It was a joy to be a part of the merry Christmas giving of gifts to the veterans who are patients at the Atlanta Veterans Administration Medical Center in Decatur. My Hero and I, along with three others, wheeled our cart, abundantly laden with Christmas stockings spilling over with toiletries, books, puzzles, candy (sugar-free of course), socks and other small gifts… up and up to the 7th floor.
"Merry Christmas! Thank you for your service to America," "What branch of the service… where did you serve? What ship? What base?" All of these simple questions turned on the faucet of their interest.
The gift-giving morning was delayed a bit, and so I took the big bag of Christmas cards signed by Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, church members young and not as young, 350 cards in all… and met people at the door as they walked in. One by one: "Merry Christmas. Thank you for your service." (Insert big smile here.) At one point I had to talk to myself as my emotions seemed to be getting the best of me.
Young and old, stooped and straight, wheel-chaired and walking, all approached the door with a downcast expression. No one was looking forward to the whoosh of the door as they came in. They all had to be here, and it didn't seem like any were looking forward to it. I saw the sadness, the dread in some cases, and almost borrowed their emotions, and then remembered that I had one mission: "Merry Christmas! Thank you for your service." It was a happy surprise to each one.
All it takes to be a happy surprise to someone is to speak, to say, “Merry Christmas” and “thank you,” no matter what their service might be: Military or shopping. And you will be able to insert a big smile here.
Brenda Davison Jessel