Opps! There was an error in last week’s column. Our Christmas Tree Lighting is on December 14 as was reported in all previous columns. We will begin to gather at 4:30 p.m. at Sampson Schneider Park across from the Lutheran Church on Baisley and Hollywood Avenues.
We’ll keep you warm with hot chocolate, coffee and cookies as you sing Christmas carols, mingle with your neighbors and wait for Santa to arrive. As usual, Santa will arrive in a very special way that is sure to have young and old alike wide eyed with wonderment. He’ll have gifts for children in attendance that are 12 and under but of course anyone is welcome to sit on his knee! We hope you will join us for a traditional country Christmas tree lighting with fun and treats galore!
Our next membership meeting will be on December 11 at 7:30 p.m. at P.S. 14. It will be a Christmas party so bring your friends and neighbors along so that they can celebrate the holidays with us. There will be refreshments, treats and prizes so come on out and join the fun!
Thank a Soldier or Veteran
My sister recently shared a beautiful and thought provoking poem with me and if you know a soldier or veteran this poem will certainly have special meaning for you. I’d like to share it with you and I hope that you will share it with someone, too.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give,
and to see just who in this home did live.
I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by mantle, just boots filled with sand,
on the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.
With medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
a sober thought came through my mind.
For this house was different, it was dark and dreary,
I found the home of a soldier, once I could see clearly.
The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone,
curled up on the floor in this one bedroom home.
The face was so gentle, the room in such disorder,
not how I pictured a United States soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I just read?
Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?
I realized the families that I saw this night,
owed their lives to these soldiers who were willing to fight.
Soon round the world the children would play,
and grownups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each day of the year,
because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.
I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home.
The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,
“Santa don’t cry, this life is my choice;
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more,
My life is my God, my Country, my Corps.”
The soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours, so silent and still
and we both shivered from the cold night’s chill.
I didn’t want to leave on that cold, dark night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
Then the soldier rolled over, with a voice soft and pure,
whispered, “Carry on Santa, it’s Christmas day, all is secure.”
One look at my watch, and I knew he was right.
“Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night.”
Do you know a soldier or veteran? How nice it would be to send to them a card of thanks for keeping us safe and our land free. If you don’t know a soldier or veteran, you may want to send cards or gifts to the Veteran’s Hospital at 130 West Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, NY 10468. The phone number is (718) 741-4000.
If anyone reading this column has a soldier home or abroad who they think would like to receive a card or gift, please call me at (718) 792-6385.