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Spreading cheer to another generation

By KEN LARSON
Sun Advocate Publisher

Although some stores have been decked out with Christmas decorations since before Halloween, I am still one of those old fashioned spirits and feel that Christmas begins after Thanksgiving. As I woke up Friday morning it was then, not before, that I started organizing the tasks that I will need to complete over the next four weeks.

One of my thoughts over the holiday led me to charity and all the needs various people have this time of the year. As an active member of Kiwanis, I know we concentrate on our needy children and work hard to make sure there are a few more smiling faces Christmas morning. Christmas time is that period of the year when people put aside their image and try to let thoughtfulness and goodwill flow on through. Even though they are caught up in the rush of shopping, cards, baking and visiting, many feel a pull to share their warm feelings and good intentions with others not so fortunate.

Though there are many children throughout the world without parents and families, there are even more elderly citizens who have been discarded by their society and left to fend for themselves outside the mainstream.

The senior citizens of today are the ones who have put together so many past Christmas celebrations, some in bad times, but many just in peace filled times that all of us wish to remember.

They are the people who have been chalked off the list as has-beens, living beyond their times, not fitting into today"s scheme, yet they are the same generation who fitted us with homemade garments, hand-sewn toys and brought home Christmas trees felled with brute strength.

It"s true they no longer look good in designer jeans or flowing hair commercials, but they impart an image of tradition to a grandchild that outclasses and outlasts any television ad that Madison Avenue can produce.

Instead of the young generation worrying about their elders" sagging skin or slowing steps, they should welcome their experience and survival through their life span. Rather than tune out from olden times, the reigning generations should try and glean some survival techniques from a group of people who accelerated from a tractor to a tank to a rocket and finally, often now, to a walker.

Christmas time is a natural for the elderly since jolly old St. Nick is no spring chicken himself. Though some feel resentment for times gone by when they were the basement Santas, putting together those easy-assemble toys before the stroke of midnight, many others can now offer short cuts and helping hands to their grown sons and daughters. That way everyone gets to bed on time, even grandfather Santa.

Maybe the kids don"t walk six miles to school in the middle of a blizzard anymore, but they have schedules, jobs, and commitments that are as demanding and tiring as their fathers" and the father"s childhood chores.

With the time and wisdom that comes from watching as their own children grow and nurture offspring, today"s grandparents and great-grandparents are often more able to see that transition from horse and buggy to pickup trucks than their critics have ever been able to.

Rather than being out of step with the times,grandparents and great-grandparents are merely trying to synchronize the rhythm of many times together.

I have had the privilege this past year of visiting the senior citizens center in Price on a fairly regular basis, writing stories and taking pictures of the group"s ceramics, crocheting, dancing and celebrations.

It is often the highlight of my week to work with the senior citizens in Carbon County and glean from them what happiness is all about.

It is true that many senior citizens who are in rest homes and care centers are surrounded by loving families.

But during the current holiday season, I will make a commitment to visit someone else"s grandmother or grandfather and let the seniors know how much I appreciate the gifts their generation provided me. I want to share a little holiday joy with a group of people who are often ignored by the younger generations.





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