As there is no RSVP for these events, I'm always anxious about what the turnout will be; it's simply unknown...until we know! Slated to start at 1:00, we had 6 or 7 people in attendance at 5 'til. Same at 1:00, and at 1:05. I had a quick, sick feeling when suddenly:
That's kind of how it was.
There was sorting and wrapping:
Stuffing of stockings:
And packing of boxes:
The boxes were tidied and filled with tinsel, then topped off with precious letters from children in Homer and Mahomet, IL, and from Enterprise, Florida (see, I TOLD you that you can help from anywhere!).
One of my favorite vets, Dave Martin, stopped by with a hefty check from the Thank You Veteran's Run. Dave represents at all of our events!
And our last stop, the next day: The post office. Here's a very frazzled Donna, our postal clerk extraordinaire. Even though we called ahead and emailed ahead, and Facebooked ahead, someone at the post office got transferred to another station at the last minute, and they were a little short-staffed.
Most people were understanding, or at least soothed with the homemade cookies we brought to appease them, but there were a few that crabbed at the two poor remaining clerks as if it were their fault.
Oh, and there was one near cat-fight when one lady told another lady to shut her yap, and that if it took FIVE HOURS to process the boxes going to our troops, then they should all damn-well stand in line for 5 hours and be happy about it!! Ooo! That was exciting!
But it was mostly lovely. People did, as they always do when we are taking this many boxes to the post office, hand me cash. It touches me every single time, strangers handing me cash, asking if they can pay for a box, or if they can help.
They laugh about the delicious boxes of cookie crumbs they devoured, and how much the letters meant to them then. Their boxes and letters clearly mean as much to them now as they did then, and their reminiscing reinforces everything we do: You know the efforts of this community and these events are still going to be remembered somewhere in this world in the year 2062.
To all of you that continued to work for our troops, to schlep out in holiday crowds and shop for them, to bake homemade cookies and write them letters, and to donate your hard-earned cash to make sure that everyone on our list had a really great Christmas box:
From every fiber of my being, Thank you.