I am a part of a Relay for Life team. Teams throughout the country develop relay teams to complete an overnight fundraising event for cancer research, as well as to honor survivors and those lost to cancer. Also, a means to heighten the awareness that we are still on the search for prevention and cure for cancer.
Our Team, “The Girls”, includes counseling, custody, and educational staff from the juvenile correctional facility where I work. We have been getting funds together with bake sales, making par cord survival bracelets, and today we did a garage sale.
It was your typical garage sale, all kinds of “odd bits” of things…baby clothes, kitchen items, toys, a roll of wire, a Christmas Tree, pillows, shoes and on and on.
And we did it in the parking lot of my Daddy’s bar.
Dad’s been gone a long time, so has mom now. But they both put a lot of sweat and hard work into making their dream restaurant/bar successful. The current owner was a friend of mine in high school. I think he somehow inherited my parents’ heart.
The new owner Al hosts events for families and individuals who need help….could be an illness, a loss, a need that they simply can’t overcome on their own. He was excited to have us set up our fundraiser in his parking lot, and even let us use his tables and chairs from the banquet room
During the sale, he came out twice to give us donations from the customers in the bar. One gentleman won money on the “tip board” and had Al run it out to us. Later in the day, another customer sent him with another donation.
The event that same evening was for a fellow high school chum who has been in a dire fight for his life. That was getting set up as we were leaving. Nearly every week, there is a cause or a benefit listed on the marquee.
Naysayers may think…well the bar is probably making money on this also. Probably. But he doesn’t have to do it…and he didn’t expect anything from us. He offered his prime location and his tables for us to help those in need.
Which brings me back to my Dad’s heart. Several people through the years have recounted times that they were in a crisis and were in need of help. My parents helped. There was never any interest and there was no time limit on the return of the gift. It was truly a “good faith” gift, and if the money was returned to them — even greater.
One of my favorite stories was from a couple who became fast friends with my parents. They had just moved to town and really didn’t know anyone in the area yet. Their children were small and in bed. They heard a car on the property driving recklessly, near some buildings on the property they had.
So, as most people in the neighborhood back then, the husband went out to the driveway with a shotgun. His wife followed him out. Suddenly the car sped up, his wife jumped out of the way, the husband thought she had been run over, and he shot at the car.
About a half-hour later, the sheriff arrived to arrest the husband for reckless endangerment.
So here is a young mom, with 3 sleeping children, a husband in jail, and the need for cash to bail him out. (For you younger readers, there was no such thing as ATM’s back then.)
So, she put the kids in the car, went to my Dad’s bar (she figured it would be open late), and asked my dad (whom she had never met) for bail money.
He gave it to her. No hesitation, no concern for loss, and with an open heart. She brought her husband home. That couple and my parents became very close friends, and our families were entwined.
So today, sitting in that parking lot, so many memories flooded my mind. Walking back to the creek, climbing the trees (and falling out of most), ice skating on the pond, bussing tables on Mother’s Day, past pets, my grandparents who lived next door, past neighbors and playmates, and that feeling of security, warmth and community.
With so many “dark” stories on the news, it is good to notice the many blessings and good that surrounds us.
I am so thankful….so very thankful.
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