As I tried to decide what to write about in this last article of 2018, I decided to deviate from the normal KALB-related topics. As I thought about story ideas, I was reminded of a poem that I wrote two years ago that was read as part of the entertainment at the annual Athens Ladies Civitan Operation Santa luncheon. This event is put on each year to bring joy to the clients of the Limestone County Mental Health Center by providing a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings, music, presents, and a bit of entertainment. Many clients anxiously await this event each year, and I have come to know several who attend annually. It is a happy occasion which I personally enjoy.
Christmas should be a time of giving, of remembering, and of being thankful, although it often becomes a time of anxiety, overspending, and exhaustion. If I had one wish for Christmas, it would be that we could all remember, and remind our children, that Christmas is NOT our birthday. Santa and presents and all the secular activities of Christmas are wonderful; however, there are so many other wonderful ways to celebrate and give a gift to the Savior whose birthday it is by remembering those who may be overlooked.
In that spirit, I would like to suggest that we take a moment to give back by remembering the heroes in our community…the police who put their lives on the line every day to protect us, the firefighters who go into dangerous situations when everyone else is running out, the linemen who work to bring electricity back to our homes in the midst of storms, and the medical personnel who will give up their holidays to care for those too sick to be home for Christmas.
I would like to invite you to send a card, a plate of cookies, or even a home-cooked meal to your local police station, fire station, utility department, nursing home, or hospital to say thank you and to let them know their sacrifices are appreciated.
I would like to share this whimsical poem with the community again this year for two reasons. First, because it is a fun Athens story to share with your kids, and also because I hope it will open a dialogue about our first responders and what they truly do for our community.
Now you’ll have to excuse me while I write some thank you notes and bake some cookies. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!A Story Of An Athens Christmas Long Past...
There is quite a story of a Christmas long past,
When in Athens, Alabama Christmas was coming fast.
Everyone was rushing ‘round the Courthouse Square
To buy last minute presents and wrap them with care.
As huge snowflakes came down from out of the skies.
Snow fell and it fell and piled up oh, so deep.
Mayor Marks said, “Well this night I won’t get much sleep!”
The weathermen said it would be a light snow,
But it kept coming down and made quite a show!
The children were giddy as they watched it pile up.
“We’ll build snowmen, make snowballs, and have snow cream in our cups!”
Then all of a sudden the storm caused a shout.
“Oh, my goodness, it can’t be! The lights have gone out!
How will Santa find us with no lights to guide him?”
Now for sure Mayor Marks knew that sleep would not find him.
Santa’s sleigh had been loaded with presents galore,
But the elves told the reindeer, “We have so much more!”
The reindeer all trying to stay out of the way,
Wondered how in the world they could pull such a sleigh!
As they headed toward Athens it was not to be found.
They only saw darkness as they searched all around.
People all over Athens were watching the storm,
But saw something else that was out of the norm.
Out of the darkness came several bright lights,
Shining up through the snow clouds and into the night.
It was Athens firefighters and police all around,
Using spotlights to shine to the sky from the ground.
Mayor Marks shouted, “Everyone keep those lights bright!
We must guide Santa’s sleigh to Athens this night.
Men and women of Athens, your task as it’s storming –
To be sure there are presents under each tree in the morning!”
As Santa came closer to Athens that night,
He saw in the distance a convergence of light.
He knew in a flash it was Athens ahead,
And he hoped all the children were snug in their beds.
Santa was led to each home in the town.
He found every last chimney he had to slide down.
The children awoke with squeals of delight.
Athens’ Christmas was saved by our heroes that night!
Executive Coordinator - Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful