December 19, 2013 Issue


Gingery thanks friends for giving of themselves

Dear Editor:

Itís this time of year that everyone thinks of love and giving of presents. But the giving of friendship is the most important thing that can be given.

My husband passed away Christmas Eve four years ago and I felt as if I lost my life when he died. But I have some friends who have helped me through the hard times.



Being rich is important but being rich with love is everything. There are some people who want to make it seem ugly and torrid, but itís not always like that. Being rich is not always about having material things and a lot of money.

The Grimes family from Bartow has been more than friends to me, they have been family to me and they are not even blood kin. Jeff and Violet and their family have been there for me through the good and the bad times and not just through Christmas time but all through the years. They have helped me in so many ways not with money but love.

I was born an only child but they have been the brother and sister that I never had. They will do anything they can to help me. If it hadnít been for them I would have lost my job but they have taken me to work and let me use their truck just to help me.

How many friends would bend over backwards to help like that? Not many! I will never be able to repay them. All I can do is give them all my love!

Jeff and Violet Grimes and their family are the most giving people I know and not just at Christmas time but all year. That is the true meaning of giving. The giving of themselves!

Thank you for being there for me whenever I have needed you.

All my love,

Judy Gingery


Goodson shares the best Christmas gift

It was early December 1991, and Honolulu was decorated for the holiday season. Along with a couple thousand other old sailors and soldiers, Dad was in Hawaii to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which took place on Dec. 7, 1941.

My mother and one of my sisters had come along with Dad. I flew over from the Big Island to spend time with them.

The other guest in Hawaii that week was the USS Missouri, the last battleship to be built by the United States. On the deck of this battleship, before Gen.Douglas MacArthur, the Japanese signed an unconditional surrender to Allied Forces, ending World War II.

One morning during their visit, the girls decided it was a fine day to go shopping. Well, I suppose it was fine for them, but Dad and I didnít agree, and so were left behind to do as we pleased.

I asked him what he wanted to do.

ďI would like to go on the Missouri and see where the peace treaty was signed,Ē he replied. Normally, this wouldnít have been a problem, but Dad was having difficulties with mobility and needed the aid of a wheelchair. I figured, what the hey, we would go to the ship, and if we couldnít get on, he would at least get to see it up close.

We got to the rental car, loaded up, and took off to Pearl Harbor. And that is when the magic started to happen. As we approached the gate at Pearl Harbor, a young, sharp-looking Marine, who could not have been much more than 20, greeted us.

I explained to him that Dad had been at Pearl Harbor during the attack and wished to see the USS Missouri. The Marine took a few seconds to look me over. Then he looked at Dad, who had on his Pearl Harbor Survivors garrison cap.

Without asking for further ID, the Marine said, ďSir, go anywhere you wish, sir.Ē He saluted. Dad returned the salute. I reckon this young Marine and the Navy figured some men have earned certain rights.

And so we did go where we wished, looking for the Missouri. It wasnít hard to find; it was, after all, as big as a battleship.

Things were in our favor: the crowd was very small and I was able to drive the car right up to the ship.

However, chances of going onboard didnít look good, as the gang plank was steep and long. I got out and loaded Dad up in his wheelchair, so that he could at least get a good look at the ship from the dock.

A young sailor came up and asked if he could be of help. I told him about Dad being a survivor, and wanting to go aboard to see where the treaty was signed. The young sailor must have signaled or something, for the next thing I saw was two more young sailors come running.

In an instant, they picked Dad up, wheelchair and all. They carried him up the gangplank, set him on the deck of the Missouri, and saluted him. Dad returned their salute.

There is a plaque mounted in the deck marking the spot where Japanese officials signed the unconditional surrender ending World War II.

Dad and I went straight to that spot. The two of us were alone there for at least 10 minutes. Dad would look down at the plaque for a few moments, then look up and out over the harbor, and then back down at the plaque. He repeated this several times. Not one word was said.

I have no idea what he was thinkingÖI assume he was thinking of the war 50 years gone by. I had no idea what to say.

My father was a quiet man. When he spoke, it was important to listen. I waited for words.

He finally looked at me and said, ďLetís go to the bow.Ē

I rolled him out to the bow. We stopped by the edge of the ship to take in the view. It was a calm, sunny day. Pearl Harbor had never looked better.

At the bow, we saw the first people on this huge ship. I assumed it was a class of fourth or fifth graders on a field trip. There were about thirty children with three ladies.

After a couple of minutes, one of the kids walked up to Dad with her brochure of the Missouri, and she asked Dad to autograph it. I supposed with his Survivors cap and his white beard she thought he might be someone famous.

He signed it and smiled.

Then another child walked up, and another, and another, until he had signed the brochure for each one. The kids were smiling, Dad was smiling, and I was about to burst with pride.

I wrote this story to tell you of the best Christmas gift I ever got, a truly wonderful morning with my dad. An intimate time between a son and a father. A morning I canít forget. We didnít talk about it, and we didnít need to. Oft times, words are pointless and insufficient.

I also wrote this story to tell you that every person ought to have moments in their lives when they are made to feel more than they are. Itís a small thing we can do for each other.

My dad, Mr. Emmett as he was called, was a good man, a good father, a good husband, a good farmer, and a simple man. And thatís enough, but that morning on the deck of the battleship, the USS Missouri, those 30 school kids thought he was more than that.

Maybe he was.

Allen Goodson


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