Thursday, December 29, 2016

More than ever, I’m ready for the new year to start. This year hasn’t been the best. I lost both of my grandmas this year, one in October, and the second one just a week and a half ago. Christmas in our family was a little bittersweet this year, as we laid my dad’s mom to rest on December 23, then had our annual Davis Family Christmas Eve Extravaganza on Saturday.

Normally, Christmas is full of joy and celebration. And, while we still did that as much as we could, there were definitely two people missing this time around. When I was a kid, we always had Christmas Eve with my dad’s family, and then Christmas dinner with my mom’s family. I suppose I always knew at some point that would change, I just wasn’t ready for it quite yet.

My grandma Ina, my dad’s mom, left us quickly and suddenly, and for that, I am thankful. She was spunky, she was opinionated, she was true to herself and she was a lot of fun. When I would want to stay home from school as a kid, my parents always knew when I was faking it when I asked to stay at Grandma Ina’s. She’d take me to lunch and we’d goof around all day.

Together, we saw movies, went to Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun, we traveled and we laughed - a lot. I learned all I could about my German heritage from her, even visiting the country with her after I graduated high school. Seeing Grandma in her element was the best gift I could have received. It was the trip of my lifetime. I’ll miss her, but I’ll also hang onto the memories I have.

As the new year approaches, I’m thankful for the good times I’ve had with family members who have passed on. They have helped mold me into who I am today and I hope to make them proud.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, in many ways. Christmastime has always been my favorite time of year to cover news in this community. Each week, from Thanksgiving through New Years, there seems to be magic in the air that transcribes over to the pages in this newspaper.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to take photos of our uniformed officers volunteering their time to help children from Grandview fulfill their Christmas wishes. Armed with $100 and a shopping cart, each officer was paired with a new friend and their families to take part in this memory-making tradition.

One officer, who told me it was his first experience with Christmas with Cops, said that it was one of the most humbling things he’s witnessed. This year, I personally saw socks and underwear being tossed into carts, along with a little something for one girl’s mom. I saw police officers opening their own wallets to pay for the small difference when their shopping buddies went a little over budget. I saw parents walking behind their children, with wide smiles and tears in their eyes, as they realized Christmas was indeed going to come.

I overheard one girl tell the officer she was shopping with that she “needs a phone so when Mom works late I can let her know when my homework is done, what I’ve had for dinner, and when I’m going to bed.” Phones, electronics, music and DVDs were the popular items for the teens, while one little boy ran (I don’t think I saw him slow down once) through the toy aisles, grabbing a small chair, monster trucks and robots.

Each kiddo, from the smallest little guy to the oldest teenager, beamed at the officers with grins of delight. Christmas, this year, will be celebrated with a bit more cheer in each of their homes. And when they are older, I have no doubt that these kids will pay it forward, maybe even some of them will become Christmas-shopping cops, too.