During the Holiday Season, I believe we all enjoy reminiscing about past Christmases and about loved ones that have made an impact on our lives. It’s the time of year that we get a little nostalgic and the good memories are awakened. I’d like to share with you one of my special memories.
I was fortunate to have been raised by my Grandmother and Grandfather for a large part of my young life. They lived in a coal mining town in Eastern Kentucky. My Grandfather was a coal miner and my Grandmother stayed at home to cook, clean and make sure we showed up at church and school without embarrassing ourselves or her. US Steel owned the mines where my Grandpa worked as well as the entire town, including the house we lived in.
We certainly didn’t live a luxurious existence, but we learned to appreciate all that we had. We were clean, well-schooled, well fed and protected. Beans and potatoes and anything that was grown in my Grandpa’s garden were the basic weekday meal. On Saturdays’ we mixed it up with hamburgers, hotdogs or my favorite Hungarian Goulash. Grandma always prepared a big meal on Sundays with homemade rolls, fried chicken with all the “fix ins” and I still remember the taste of her fresh coconut cake that would melt in your mouth.
So, I guess you can tell that meals were one of the highlights for me!
It was a very sad time when my Grandparents passed away and even though it has been many years ago, I still vividly remember the words that were spoken by the minister at my Grandma’s funeral. Now, this would be more meaningful to you, if you had ever truly known my Grandmother. She was about 5’9”, not fat, but not thin, stood very straight (mostly due to the back support she wore everyday) and only had a sense of humor when she was in public. She believed children were to be seen and not heard, that you always performed at an excellent level, whether at school or church or home and less than perfection was very sternly rejected.
So as the minister began to speak to the friends and family that had gathered to pay their respects, I was a little shocked about how he portrayed my Grandma. He began by saying that she was a PROUD woman. Now I was raised in a Southern Baptist Church and was taught that “Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirt before a fall. Better it is to be of a humble spirt with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud.”
I was certainly hoping that the Preacher wasn’t going to criticize my Grandma at her own funeral when she wasn’t even there to take up for herself!!! But as he began to speak, it became clear that he wasn’t implying anything negative. He explained that he had had the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time with my Grandma before she died. He said that she was always talking about things and people in a special kind of way. As she spoke about her home and church and community and friends and family, she revealed how very proud she was to have had them in her life. She was proud of where she came from, she was proud of the life that her and Grandpa had had, she was proud of how clean and pretty their house was and that they had saved enough money to pay cash for their retirement home in Roanoke. She was proud of the impressive vegetable and flower gardens that my Grandpa worked in. She was proud of her Church and the missions they supported, she was proud that she worked every election at the polls to help get her “man” in office. She was proud of her friends, and was especially proud of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. And she would spend hours talking about everyone’s accomplishments, their intelligence, how well they could cook, how well they dressed and in the case of speaking about my Mother, how well she could stand on her head!
So as the service concluded, I realized just how very proud that I was, that she had been my Grandmother. And as everyone began to walk out of the church, I think I saw a few people walking out with their backs just a little straighter, their heads a little higher and with a thought in their mind, that maybe, someone had possibly, even been proud of them!!!
I tell this story to let you know, I am very much like my Grandmother. I’m not sure that I have ever said that out loud before. My Grandma has a reputation in our family of being “difficult”. So, when I admit that I am like her, I want to be clear, that I am not talking about her “difficult” side. I am referring to her “Proud” side.
When I drive to work each day, and I catch a glimpse of the large American Flag that flies in front of our building, I honestly well up inside with pride for our country and all that it stands for. I can feel the pride, admiration, respect and gratitude I have for our Veterans and their families for all the sacrifices they have made to make our country strong. And I am extremely proud that this flag flies outside of our business that was built with nothing but a desire to do something that would matter, something that would help others and something that I could be proud of.
That just begins my day, because as I walk in to work, I immediately observe a staff of highly dedicated and caring people using their skills and knowledge to help someone else’s life be made a little easier. Pride would only begin to describe the feeling I have for these incredible people. Watching many of them spend before and after work hours to make sure someone is being taken care of. Spending weekends at events to support organizations that are working to find cures for diseases and illnesses. Spending time away from their own families to drive vehicles across two states so that a client in need of it won’t be disappointed that it isn’t available or to leave the warmth of their own homes at 1:30 A.M. to assist in repairing a client’s scooter because the client depends on it 100% of the time. It makes me proud to just be in the presence of these special individuals.
Of course, I am proud of my husband and my children, my brothers and sisters and my entire family. They make me proud everyday for who they are. They are good, hard working, caring, great fun and the light of my life. But I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you who makes me so proud that I find it difficult to put into words.
Mobility Supercenter’s clients must be, without a doubt, the most incredible humans that exist. They must be from a special breed or something. Having lived through some of the most horrific situations and circumstances and still they have that hopeful, accepting spirit that anyone would be envious of. They continue to live life to its fullest despite their daily difficulties. Some are taking care of their family members, that they love dearly, and helping them cope with their situations. Some are dealing with the knowledge that their illness is progressive and they have a limited, defined life expectancy. Daily, they experience difficulties taking care of basic needs because of accessibility and mobility limitations.
They are dealing with not just physical difficulties, but also emotional, and phycological difficulties that most people never have to experience. And they do it with class. They are my heroes. They are America’s heroes. I am so proud to have this opportunity to serve them, but also just to know them and to observe the true example of “Grace under Fire”. They have a mountain to climb every day and every day they climb that mountain with a determination that requires every ounce of courage, strength, fortitude, patience, belief and desire that they can muster. In a lifetime, one such experience would be devastating to most, yet this has become their daily ride.
I am proud to know them. I find myself sharing the stories about the spirit of our clients with others. I never give details about an individual except to describe how they inspire me to be better, to be stronger, to care more, to do more and to never, ever give up.
So, Grandma, thank you for sharing your sense of pride with me. Thanks for showing me how to be proud of and happy for other’s accomplishments no matter how big or how small and to recognize that this life gives us all A LOT to be proud of!!!
Our entire Mobility Supercenter team sends holiday greeting to you and your family. May your season be as meaningful to you as having the opportunity to serve you is to us.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR