After the tragedy of Katrina, we sent a gift to friends who lost everything and wound up living in a 16-foot FEMA trailer. Among the gifts was a garland of tiny wooden Santas for them to hang around the trailer door. There was no room for any other festive stuff.
Turns out the garland was an exact replica of one they had…one that got washed away with the flood waters. It became a tiny reminder that Christmas stuff may get washed away, but happy Christmas memories are with us forever.
Then came Super Storm Sandy, again washing away homes and memories and leaving locals at the mercy of strangers’ generosity for the holidays. Again, Americans from all over the country opened their hearts and their pocket books to help.
Those friends wiped out by Katrina? They finally left the trailer – after getting to know each other REALLY well in those tight quarters. They rebuilt their lives and are doing OK. They are together, they’re happy and they wrote that they hung the Santa garland again this year to remind each other that things could be worse and they do get better.
The folks devastated by Sandy will do the same thing. Life will go on, and before they know it, Christmas will be here, yet again.
Maybe this time, they’ll have the chance to help someone else in need.
It’s what we Americans do.