Christmas trees infuse hope
Children and adults alike walk into the lobby, survey the tinsel, ornaments, lights and decorations until their eyes no longer reflect the glimmer of the trees, but produce their own.
All eyes will be fixed upon Christmas trees in the main lobby of Thomasville Medical Center at at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, for “Christmas Trees of Davidson County.”
For Linda Hunt and the volunteers responsible for making the event possible, the faces of visitors is more than enough reward for their efforts.
"To see the eyes of children when they walk in, everything is so new to them," said Hunt, executive director of Thomasville Medical Center Foundation. "To me, that's what this whole program is all about, making sure that children have that sense of awe when they walk in the door."
TMC's annual holiday tradition will continue this year as 64 businesses and civic groups have adorned trees that will be lit simultaneously. Among the decorative trees that will appear this year, several organizations — including The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club — feature trees with the work of children who will be part of a crowd captivated by the sights and sounds of trees and carols sung by members of Mt. Zion Wesleyan Church.
"Some of our Christmas trees are from children who are very disadvantaged, yet they make the ornaments for that tree, come in, drink cider and visit Santa Claus."
The Christmas trees are not exclusively for youth, however, as many seniors will show up in buses from retirement facilities, some near and others from far away.
"Christmas is a special time anyway, but working up here, it has taken a whole new meaning," said Gordon McAdams, a TMC volunteer. "I really look forward to these Christmas trees. Everybody in the community enjoys it. When you take your mind off yourself and put it on others, it makes all the difference in the world."
One member of the senior population embodies this spirit of selflessness and is honored through the decoration of a tree in her honor. A single violet tree, shining brightly in the spectacle of others with their own unique decor, will again be lit for Margaret Hammond, a lady known to most Thomasville residents as "Purple Grandma." When asked what the tradition of decorating the trees meant, she beamed almost as brightly as her tree.
"I remember the first year they put them up, a girl who worked here caught me by the hand and led me over to my tree," Hammond said. "I saw what it said and I hollered so loud I think I scared some of the patients.
"I never do tell Linda [Hunt] about sometimes the way I feel — like I ain't nothing, nobody really cares, or I'm no good. They put that tree up and it's like they're saying you're special to us and we love you."
Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or firstname.lastname@example.org.