Edited to add: Well, Sarah didn’t make it through her first day back at school. She called from the nurse’s office about 11 am and said she was ready to come home. Nurse said she could hear “something” in her lung and that her blood pressure and heart rate are both high. Sarah is tucked into bed, resting for the rest of the day.
I know. I know.
Christmas was two months ago and here I am mentioning Christmas wreaths in my post title. Nothing like a blogger staying current with the times!
However, I just remembered a post (from way back then) that I forgot to write (way back then) so I’m going to throw the calendar to the wind and write the story today despite the fact that spring is (sort of) just around the corner.
Out here on the Outer Banks of North Carolina we have a large number of international students who come here from around the world to work, save money to send back home, and/or go to college. Some of them are quite young, maybe 18 or 19, and are not only away from home for the first time but they’re also experiencing a new culture, country, and language. Although they’re excited to be here, the adjustment can be a tad overwhelming. (I can’t even begin to imagine Sarah turning eighteen in six months and heading off by herself to some foreign country.)
Enter Rev. David and Kay Daniels, local Outer Bank legends. They are both natives to the area; in fact, his family goes back twelve generations. He has started and pastored a couple of churches in the area, one of them being a landmark of sorts called, “The Ark.”
David and Kay (who are semi retired although he still travels and preaches, including annual, month-long trips to India), decided that they needed to reach out to these kids so far away from home. In addition to some other things they are doing for them, they also started hosting a monthly meal so that the students would have a place to gather and meet up with others from their part of the world.
David invited Steve and me to sing at their Christmas gathering.
Here I am doing a sound check. I don’t know why I have such a strange look on my face; I must have hit a sour note.
Kay Daniels did the decorating for the banquet and I just loved how she used Christmas wreaths as some of the centerpieces.
The food (all free) was amazing! David arranged for a chef from a local restaurant to prepare this feast for 70 people and every bite was better than the last. (What this picture does not show is two perfectly browned, perfectly roasted turkeys. More about those later.)
The students most happily dug into the festive fare. Some of them had only been in American for less than a week and so they were experiencing Christmas foods and traditions for the first time.
The woman on the right with the blond hair and red sweater is Kay Daniels; she is the most youthful 60-something grandma I’ve ever met!
David Daniels is in the center wearing the green sweater. (Sorry about the blurry pictures.)
After the meal was over, there was music, and some fun games and then David got up to speak 5-10 minutes. In the course of his comments, he gave out his email address and phone number and told the assembled kids that if any of them needed anything, at any time, they shouldn’t hesitate to call him or Kay. He went on to add that the students could just consider them to be their local grandparents while they were in the United States.
Now I consider myself to be a fairly unselfish, giving person, but I have to confess to you that I would probably have to think twice about giving my contact info to 70 young people and telling them to call me anytime. The Daniels are busy people and for them to not only donate a beautiful evening of fun and great food but also offer their time to young adults half a world away from their own homes—well, my heart was truly touched.
People like the Daniels don’t generate the sort of publicity that gets them mentioned on news programs, but their quiet compassion and caring is making an enormous difference in hundreds of lives. And I really think our news programs would be a whole lot better if they did shows on people like the Daniels instead of always pointing the spotlight at people like Kim Kardashian.
But that’s just me.
Now. Remember the turkeys I mentioned?
After the dinner was over, the Daniels distributed take out containers and told the students to go back through the line and fill up their containers with food to take back to their living quarters.
When they had finished getting what they wanted, I noticed the two turkey carcasses still sitting there on the counter. I immediately thought of my late Grandma Clemmerson who would sit down at the table after dinner and pick every bit of leftover meat from every single leftover bone. (Growing up in the Depression makes you do that sort of thing.)
And so in honor of my sassy, funny, thrifty, wonderful Grandma, I commandeered one of those carcasses, lugged it home, popped it in a pot and boiled it for a while. It made a wonderful broth and as it turns out, there was a lot of leftover meat that came easily off the bone.
I froze the broth and the meat and last week when I was desperate for a dinner idea, I retrieved them the freezer, put them in a pot, added some parsley, poultry seasoning, rosemary, basil, carrots, and celery and simmered everything together for about an hour. Then I added about a cup of Orzo (a rice shaped pasta) and 30 minutes later, we had delicious, home-made turkey soup for dinner.
We were so blessed to get to enjoy the February fruit of December’s generosity.
And I knew my grandma was smiling.
Sarah Update: Sarah rested all day yesterday and went back to school today, although she is definitely not feeling totally recovered. I told her to give it a try and call me if she needed to come home. We’ll see how it goes!
Thanks for all your encouraging, sweet comments to her yesterday.