Herald Grosser gave me a car last week – a 1904 Cadillac! Actually he gave me two cars. The other one was a 1931 Ford Model A. For those of you who don’t know it, Herald collects miniature cars and last week when Pat and I were there, he gave me two of them. It was a very thoughtful gift that we will display and treasure.
Over the years, I have received many gifts from you. Pete Morton used to build model ships with all the rigging. They’re extremely intricate and take literally hundreds of hours to build and rig and paint. I have one – a two-masted beauty – sitting on a shelf in our living room. John Drolen, father of Jan Drolen and Joyce Budge, was a gifted artist, and we have some of his artwork in our home. Tim and Lori Meisling gave us a beautiful large crystal shaped like a diamond. It acts as a prism, and sitting on the window sill in our kitchen, casts beautiful rainbows on the walls and ceilings every morning. I have a fishing rod from Helen Munther’s husband and one of these days I plan to use it and hopefully catch as many fish as he did. In my golf bag is a sand wedge that belonged to Bill Zomer. I still use it to save strokes on the course, and every time I pull it out, I think of Bill. On the wall of my office is a water-color painting done by Claudia Schrock (Sid Heersma’s daughter) of the lighthouse in South Haven.
This barely scratches the surface of your generosity. Many of you have given me books or music or art work or pictures or Christmas ornaments or posters or plaques. Carolyn Zuidema Whitney gave me a candle shaped like Santa Claus. A couple I married several years ago presented me with a white stuffed orangutan that talks and laughs and whistles like a monkey. The voice is activated by a motion sensor. Kids are fascinated by it. I have received lapel pins and paperweights and coffee mugs. And you have given Pat and me many gift cards for restaurants which we always enjoy.
Each gift is a reminder of the giver and we remember you fondly with each one. But your greatest gifts have been the gift of yourselves. Your friendship and love, your support and caring over the years have been deeply appreciated. You have allowed me to share in your lives at the most joyful and most sorrowful times and all the in-between times. You are more than just friends; you are family.
Your gifts are a constant reminder of the loving and giving God who sent his Son as the best gift of all. And for that, we’re all thankful.