow (something that does not happen often with me) and slept until an hour or so ago when I knew I had to get up and write this all down before I forgot it.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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