To the Editor:
Many years ago while doing Santa at an Exeter Christmas store, a young girl of about 6 was presented to me in a wheelchair. This little girl had eyes that were so blue that they stuck in my memory for years. I have had three very profound experiences with children who are sick. The young lady I just mentioned was first; in 2005 the second was a child fighting cancer. She sat with me for about 15 minutes then was taken away, and I found later she passed shortly thereafter. And this year at Christmas, the third was a little girl of about 11 or 12 that was suffering with a syndrome of pain and was in a wheelchair. The second and third were both being helped by Ronald McDonald House in Providence, of which I am the Santa of record.
I tell that story to tell another about the society we live in today. As most people who read the great Warwick Beacon know, and thanks to my friend John Howell, a Christmas village that I set up in my garage every year has been promoted with the paper over the last five years. A nice lady by the name of Kristen and her family stopped by to see the village, which was raising funds for Ronald McDonald House Providence, A Wish Come True and the Semper Fi Fund to help wounded Marines. I was telling Kristen about my visitation with the 6-year-old many years ago. And she looked at me with a big smile and informed me that the little girl I spoke of was a family member, and she knew this because of a special conversation we had.
Much to my delight, she informed me that Molly is now 22, going to college in pursuit of a degree in order to help others with special needs, and lives about two blocks away from us. She came over the other night to see the village, rode up in her power chair and we had a great reunion, pictures, etc., but the thing that hit me the most was she reached in a bag and handed me $20 for the donation bucket. I was moved deeply by this, which brings me to comment that this is the last year that the display will go up. Donations have been very poor, and at times very upsetting. For example, a very expensive German car, about a year or two old, pulled up, the owner got out, toured the display and left a whopping 86 cents. And I think of Molly’s donation of $20; it begs the question, where is our society going?
I want to thank all those who did come by and gave. Also, to the Coffee Grinder, Lafavorite Bakery and Palozzo’s Deli for all the goodies given away on opening night. And, to the great young folks at Pilgrim, who help with the packing and unpacking; I am truly grateful.