When my twin brother and I reached number 60 on Sept. 25, we did so without fanfare.
He lives in North Carolina. I took long breaks taking stock of so many memories, including faces of family and friends who have come and gone. I added up the goals reached and others still to go after. I certainly put many Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday memories near the top of my list.
Many times each year I am introduced to civic, church, business and school groups as a motivational/inspirational speaker and well-known Hoosier artist. My ego is pumped, but simply stated, I am blessed with a mouth and have a few stories to share and paintings to show. My dual artificial arms and red powered wheelchair come along for the event.
Nearly 15 months ago I took a leap to living independently in a Pine Valley villa. I have spilled a few things, burned a mini pizza in the microwave, gotten stuck in my van in the garage with dead batteries and fallen a few times.
In October I fell against the toilet tank, landed on my back, unable to get up and hearing gushing water as the tank cracked.
I scooted on my back into my bedroom and managed to pull the phone off of a dresser. I dialed 911 and requested the fire department to help me. The station on Coldwater road came, got me off the floor and turned the water off. I was exhausted and my back was soaked.
My brother and sister came minutes later with a shop vac and kindness.
The best gifts we have and ones we can give are each other. Ribbons, wrapping, bows, colored lights and decorated confection are symbols of the holiday, but our talents, kindness, good character and unyielding faith and love for one another reels in Christmas closer to the heart.
Scotch-taped, wrapped packages, fancy and perfect, aren’t really necessary. I have lost family and old friends like Karen Tyner of Turnstone, Patty Martone and Joan Uebelhor. Still, I have celebrated birthdays with so many. Life offers us moments of pause but tells us to move on, clutching hope and reaching within ourselves to find goodness in good people and encouragement to spread around.
Janet Haudenschild, her family and first responders here and everywhere are in my thoughts this Christmas. I attended Mark Haudenschild’s funeral and was in awe. The bond and real love in The Chapel was incredible. I hope strength prevails and some Christmas warmth comes to Janet and her family.
First responders, seeing you in the procession, dressed in formal attire had you almost bigger than life. God bless you and Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas to all, and happy new year.