She was just sitting there, waiting.

He’d gone in to pick up his grandmother from an assisted living center and take her home for a holiday visit when he noticed her. A lady was sitting there, just waiting.

Later that day, when he brought his grandmother back the lady was still there.

She was still in the same spot, still waiting.

He found out she was waiting on someone to come pick her up for the holidays. She’d just wanted a visit, or someone to be there.

This story has a happier ending than some, because she got those things and not only that. It was the impetus behind the Santa for Seniors program, Floyd County Sheriff’s Deputy Jimmy Allred said.

The program brings gifts and some holiday cheer to over 100 area seniors each year. Volunteers and fundraisers from Darlington School, Ball Corp. and many others — including a former Budweiser employee who will continue to remain anonymous until she decides different — have stepped up to bring cheer to our elders each year.

Santa for Seniors is a joint project operated by Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation and the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office dedicated to providing seniors who are without loved ones with gifts for the holiday season.

If you’d like to sponsor a senior contact Tammy Bryant, the assistant recreation services manager at parks and rec, at 706-252-6427 or bryantt@floydcountyga.org.

So if you’re looking for reasons to be thankful in this post Thanksgiving holiday season — be thankful because you’ve got family, friends and loved ones. Even if you don’t, know you’ve got a community that loves you and cares.

Here’s another instance of how our community, without having to be asked, filled a need.

When the Marine Corps closed up shop in Rome as part of the Base Realignment and Closing program approved by Congress in 2005, local groups didn’t hesitate to pick up Toys for Tots — a program formerly run by the Marines.

The Exchange Club now heads up the program — and it’s crunch time and they’re looking for volunteers. That’s where you come in.

This Monday, they’re looking for help with the Toys For Tots program. There’s 12 days left before the toys are distributed to families — and since they’re likely serving nearly 3,000 kids this year they’re asking for anyone who can to come in and help.

The organizer, a powerhouse named Linda Hatcher, is in charge and — if you missed it in the previous paragraphs — is looking for your help. She can be contacted at 706-506-4635.

Being thankful still means so much. For the most part, the rest of this editorial appeared in the Rome News-Tribune in 1993. While amended, it still accurately reflects what makes the holiday so special.

Thanksgiving is perhaps the most uniquely reflective of this nation’s holidays.

There are no presents connected with it, not even the Easter Bunny’s eggs. There are no fireworks shows. No fright masks. No big auto race. No marching orders to attend church, whether the spirit moves one to do so or not.

It is a celebration of having lived another year and having the companionship and support of family and friends. It is an event looked forward to by everyone, except maybe the turkey population. Yet, it demands almost nothing of us except a good appetite.

How it manages to retain its stature as one of the nation’s top holidays with “so little going for it,” in the modern sense, is remarkable.

Perhaps it is because it is a pause before the hectic season to follow. The day after Thanksgiving officially launches the traditional Christmas rush.

Or, it may be a bit more philosophical than that. It is what it purports to be: a day for giving thanks.

Originally, it was thanks for the harvest, thanks for the ability to simply survive.

It remains so, though the harvest it salutes has changed and expanded: thanks for reaping love, thanks for the crop of family, thanks for the seeds of friendships.

It retains jubilation for survival: thanks for health, thanks for shelter, thanks for having work, without which there would be nothing to take a day off from.

Even those without some or all of these things have their own special reasons to like this day, as all the free feasts prove: Thanks for living in a nation where neighbors care.

So, as the day dawns, as the smell of roasting turkey fills the autumn air on this date always marked by nothing particularly special, let’s all remember that this is precisely why it is so special.

It is what it is; it celebrates only what we are; it honors only what we let ourselves be; it asks nothing but that we appreciate what we have.

Thank you for reading.

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