By Suzan Bekolay
The Christmas season only made the evening with the residents and guests at Peach Hill Lodge more special than it always is when I get a chance to stop the speed of life and reflect.
The occasion was their annual Christmas dinner. A special time with special people all around but for me, it was about more than what was obvious.
There was valet parking for walkers as people were escorted to their table, Christmas trees in every corner, brilliant pink ties, twinkling lights, sparkling sweaters and sparkling smiles all around.
I had the good fortune to be with family who have been in the area for many years. As they saw the faces of people they’ve known, some from childhood, I heard of imprints made, heart stamps and contributions to the community; “He was my teacher”, or “they had a store” or “she always brought us…”.
Of accomplishments, kindnesses and giving throughout the community, this was a room full of special people surrounded by their families. For many, there was a time when the turkey and trimmings was made with their own hands maybe even the turkey came from their own farm.
My heart went thump again. There were 240 people sharing Christmas dinner with all the trimmings that night; three times as many as the staff at Peace Hills usually serve I’m told. A hand on the shoulder, a pat on the back or a “let me get that for you” made the service 5 star – better than any restaurant I could imagine. Every resident known by name with warmth and respect. The staff was on a mission to help families make another memory and that they did.
A wingback chair by an award winning Christmas Tree entered in Gingerbread and Glitter and decorated by residents awaited any families who wanted a picture. A community member who simply cared to share his talent, Bill Castlemen, volunteered to take family pictures.
As I looked at the faces, thought of the giving that was happening all around, the generosity of spirit, past and present, of the people who remember others and of people who will always be remembered, I was reminded of what Christmas is really about.
Thank you Peace Hills staff and residents, volunteers and all. Christmas just got kicked up a knotch because of you!