Saturday, December 21, 2013

You never know...

...when someone's generosity will surprise you.

There is a family in our neighborhood that we know well.  My kids grew up with some of their younger kids, and Little Girl considers their younger daughter to be one of her dearest friends.

This family has been hit by hard luck so many times, it makes you glad they don't believe in playing the lottery.  Besides lay-offs, bankruptcy, a son attacked by a dog a few years back, and various other miscellaneous difficulties, now their youngest daughter has had to have surgery for a serious ankle problem that couldn't be solved any other way.

When i think of families in need, this is the kind i think of; dad works hard, they make a lower-middle-class income, but it's never enough to go around, with always trying to catch up on deductibles and co-pays and car breakdowns and everything else that goes on in life.

They probably qualify for some type of help, as the kids do get free lunches at school, but they don't ask for it beyond said lunches.  People who know how little they actually have drop off gently used clothes there a lot, and offer them things like older appliances when purchasing new.  A few even drop off food now and then, and the mother volunteers with a local church garden that provides vegetables for the food bank.  They send some vegetables home with her, too.

That's why, each year, i make sure they have a turkey for Thanksgiving and for Christmas.  It's not much, but it's something i can do to show them how much their friendship over the years has meant to me, and to our family.

At Thanksgiving, turkeys were on special everywhere, so i bought two of them and dropped them over my friends' house, figuring they would use one for Thanksgiving and the other for Christmas.

What none of us knew at the time was that, because of unforeseen circumstances with relatives, they would end up with almost 20 people coming for Thanksgiving.  They needed both turkeys.

Yesterday, i remembered that they were now without a turkey, and realized that if a turkey is going to thaw in time, i needed to get it now, so i went to the store for milk and bananas and a turkey.  (They won't need two -- the husband's boss gives every employee a nice ham for Christmas, which means they can feed everyone if there's another bigger than expected group.)

While in line at the local MomAndPop Grocery Store, i got to talking with the cashier, Miss G, the way i usually do.  She asked how i fixed the turkey, if i had any particular ways i liked it, and i answered that we go to Grandma's house for Christmas.  Then i told her why i was buying the turkey.

She looked at me and said, "I like it when I hear about hard working people who don't sit around and wait for someone to give them handouts.  People who are willing to try to do for themselves as much as they can should be helped."  She then reached in her pocket, took out $10, and told me to give that to the family, too.

As i dropped off the turkey, and the unexpected money that will probably go to buy sweet potatoes and a few other items for their meal, i reflected that you never know when your actions might affect someone else, and you never know when you might be surprised by the generosity of others.

Today is:

Divalia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (part of Saturnalia; feast of Angerona, goddess of secret sorrows)

Flashlight Day -- what better day, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, when dark is with us longest, to make sure you have one in good working order

Forefathers' Day -- Plymouth, MA, US (celebrates the landing of the Pilgrims)

Homeless Persons' Memorial Day -- US

Humbug Day -- those frustrated with their holiday preparations are allowed up to 12 humbugs today, just to help vent their frustrations; sponsored by Wellcat Holidays

Icelandic Yuletide Lad of the Day, Gluggagaegir -- Peeper, who peeps through the windows and will come steal toys he likes the look of

Kiwi Fruit Day -- California, US (celebrate with them, these are good!)

Look At the Bright Side Day -- Northern Hemisphere, and why not; after all, each day after this will have more sun!

Magal de Touba -- Senegal (commemoration of the departure into exile of Ahmadou Bamba to Gabon, a Sufi religious festival)

National Hamburger Day

Pancha Ganapati -- India (through the 25th, a modern Hindu festival honoring of Lord Ganesha, Patron of Arts and Culture)

Phileas Fogg Wins A Wager Day (1872)

Poseidea -- Ancient Greek Calendar (festival to honor Poseidon; date approximate)

Solstice -- Northern Hemisphere Winter begins/Southern Hemisphere Summer begins
     Anne and Samantha Day -- celebrating the lives of Anne Frank and Samantha Smith, a day to work and pray for world peace
     Alban Arthuan -- Druid Festival, 4th Station; through the solstice
     Bruma -- Ancient Roman Calendar
     Dongzhi Festival -- East Asia (literal meaning, "Extreme of Winter")
     Festival of Isis -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (celebration of the seeking of Osiris by Isis and her resurrection of him)
     National Haiku Poetry Day -- US (because haiku is traditionally about the seasons, it's celebrated on the first day of winter)
     Wild Hunt reaches its peak -- various traditions
     Soyala New Year Festival -- Hopi and Zuni Native Americans (a festival of purification as well as celebration, with homes cleaned, fires doused, and personal restraint observed)
     Yalda -- Iran (Persian/Zoroastrian winter solstice festival; to celebrate the longest night of the year, many stay up for the fight against dark and evil.)
     Yule/Jul/Jol Festivals begin -- various calendars, religions, countries and observances, both ancient and modern
          Yule -- Wicca/Pagan, northern hemisphere
          Litha -- Wicca/Pagan, southern hemisphere
          from the Old Norse Hjol, meaning "wheel" to signify the year is at its lowest point and ready to rise again
     Ziemassvetki -- Ancient Latvian Calendar (birth of Dievs, highest of the gods; modern Latvians celebrate this on Christmas Eve/Christmas, but it was originally a three day solstice festival)

St. Peter Canisius' Day (Patron of Catholic press, Germany, writers of catechisms)

St. Thomas' Day, the Doubting Thomas (old date, now celebrated on July 3, but many of the superstitions related to it are still observed at this time)
     Mumping Day a/k/a Gooding Day -- UK (traditional day on which beggars beg for, or "mump", good things for Christmas, always on old St. Thomas' Day)
     Sao Tome Day -- Sao Tome e Principe (Dia de Sao Tome e Principe)

Birthdays Today:

Jackson Rathbone, 1984
Jack Noseworthy, 1969
Kiefer Sutherland, 1966
Andy Dick, 1965
Florence Griffith Joyner, 1959
Ray Romano, 1957
Jane Kaczmarek, 1955
Chris Evert, 1954
Tina Brown, 1953
Samuel L. Jackson, 1948
Michael Tilson Thomas, 1944
Frank Zappa, 1940
Jane Fonda, 1937
Phil Donahue, 1935
Joe Paterno, 1926
Paul Winchell, 1922
Heinrich Böll, 1917
Josh Gibson, 1911
Joseph Stalin, 1879
Henrietta Szold, 1860
Benjamin Disraeli, 1804

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"Billion Dollar Baby"(Musical), 1945
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"(Film), 1937
"Tillie's Punctured Romance"(Silent Film, first full length comedy), 1914
The Crossword Puzzle, 1913
Basketball, 1891 (first game under the direction of James Naismith, by the rules he had published)

Today in History:

A hurricane hits Holland/Friesland, destroying villages with widespread flooding, 1163
The Battle of Curalaba: The revolting Mapuche Native Americans, led by cacique Pelentaru, inflict a major defeat on Spanish troops in southern Chile; all Spanish cities south of the Biobio river are eventually taken by the Mapuches, and all conquest of Mapuche territories by Europeans practically ceases, until the 1870s "Pacification of Araucania", 1598
William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims land on what is now known as Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1620
Hue Tay Son becomes emperor Quang Trung of Vietnam, 1788
The Rochdale Pioneers commence business at their cooperative in Rochdale, England, starting the Cooperative movement, 1844
The first Permanent Force cavalry and infantry regiments of the Canadian Army are formed: The Royal Canadian Dragoons and The Royal Canadian Regiment, 1883
The first Word-Cross puzzle, which the printer mislabeled as a Cross-Word (the name that stuck), is published in the New York World, 1913
The first feature length color and sound cartoon, Disney's Snow White, premiers, 1937
Rondane National Park is established as Norway's first national park, 1962
Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, is launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew performs the first ever manned Trans Lunar Injection and become the first humans to leave Earth's gravity, 1968
The United Nations adopts the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1969
Mexican volcano Popocatepetl, dormant for 47 years, erupts gases and ash, 1994
The city of Bethlehem passes from Israeli to Palestinian control, 1995
Scientists studying the Sutter's Mill Meteorite announce it contains the oldest material in the Solar System, 2012


  1. Your family rocks. Yes it does. I always smile when I read your posts. Bless your heart and you're raising another batch of giving folks with your kids. I just love your family.

    Have a blessed day and may all you do for others comes back to you and yours tenfold. ♥♥♥

  2. I so love your giving heart, Mimi, always looking for ways to help and care for others, and what a blessing you are! To feed the hungry is God's highest calling!

  3. Was it Gandhi who said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." I believe that's exactly what you're doing. Heaven points!

  4. Great post for the holiday season. Generosity is awesome and can make someone's rough life seem a lot more manageable. Happy Solstice! I am so excited for the days to get longer after this. I like how it's the Egyptian festival where Isis finds and resurrects Osiris on this day. Could it be a sun parable? Hmmm...

  5. I agree with you about this. It is a shame how many hard working people have so little money to spare. In London, the rents are so high now that many people are paying nearly half their income before tax on rent, and for properties that are not really large enough anyhow. At least we don't have to pay medical bills here. I know families who qualify for free meals but don't claim. It's good to have pride. When I was younger we were very poor and I was glad to feel I was managing okay .


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