AFTER THE STORM: GRATITUDE

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As Hurricane Matthew barreled towards us the folk at Memory Matters  executed their evacuation plan to perfection and later worked tirelessly to re-open the facility this last week.

Through the eyes of this volunteer it was heartening to see and hear the same warm, positive and welcoming words from the Staff when our participants and care givers walked through the doors on their return. The Staff  were understandably exhausted, including at least one whose home had suffered significant tree damage. But from their demeanor you would never have known the “storm” they had invidually weathered!

At our Connections Club on Thursday it was great to meet up with our friends again and to meet new people joining the program.

It has become a regular occurrence, encouraged by Karen, to practice remembering participants names and using word association to do so. Some weeks ago we were struggling, but now we have really improved. “Terrific” Tom,  “You can call me” Al, “Chatty” Cathy and “Puppets” Frank are all good examples. The point of my observation is simply to say that I see and hear genuine improvement, and that in itself is wonderful and to be commended!

We then spent some time recounting Hurricane Matthew stories.  For the most part these were tales of gratitude for personal safety and relief that everyone was safe and homes were still liveable. There was a sense of “community” and sharing concern for each other. My words might sound a little trite, but this is what I saw and heard. These are good people who often open their hearts to us in a safe friendly  environment. Rest assured their confidences are secure with Memory Matters.

Just prior to the storm that changed the face of the Low Country, Karen encouraged us to write a few sentences on why we were glad to be Americans. Contributions ranged from “Its a Great Country and Land of Opportunity” to “Freedom and Liberty”, to “Its Charitable Nature” and,  “It’s People”. However, I want to share the words of my fellow volunteer, Lindy, who for the past seven years has been a remarkable and passionate contributor to Memory Matters. For those who do not know this entertaining, interesting but modest gentleman let me add that he volunteer’s at Memory Matters four days a week. A little while ago Lindy wrote a beautiful poem that was chosen as the best entry in a competition organized by Hilton Head Monthly. The subject: “Why I’m glad to be an American”. It’s people like Lindy who continue to allow us to call America “a Great Country”!

TO BE AN AMERICAN

I’m glad to be an American

it’s more than just

“The Land of the Free”.

It’s a feeling inside,

that fills me with pride,

that’s what America is to me.

*

I’m glad to be an American

it’s more than just

“Oh, Say Can You See”.

It’s what I see in you,

and what you see in me.

*

I’m glad to be an American

it’s more than just

“Mom’s Apple Pie”.

There is no one to tell you

when to laugh or when to cry.

*

I’m glad to be an American

it’s more than just

“Independence Day”.

It’s how we play,

it’s how we pray,

it’s how we live in the U.S.A.

I’m glad to be an American.

Encouraged by Lindy’s poem we embarked on some brain stretching work, individually writing down as many synonyms as possible for the words “happy or glad”. I guess we found at least sixty between us in a short space of time including my personal English favorite known as feeling “chuffed”! We learn something new every week!

We followed this exercise with another word game called a “Paragraph Proofer” that was really a test of focus before embarking on an exercise routine to patriotic music. Later still a couple of songs by this volunteer and great harmonizing by a Club Member. Singing “It’s a Wonderful World” somehow seemed appropriate after our recent skirmish with Matthew! There was even time prior to lunch for “Margaritaville”.

After lunch we enjoyed a visit from a gentleman who has travelled to 103 countries, has a great photo collection and amazing detailed recall. It was most interesting.

We finished the day with some lighthearted trivia questions with  two competing teams. As I have said before these guys are really competitive! They also contributed well to the “would you rather….” questions, but I will cover that another day.

Once again your correspondent went home exhausted!

Please share this if you believe it would help someone.

Call 1 843 842 6688 if you would like any more information about what we do at Memory Matters.

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