Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Work of Christmas Begins, December 26, 2011

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins.
~Howard Thurman

Hello Family and Friends,

Greetings to all of you on this day after Christmas from San Diego, where the stockings are no longer hung, the presents are all unwrapped and, in the words of Howard Thurman, "the work of Christmas begins."

Anniversary. Tomorrow Cindy and I will celebrate 43 years of marriage. It has been quite a ride, from that Friday evening in 1968 when we were married at the La Mesa Church of Christ, to the day Nathan was born in the spring of 1977, to our retirements just a few years ago, to the births of our grand kids, and all the many, many experiences in between.

The first picture was taken earlier this month and shows Cindy and me enjoying ourselves on the beach in Carlsbad, California. (Thanks to friend George Andrews for taking this picture.)

In 2008, on our 40th anniversary, we were just a family of 3: the two of us and our foot loose and fancy free son Nathan. In the 3 years since then our little family has evolved beyond our imagination, and there are now 6 stockings over the Christmas fireplace, and next Christmas we will make room for yet another!

The second picture I am including was taken Christmas day at Granny Harris's house on Burgundy Street in San Diego. It shows Cindy in the middle holding our grandson Logan. Next to her is her mother Paula Harris with me in front. On the left is our son Nathan holding daughter Preslea, and momma Chenda in front of them.

Birthday. Wednesday, December 28, is the birthday of my late aunt Pauline Shepard Russell, who was born 95 years ago this week in Beaver County, Oklahoma. She was the first child of William and Bura Davis Shepard and the first grandchild of James Brooks and Callie Davis. At 11 years old her family moved to Two Buttes, Colorado where a few years later she met Bill Russell. One week after her 18th birthday she and Bill were married in Colorado. In 1940, after their two children, Rex and Beverly, were born they moved with the rest of Pauline's family to San Diego, California where they lived the rest of their lives. Pauline died in 2000.

The third picture I am including was taken in a restaurant in San Diego about 1942, during World War II. It shows Pauline Shepard Russell and her husband Bill Russell on the right. On the far left is Pauline's brother Eugene Shepard in his Coast Guard uniform. A reliable source tell me that next to Pauline is Bill's sister Louella Russell with her husband, also in uniform.

Pauline and Bill Russell have two grandchildren alive today, Shannon Wilk who, with daughter Emma, lives in Atchison, Kansas; and Eric Russell, who with wife Ruthie, lives in Red Rock, Nevada.

What is the "work of Christmas" that Howard Thurman refers to in the lines at the top of this post? In the rest of his poem he tells us.

The work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.

- - -

No comments: