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Posts Tagged ‘Elmhurst Hospital Guild’s Reindeer Route’

Laura in the Snow by Tasha Tudor

We all wore red. Red sweaters, red shirts, red shoes and red scarves. After a time, visitors recognized that we were the docents. The ladies in red. Greetings were exchanged as we changed shifts and red passed red in good holiday cheer.

I loved every minute of it!

The event was the annual Reindeer Route sponsored by the Hospital Guild of Elmhurst Memorial Hospital. This was their 35th housewalk and, as it always is, a treat for the holiday spirit.

Karen asked many of us to help by manning one of the houses. I love doing this sort of volunteerism whenever I can. Yes, it usually involves several hours of standing, but, it is always for some sort of fundraiser that provides scholarships or charitable endeavor and is but one small way of giving back to the community.

The Reindeer walk is something that pulls at my heartstrings, and that is okay. Those strings to our hearts are made to be tugged now-and-again, are they not? They remind us of life, its realities and sorrows and joys.

This walk is one I often attended with my dear friend, Juanita. Each time we went, the day was full of snow and slush, and she was always and famously late. I’d forgive her with her typical cheerful greeting and she would always be “decked to the nines” with more jewelry than one could imagine, yet, on her, always looked stylish and right. We would never see all the houses, because we would spend so much time at the ones we did see. “Penny, look at this” or “Juanita, this looks like you”. On we would go, taking time for a coffee and sweets, and her inner Pollyanna; well it always succeeded in making me glad.

Friday’s event was one of the few that I can remember that dawned bright and sunny without any snow. So much the nicer for visitors as they put on those hospital booties to walk through the houses. The weather also brought out more visitors, I’m sure.

I started this post wanting to tell you about the house, and, instead, have taken you on a walk of my own. Indulge me, please, for a few more words as I tell you about the house. It was built in the late 1800’s and has all the nooks and crannies and charm of its era. In an age of McMansions, tear downs and build ups, it was refreshing to witness this endearing home with its cozy feel, warm wood, wavy windows, creaking stairs, and sense of holiday cheer.

I knew the previous owners who so lovingly restored the house some years ago. A young couple, Wendy lost her husband to a sudden heart attack, with two young boys to raise. A few years later, Wendy passed on from cancer. She was in the business of antiques and I have a few bits and bobs that I bought from her booth at a local antique shop. They are nice reminders of her, as were the few hours I spent in the house she brought back to its current glory. I think that Wendy would be pleased at how the house has been kept to its own character and charm.

So go those old circles of life, dear reader. Taking time with friends, service to community, honoring the past while acknowledging the present, and even wearing a dash of red!

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