Giving is the Best Part of Christmas

The Christmas season is the season of giving, the spirit of which embodies the joy we receive from this simple act. I was blessed to have parents that carried the tradition of giving beyond the calender dates associated with the holidays.

My mom was the chairman of the Cancer Society for Marin County. She would coordinate drivers through-out the county to pick up elders or people that could not assist themselves in reaching a medical destination for pre-arranged appointments. This non-profit job was not for payment but brought my mom the simple joy of giving to others. This was before cell phones and relied upon the communication vehicle fondly known as the rotary phone. This in turn relied upon the word of others to carry out their promises to connect with those patients that needed the drivers assistance to reach their medical destination in a timely fashion.

Each day I would hear my mom on the phone for hours at any given time supplying the necessary instructions to the Cancer Society volunteers. My mom did this for over ten years before she was incapacitated and unable to perform her volunteer duties. I will never forget how proud I was of her for giving her time to this great cause.

At that time my dad was involved with teaching music to secondary school children in San Francisco at Herbert Hoover Junior High School. On the side he directed plays, tutored musicians, played in the Marin Symphony, conducted at a music camp in the summer, and played for older people confined to rest homes in Marin County. My dad also sponsored children in other countries providing food, clothing, and even education to those less fortunate.

I remember around this time of year my dad would dress in colorful attire with vest and top hat to play social events and parties around the Bay Area. I always loved the stories of those he played for including the supreme court justices, former presidents, and famous actors.

Later in life I become involved with the Rotary Club and Masonic Lodge to carry on the tradition of giving to the community in which I lived. I learned everything that was positive and good from my parents and I honor them today with this short vignette of just a small part of what they did for others. This, in the spirit of Christmas and the holidays they loved so dearly.