Article Contributed by
Frewsburg Rest Home
My Christmas village was destined to remain in hibernation this year since I am moving in Mid-December. Totes and secure boxes protecting more than 50 buildings, 200 Village citizens, a ski resort and train station, dozens of trees and snowmen will not be unpacked this year, I thought dismally. Farmer Russ and his animals would not get out in the fresh air. Ice fisherman and ice skating children will not race to the little frozen lake at the Barnacle Club.
In late October, my granddaughter Amanda, Activities Coordinator at Frewsburg Rest Home and I shared an idea. Wouldn’t it be a blessing to the residents if we set up even a portion of this village at the Frewsburg Rest Home? I’d had the pleasure of meeting those who reside at Frewsburg when setting up a table at their Fall Harvest Festival and again while attending a singing performance earlier in the year. They were so kind and welcoming.
Amanda received permission to “build” the Christmas Village so we began planning the construction. Daughter Deb, Amanda and I delivered three carloads of this special cargo after Thanksgiving.
Frewsburg Rest Home is a beautiful, very neat and tidy country home. The residents are proud of their home and are fully aware of what goes where. As we began lugging the totes and boxes into the Activity Room we drew some attention and curiosity. Christmas music was playing and one of the men was singing joyously with others joining in.
I removed a dozen or more odd shaped Styrofoam pieces from a couple of black garbage bags. These would be the base for mountains and hills. It was apparently a bit too much to take in, as I heard a gentleman say, “Well this is quite a mess.” I giggled to myself. We covered a large oval table with figurines, animals etc. …all of which would become part of the thriving scene. Two other tables were holding houses, a hot air balloon, the gazebo, wind mill and bridges. Things looked pretty disorganized.
I noticed that the skeptical gentleman I had heard previously was inching towards the tables. He closely studied each animal and tiny person and once in a while would utter, “H-mmmm.” When this resident discovered the outhouse with the door open and a fella seated there in all his splendor he laughed and shook his head. I was so pleased to witness this blessing bestowed on him.
As the Village began taking form one by one the residents came close to see what was happening. The “oohs” and ahhhhs” tickled my fancy. Many asked sincere questions and made kind remarks. It warmed my heart to hear the Christmas memories of long ago shared.
While the finishing touches were put on the Christmas Village, residents began decorating the Christmas tree in their Activities Room. Such gaiety…singing, laughing and even a little jig here and there. The Christmas Spirit was alive and well.
Now complete, children were sledding down snow laden hills, young adults rode sleighs, snowmen were being built and townspeople shopped or rode a horse drawn sleigh. The band marched down the Village Square and Billy prepared to throw his snowball at the choir singing by the Gazebo. Animals donned sparkly wreaths and the Fire Department worked to get that cat out of the top of a tree.
Squirrels and chipmunks raided the silver garbage pails while three dogs ran wild through the town with a huge chicken leg in their mouths. Fluffy white snow covered the entire Village and white blinking lights softly shined through to exude a magical glow. The Manger took center stage and Santa sat atop a high peak overlooking the entire Christmas scene. Some residents came over to look at everything close up and many shared a particular memory from Christmases long ago. We laughed, smiled, talked and even got a bit teary eyed. I enjoyed and absorbed the kindness, sweet words, gentle hugs and beautiful smiles. I mentioned to Deb on the way home that I felt all of the residents had truly been blessed. It did my heart good.
It wasn’t until I laid my head down to sleep that the reality of the true joy hit me. This venture had begun with the hopes that my scene would offer a blessing to the residents of Frewsburg Rest Home. I honestly felt that had been met. The surprise is that I was blessed by them. They filled the room and me with joy, warmth, enthusiasm, curiosity and happy chatter. The blessing meant for them boomeranged and came directly back to me. It warms the cockles of my heart