Small Things, Big Things
Letters are supposed to be a thing of the past, but no one has told the Army of Good. Today, I came into the Mansion just as Julie Smith, the nearly overwhelmed Activities Director, had begun passing out todays' letters from all over the country to the Mansion residents.
I was startled and asked Julie what this pile on a table next to her desk was. "Oh," she said, shrugging her shoulders, "that's just the rest of today's mail I'm about to distribute to the resident's rooms."
Julie, who is getting married Saturday (best wishes, Julie), just smiled,"oh, it's like that on most days,"she said. When the mail comes in, Julie has to walk up and down three flights of stairs to deliver it to all of the residents.
"There are some very nice people out there," she said. People at the Mansion keep telling me that the AOG of changed the place. It was already loving and compassionate, but Medicaid facilities for the elderly are not well-funded, and there is often no extra money for the little things, for the holes in people's live that open up when they are at the edge of life and can no longer care for themselves.
For people with a lot of money, there are plenty of perks and frills in assisted care, bigger staffs, more money for outings and trips, more visitors and comforts. My idea is not to change the reality of life, but to fill some of these small holes, to let people know they are cared for and remembered, and thought of.
The air conditioners and reclining chairs have made a huge difference, but nothing has brightened lives and lifted spirits more than your letters and messages and cards and photos. They remind the good people who live here and the heroic people who work here that they are honored and not forgotten, that they matter.
I wanted you to see these good letters. They cost very little, they mean a great deal.
This week, I am continuing my clothing drive at the Mansion, there seems to be more need than I originally thought. I'm out buying underwear, bras, sweaters, pants, sweatpants, socks, slippers and robes.
These are not expensive items, I'm heading out to some Thrift Shops Saturday, I have found shops where I can buy most things of good quality, and only need to go online for the undergarments and some special fittings.
If you care to contribute to this project, you can send a donation to me at P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816, you can also contribute via PayPal, [email protected] Please mark any donations to the "Mansion/Refugee Fund" or to one or the other. Thanks.
I'm happy to report that on January 3, our New Year's Pizza lunch at the Mansion, the RISSE refugee soccer team is coming to have lunch at the Mansion to visit and speak to the residents. I'm providing the pizza, they Mansion is preparing a make-your-own hot fudge sundae for the kids.
(Due to the cold, the sleigh ride was postponed to December 26, the day after Christmas, we're riding down Main Street, the Country Gals Cafe has offered to serve up some hot chocolate as we go by.)
It's wonderful for me to help bring these two disparate but very connected elements of my life and the Army of Good together in one place. A quite wonderful way to start 2018.