Christmas is in the air! Everything looks brighter and happier, lights twinkling and cheerful greeting, people singing, celebrations taking place, families coming together, folks caring about others. It feels good to spread good cheer.
I have noticed more and more houses are lighting up a wonderful display in my neighborhood. I can’t wait to go to see the spectacular display in the Victoria Park neighborhood, which we try to observe every year. Just driving down Davis Boulevard, the Moon Lake entry display looks so lovely, as does Kings Lake. Rattlesnake Hammock always looks more cheerful as you pass Royal Wood at Christmastime. Being that I can’t mention every development that goes out of their way to brighten up the holiday, I’d better stop there. But just know, those of you who decorate, there are lots of us out here who really appreciate all you do!
• This Saturday, Dec. 17, is the Annual Christmas Santa Run! The East Naples Civic Association, the East Naples Kiwanis, the East Naples Fire Department, and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office hold this “Santa Run” for the children of Naples Manor and Mohawk Heights (which is located in the neighborhood behind Sugden Regional Park off U.S. 41 East, opposite the Lakewood community).
Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will be riding in a sleigh, as all the volunteers (you can too, if you’d like to see this heart-warming event) throw candy and toys to the children. We will meet at St. Andrews Square at 8:30 a.m. This year we have a special treat for these little tykes. The busy elves who reside at Blue Skies mobile home park on Radio Road have been busy working all year to carve and paint toys for the children.
These elves, Ed Kuyper and Robert Killabrew, buy all the wood and paint on their own, and create beautiful toys such as a train holding crayons, dinosaurs, trucks and animals. Their delivery man, Gary Davis, will make sure everything is loaded and ready to go on Saturday. We will be handing them out to each family for their children to enjoy. We thank these wonderful gentlemen for giving of themselves for the happiness of others. If you would like to join us to hand out these little gifts and candy to the children, please do. Or, if you just want to see the sleigh and the entire procession, including Santa and Mrs. Claus, fire trucks, sheriff deputies patrol cars, young people from Lely Key Club who help us, as they get ready to take off, please drop by. It is always such a delight to see the excitement and happiness on these little children’s faces, as their watchful parents beam from ear to ear.
• The Vietnam Wall memorial event on Marco Island was presented on Dec. 7 – Pearl Harbor Day, and was very moving and emotional. I had the honor of sitting next to Walter Tucker, a survivor of Pearl Harbor and a World War II veteran. What a terrific guy Walter is! At nearly 90 years old, his mind is as sharp as a tack, and he forgets nothing! He and his wife had 7 sons and 8 daughters, some of whom were at the memorial with Walter. Walter spoke to the audience of the soldiers coming home from Vietnam, and how they were treated by their own country...by their own people! What a sad day in history for these soldiers who were disgraced and humiliated. He said most of his life he had an angel on his shoulder. His message to everyone was to “love each other.” He said the world wouldn’t have the problems nor the wars if each of us loved his fellow man and treated him with respect. A good Christmas message indeed! I felt humbled to sit next to this man.
And with that, dear friends, I wish you a very Merry Christmas filled with happiness and good cheer, and the love of family and friends.