To the Editor:

It’s the COVID Christmas of 2020. I am 87 and live alone, and for the first time in those 87 years, I will spend Christmas with just my cat. It won’t be mad and merry, but it will be sane and safe. It is my choice.

It is Wednesday, the 23rd of December. My doorbell rings. In walk four members of my Congregational church. With masks on, they stand in the mudroom and start to sing carols. I sit in my walker, eight steps up in the kitchen, and sing with them. I have played carols on the CD player, but this is my first chance to sing. They end with “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, smile, wave, give “virtual” hugs and blow kisses and disappear. All smiles, I head back to my chair. Shortly after, The Local Hub brings me a meal which my kids have arranged to be delivered each week. My next door neighbor, Erin Mitchell, comes and fills my bird feeders and lugs in some wood for me.

It is Thursday, the 24th of December. The phone is alive with telephone calls from friends and family. My ears hurt. Then a text message appears, thankfully not another phone call: “If you hear some elves busy around your house, please don’t be frightened.” What now?

Our daughter had cut a tree from our field and being too large for the house, had tied it to the railing on the front deck. When delivering my meal on Wednesday, Czupryna (the little girl who often comes with her dad to bring me the food) noticed I had a tree but no lights on it. So she and her dad are the “elves” who appear with lights, extension cord, and timer, transforming my simple bare green Balsam into a twinkling mass of stardust each night from 4 to 10!

But – it doesn’t end there – An hour later, the “elves” reappear with more food for my entire breakfast, lunch, and supper on Christmas Day! Czupryna dances off the deck yelling, “Merry Christmas! I love you.” And then, as the clouds thicken near the end of the day, Tim LeConey (our wonderful WPCC minister) calls to make sure all is well. “Do you need anything? Just want to make certain you are okay. Have a Merry Christmas!”

How could it not be? How could anyone feel alone with so much love around them? And this is only a two-day period out of all the many days I have spent in this Bethel/Greenwood area. I don’t think kindness originated here, but it surely thrives here. I have lived in Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Texas, and Arizona and nowhere have I found more love and caring than right here. Cherish it. It’s rare. It’s wonderful. Feel it’s magic, never forget to “pay it forward”, and walk into a brighter 2021.

Beth H. Brough

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