In hopes of bringing you a bit of cheer, I want to share some heartwarming follow-up stories to my previously published column, Uncle Clarence’s article titled, “Our Best Christmas.”
You may recall, this is a true story of an Iowa family giving their favorite horse to a needy family on Christmas Eve. The article was written in 1954 by my uncle, not by me, for a small hometown newspaper and later distributed in the Farm Journal.
Following re-publication in the Herald Times, I received a call from a guy in Arizona who had read the article. Much to my total amazement, he used to live next to Uncle Clarence’s Iowa farm, attended the same church, knew all five of the Hill children plus his wife still has Aunt Mabel’s recipes.
I finally inquired why he was reading the HT in Arizona and it turns out he also has a home in Meeker, right around the corner from our house. We have a plan to get together next time he is in town. At times, it is a very small world. I’ve already gained new friends. The connections continue.
Next, I dug into my old contact lists (not cleaning up your computer files actually has some benefits) and emailed cousin Eleanor, who was age 7 at time of the story, youngest of the five Hill children. We have met at family reunions and used to exchange periodic news but somehow, lost track.
Now, we have renewed a long-time family connection and will do better to stay in touch.
Then, a dear Meeker resident, whose name I won’t disclose, but many of you know how much love she spreads through our community. She endured a series of difficulties, including her own and husband’s health problems, and more challenges packed on top of each other.
Finally, she had time to relax, read her mail and our newspaper. She read the “Best Christmas” article, cried while reading it, then wrote on Facebook that it helped her relax, take a moment away from all the anxiety, and a deep breath.
Over the Christmas holidays Jay read Uncle Clarence’s story to many visitors, evoking tears from many of us (and me every time). It is heartwarming to know how many people appreciate a well written story.
I never expected any of these reactions. Similar to my husband’s art, people will respond to words in a way that fits them, not necessarily what the author or artist had in mind. That’s not only encouraging, but broadens the entire experience of sharing for everyone, readers and author alike.
Sometimes I ask myself why I spend so much time writing this column and the above responses are the answer. Among all the official news, I just hope my little column brings some smiles and joy to you and me.
By KAYE SULLIVAN – Special to the Herald Times