It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas………..everywhere we go. And that it is! Everything looks so happy and cheerful, brightly colored lights and decorations. It almost makes my heart sing, and it certainly puts us all in the mood to enjoy this time of year, no matter what religion we practice.
The Vietnam Wall memorial event presented on Dec. 7th -Pearl Harbor Day-was very moving and emotional. I had the honor of sitting next to Walter Tucker, a survivor of Pearl Harbor and a World War ll veteran.
What a terrific guy Walter is! At nearly 90 years old, his mind is as sharp as a tack, and he forgets nothing! He and his wife had 7 sons and 8 daughters, some of whom were at the memorial service with Walter. Walter spoke to the audience about soldiers coming home from Vietnam, and how they were treated by their own country…. by their own people! What a sad day in history for these soldiers who were disgraced and humiliated.
He said most of his life he had an angel on his shoulder. His message to everyone is “Love Each Other”. He said the world wouldn’t have the problems nor the wars if each of us loved his fellow man and treated him with respect. I felt humbled to sit next to this man.
It looks like this time of year is also being extra kind to the merchants around our county. The other day I went into Lowe’s and found the Christmas section was reduced to one part of one aisle, and only leftovers were there to pick from. One of the clerks said they were almost sold out just days after they received their big shipment! So glad to hear that! Things are beginning to pick up, as we can tell by the traffic and familiar faces coming back to town.
As I look at the cars on the road I realize it is not only our winter residents coming back to join us (and volunteer in so many ways!), but it is also our workforce going back to work and beginning to earn a living again. There will be many wonderful things to be grateful for this year. Our winter residents are one of them, our unemployment rate is going down, which is another, the improved economy is still another, and love and friendship wrap it all up in a neat package.
Next Saturday, Dec. 17th, will be the annual Marco Island Parade, which is always so much fun. I will see you there.
During the morning on the 17th there is another fun activity. The East Naples Civic Association, the E.N. Kiwanis, the E.N. Fire Department, and the Sheriff’s office hold their annual “Santa Run” for the children of Naples Manor and Mohawk Heights (which is located in the neighborhood behind Sugden Park off U.S. 41 E, opposite Lakewood). Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will be riding in a sleigh, as all the volunteers (you can too, if you’d like to see this heart-warming event) throwing candy and toys to the children. We will meet at St. Andrews Square at 8:30AM. This year we have a special treat for these little tykes. The busy elves who reside at Blue Skies mobile home park in E.N. have been working all year to carve and paint toys for the children. These elves, Ed Kuyper and Robert Killabrew, buy all the wood and paint on their own, and create beautiful toys such as a train holding crayons, dinosaurs, trucks, and animals. We will be handing them out to each family for their children to enjoy. We thank these wonderful gentlemen for giving of themselves for the happiness of others.
The Isles of Capri Kayak and Canoe Park is moving along so well. People keep asking all the time about what is going on at the corner of Capri and Collier Blvds. This park will only be for non-motorized watercraft, plus it will feature a covered picnic area and a bathroom. The view is just spectacular! It should be open in a couple of months – maybe even by the end of January!
Sadly, I’ve run out of space, but before I leave, please let me wish each and every one of you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS, and a very happy holiday season. Please know that each and every one of you is very special!