Giving to Vets. is as Good as it Gets!

As some of you know, this is my first year as principal of a great little school in central Arizona. We prefer to think of our school as an oasis in the desert. It is a place where children grow closer to God while being challenged educationally. As a staff, we love our little school — we love our students, the community, and the opportunity we have to make a difference. When our teachers gather for our morning devotional time, they pray for each child and discuss how they can minister to the emotional, spiritual, and educational needs of each. It’s a pretty special place and I think each of us realizes it’s a true blessing to be involved.

“But what does this have to do with Veterans?” you say. Well, here it is. This year we decided to reach out to the Veterans in our community. We wanted them to know we were thankful for them. We wanted our middle schoolers to be involved with them, to interact with them. We wanted to serve them; to show gratitude for their service for us. After all, they fought to preserve the freedoms we enjoy, one of them being educational choice.

And so the preparations began. The music teacher began putting together a program of WW II songs — Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition, and patriotic songs — This is My Country, God Bless America. The computer teacher helped each student to design a note of thanks. Emails went out and soon parents and staff were volunteering to cook.

Our All-American menu was decided and the students were invited to make up ‘military’ names for the food. Thursday, Nov. 7th came and all was readied. The cafeteria was decorated in red, white, and blue. Menus placed on the tables read:

Rucksack Roast Beef

Green Beret Beans

Military Mashed Potatoes

Navy Gravy

Camouflage Coleslaw

Tuck and Rolls

Apple Bombed Pie

Veterans began arriving. We had planned for 50 for our inaugural dinner, thinking we would start small and grow with each year. Sure enough, we filled our quota quickly.  The piano played, the welcome was given, the students marched in and began to sing. Several Veterans wiped tears from their eyes as they listened. Others sang along. The children seemed to grow in their role as the performance continued. The fifth and sixth graders continued to sing and recite patriotic poems as the seventh and eighth graders served dinner.

The old and the young mingled. Veterans were represented from all four branches. The longest serving was recognized.  The oldest was recognized. The men’s faces shown. The students chatted with them.  Again and again gratefulness was expressed for the sacrifice each man had made.

The evening ended with the rememberance that Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice when He died for our sins. He died to set us free from the bondage of sin — the ultimate sacrifice by the Ultimate Soldier.

No one rushed off. No one wanted to leave. I think one of the best parts of the night for me, was when I saw a fifth grader go over to a table and refer to one of the thank you notes laying on the table.

Student – “So did you like my note? I made that for you.”

Veteran – ” Yes, this was a great night. Thank you so much for all of this.”

Student – “No. Thank YOU.”

Life with Grandfather

Viv Walden

IMG_5688I call my father in law Grandfather – or Gramps, for short. Today my dear husband took Gramps to the doctor in Bangor while I stayed home and, like a good Maine woman, stacked a cord of wood, did laundry, cleaned the house and baked a cake. All things which I enjoy, by the way.

Going to the doctor, in this case, is not a trip across town.  It takes close to two hours to get from our picturesque town of Greenville (population 1400) to Bangor. So it is somewhat of an event.

Actually, life with Grandfather is an event and today was no different.

He came home from the doctor happy as a lark. As he recounted the day’s events I shook my head.

In the doctor’s office he met the receptionist who was pretty, young, blonde and kind. He found out her name was Deborah.That was enough to get him going. ” Well”, he said,”the first white woman in Greenville was named Deborah. She was my great great great grandmother. She came to Greenville as a widow with three children to take care of her father, Nathaniel Haskell.

Well, she lived there among the Indians and settlers and all. One day an Indian came to the door and demanded some meat to eat. ‘I’ll go ask my father’, she said.  She went upstairs to the small room up there, put her feet in her father’s shoes and stomped around the room, speaking in a deep voice at times.

Then she took off the shoes, came downstairs and told the Indian, ‘Father says, no meat today – and git!’”

So Gramps had a good time telling the receptionist this story and a few others. As he left, he looked back at her, smiled and said, ‘Thank you, Deborah, you have done my testosterone so much good.’  Everyone in the place burst into laughter and Gramps came home a happy man.

Another day in life with Grandfather.