December 5, 2018
I want to share a Christmas Story.
I was talking with a resident a few days ago and the subject of Christmas came up. The resident asked me about my favorite Christmas and I shared the story about the big Army Gun. We both laughed as I struggled to tell her the story without cracking up. Then I asked her to share her favorite Christmas Story. She paused for what seemed like an hour, then she started to speak.
We were a poor sharecropper family. There were 8 girls and 4 boys in my family and I was the middle child. The Christmas season arrived with no fan-fair, no expectation of gifts, no Christmas gift lists, no Christmas Tree nor lights to decorate the house. We lived in a house with an outhouse and no electricity. As a child, Christmas was just another day, until one of my friends invited me to spend Christmas with her family. It was something I have never seen before—Christmas. When I arrived home, I told my brothers and sisters what I saw, they just listened with their mouths open. I talked with them about Christmas at my friends for hours. But they told me not to say anything to mom and dad.
Christmas at my house was not like my friend’s, we only had the basics. My mom would buy a bushel of oranges, a bushel of apples, and huge bags of mixed nuts. In our stockings, they would place some fruit, nuts and a toy or a book in our stockings. Then she spoke fondly about the single toy she got in her stocking. After another brief pause, she started talking again.
It was 12 of us and Christmas was not really celebrated. We picked cotton to earn money for the family. So, there was nothing extra for Christmas gifts. While she was talking, her face reflected the sadness she experienced. Then her face lit up and she paused. We did not get presents, but my parents did the next best thing. On Christmas Eve, they would get a branch from an Oak tree and put it in a pot of dirt. Then they would break off holly branches with the red berries on them. They would place foil paper on the holly branches with the red berries on the Oak tree branch. The tree would be our version of a Christmas Tree. The foil with the red berries made a pretty reflection in the candle lights. It was the most beautiful tree in the world to me and my family. We would sit around the tree talking until the candles burned down, then we all had to go to bed. The next morning, the family woke up and open our stockings with smiles and hugs. Our Christmases were never full of stuff, but it was full of family and love.
Even though they did not have much for Christmas, she treasured those Christmases past.
From the desk of Chaplain Bobby,
November 30, 2018
I noticed a couple (probably in their mid-eighties) smiling at each other as they sat together. The husband is in a chair sitting very close to his wife who is in a wheelchair. Holding hands watching the hustle and bustle happenings around the nursing station. They were sitting there as if they were on their… Read more »
November 1, 2018
It was five years ago that a small group of leaders sat around a table and together with prayerful hearts decided what our goals were for Palm Garden. Out of that discussion evolved our Vision, Values and Mission Statement. That has been the bedrock of our success in becoming the premier provider in the state… Read more »
July 31, 2018
When Pam Brody started in show business more than 51 years ago in London, her agent said she had to have a name, something to describe her act, something that would stick. ”He told me people were sick of ‘glamorous,’ so I became ‘vivacious’,” Brody explained over her fourth cup of coffee at the London Tavern in downtown… Read more »
July 23, 2018
Dear Palm Garden Family, Could you imagine being born in a country and then living so long that they changed the name? The same country just a different name? You might say: “I mean, never mind it had been called Constantinople since May of 330 AD. I’m gone for a while and you guys just… Read more »
July 9, 2018
Dear Palm Garden Family, July is Palm Garden GEM Celebration Month. We think that knowing our guests, residents and families’ life story better informs how to care for them. See, we believe to truly care for people we must know them personally. We walk in their shoes; see what they see and feel what they… Read more »
July 5, 2018
Dear Palm Garden Family, July is Palm Garden GEM Celebration Month. GEMs are the hallmark of the Palm Garden Way. We are empowered and expected to celebrate the life story for each and every guest, member, and resident entrusted to our care. GEMs aren’t identified by expense or size. GEMS are about learning life stories,… Read more »
December 22, 2017
Dear Palm Garden Family, I want to share with you the best Christmas gift I could imagine. It’s a long story (and most of the good ones are) but I’ll boil it down for you. I was visiting a center yesterday and a team member stopped me and said “Luke, I have someone that wants… Read more »
December 21, 2017
Good Morning Palm Garden Family, This year at one of our centers the Grinch stole Santa’s “Steven R. Covey” planner. That’s right. Without his planner, Santa wasn’t going to show up. When one of your team members learned of this she said “Oh no you didn’t! Where’s the costume? Our guests and residents are not… Read more »
November 14, 2017
We celebrate life stories and I want to share one with you. But first, I’d like you to put on your “empathy cap.” Imagine if you were 99 years old. You’re lounging in bed watching one of those morning shows probably thinking “just 3 more months to 100!” and the guy on TV says you’re… Read more »