People really make all the difference

You all make a difference. You make a difference to your immediate surroundings, yourself, family and friends. You make a difference in your communities, whether it’s your work community or the town you reside. You’ve made a difference to me.
And, I for one, am grateful for you.
By the time you read this, I should be across the big pond known as the Atlantic Ocean and enjoying myself in Ireland. (At the time of this writing, I have just checked the 10-day forecast over there and yup, rain every day with highs in the 60s. So, I’ve got that going for me.) I bring that up, because if I happen to be abducted by a rogue band of Leprechauns, I want you all to know my feelings for you.
Here’s the thing, people – many who have never met me before – have invited me into their homes to hear their stories. So many homes. So many stories. Many of them are still stuck somewhere in my head and every once in a while those memories of you, who have graciously opened yourselves up to me, pop up. You’ve shared your passions and hobbies and the stories about your art. You’ve shared beautiful, heartwarming stories with me. You’ve opened up in your times of pain and grief and allowed me to share your sad stories to the community. Yes, at times both those heartwarming and heart wrenching stories have made my eyes leak a little (but never in front of you or other readers because I always have to be the stalwart, trusted community newspaper reporter). I’ve been fortunate to have met many wonderful people over the years.
I’m reminded of this today, because on the first of this month I met one of those wonderful people who I haven’t seen in decades. I was in Oxford Township for a parade of boats, on the lake formerly known as Squaw and there she was . . . Peggy Reddaway. What a beautiful woman. Years ago, almost 30 years ago, she and her husband Dick invited me into their home to share their story. It was a sad story, but also a story of hope and love. Dick, who has since passed, had Huntington’s Disease. One of the things I remember from that interview was how the disease causes a person’s muscles to constantly be in motion – dance-like movements.
When I saw her out by the lake with her lake-living neighbors I gave her a hug.
And, while the years have been kind to Peggy they have not been so to me. I am much “older.” Still she remembered me and even said, “I have the story you did about Dick framed and hanging in my home.”
Wow. That made my whole day!
It made me think, this is why I do what I do. I am here because these – you all – are the people of this community. You all have stories and they need to be shared. I know we can’t do them all, but your stories make a difference, they help bring a sense of closeness to the community. So, thank you for inviting me into your homes and lives.
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Recently I received the following email from one Chris A. Because I always believe it’s just as nice to receive a compliment as to give one, I thought I’d share this one with you.
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Don, I’m a 20+ year resident of Oxford. I love reading the Oxford Leader and always appreciate your columns.
After reading today’s (June 28) excellent column about raising and cherishing times with your children I had to write and comment. You are a gifted storyteller, and I enjoyed reading as you recounted examples of how different your two boys were when they were children, remembering how like Shamus I was (I think it’s an affliction of the eldest).
Then I got to the story where Sean looked up at that waitress and delivered those two words, “hubba hubba,” and I actually choked on my coffee for laughing out loud! That was one of the funniest things in print to ever hit me. It was just as funny when you ended that story with “For some reason, I got in trouble for that one.”
Thank you for the belly laugh of the day! Keep up the good work!
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Thanks, Chris A., maybe we can start a small snowball rolling and get folks to offer more compliments to one another versus criticizing.
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Received this email from one of our Citizen newspaper readers who just wanted to share a random thought.
Don, I am amazed that the fires in Canada colored our air at a distance of 750 miles. I can’t imagine what their sky looked like as their forests burned. Made me conscious that the air we breathe has already been sniffed innumerable times by the souls prior to our inhalation. Some scientific mind must have calculated how many people have “enjoyed” our recycled air over the past 100,000 years and more. — Haley H. Haynes
Thanks, Haley. I never thought of that before, but maybe during my eight-hour layover in Boston enroute to Ireland, I will try and calculate that for you!
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