Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


December 6, 2012

Gary's World: True angels are living amongst us

CROSSVILLE — It's funny how the sight of something can bring back a flood of memories and emotions all in a flash of two or three seconds. At least that's how my mind works.

The other day, as I was walking up to the front office at the Chronicle, I saw two brand new, shiny bicycles parked at the Christmas tree.

One was a boy's bike and one a girl's. The sight instantly made me tear up.

This year the Chronicle has an Angel Christmas Tree for the Foster Adoptive Parent Association children. A foster child's first name is written on an angel along with pertinent information, such as age, clothing size, favorite color, and a small list of what the child would like for Christmas.

People can come in, pick an angel or angels off the tree, get the gifts and bring them back to the Chronicle with the angel attached before Dec. 20. The Foster Parent Association then picks up the gifts and distributes them to the families.

I knew we had the tree up there and the cause, but it didn't really sink in until I walked up there the other day and saw those shining, brand new bicycles sitting there for a nine-year-old boy and eight year-old girl.

How sweet and generous of these people who are able to afford to purchase something like this for a child in need.

When I saw those bicycles my mind also instantly flashed back to my own childhood and how special the Christmas of 1973 was for me when I was a nine-year-old boy and I received my Schwinn Sting-Ray five-speed.

It was something I had begged for, but my father always responded with, "I'm sorry, we just can't afford to buy that right now."

That bicycle meant the world to me and was my most prized possession, other than my dog, of course.

Prior to that bicycle, I had never had a new bike. When I was a kid, I would often see old bicycles tossed to the curb, thrown away on garbage day, as I walked to and from school. The only bike I had was an old hand-me-down, used rusty bike.

I decided to take one of the bikes I saw in the garbage, bring it home and use the parts from it to fix up my old clunker. I did this two or three times and I eventually combined the bikes into one good bike and a couple of not-so-good-looking bikes. I then sold the not-so-good-looking bikes.

It's hard to imagine an eight-year-old child thinking like this, but that's exactly what I did. Apparently, after discovering the massive pile of bicycle parts in the garage, my dad asked me what I was doing. When I told him and showed him the bike, it inspired him to find a way to get me the ultimate kid bicycle of the time — the Schwinn Sting-Ray Fastback five-speed.

By the freak stroke of good luck, Christmas Day was in the 60s — almost unheard of for the Chicago area in December — and I was able to ride my new five-speed all day long. To this day I can't describe how special that day was to me and how much it made me respect my father for working extra hours to get that bike for me. It wasn't just a material thing. It was the love my parents showed me.

As it turned out, it was one of the last Christmases my parents were married.

Seeing those brand new bikes the other day made me think just how much they might mean to those foster kids. Many of these kids are often removed immediately from their homes without any warning and are forced to leave every single thing they have behind.

Many times they are going to live in better circumstances, but it is still a traumatic time for them. I know that material things certainly can't replace the love, safety and security of good parents and home, but it is something that might help them feel special.

As of Thursday there were 10 angels left on the Christmas Angel Tree at the Chronicle. That's 10 opportunities for someone to help make a foster child's Christmas a bit brighter.

May God bless all of those who are so giving and those who volunteer during the whole year. We are truly blessed in this community with some of the most generous, caring and volunteering people I've ever seen.

The generosity of some people is inspiring. These folks, and the parents who take in the foster children and offer them unconditional love and home, are true angels.

Not only did seeing those bikes make me think of the foster children, but it made me realize just how blessed I am and thankful for my family and friends and the love we share for one and other.

May God bless you all with a wonderful holiday and Christmas season.

• • •

Gary Nelson is a Crossville Chronicle staffwriter. His column is published each Friday. He may be reached at

Text Only
  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

  • Tidbits: Make the best of your road trip

    I didn’t care for road trips when I was young. It was so confining to have to sit in the back seat, staring out the window for hour after hour, hayfield after hayfield. And when you’re a kid, time doesn’t pass like it does when you get a little older. Just the trip from Jamestown, TN, to Crossville, roughly 30 miles, felt like an eternity!

    July 14, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Biased climate agenda will cost trillions

    For anyone who has been educated in the history of science and scientific method, this whole issue of “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” is an embarrassing and painful exercise.

    July 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Time for an oil change

    The land of Iraq, earlier known as Mesopotamia, has a long history going back to Neanderthal times some 60,000 years ago. Later, around 10,000 years ago, it became the site for some of the most important developments in human history: the invention of the wheel, planting of cereal crops, the development of cursive script, mathematics, astronomy and agriculture. Today it is recognized as one of the cradles of civilization.

    July 8, 2014

  • We the People: American women, be informed and vote

    Voting for today’s Republican Party and its Tea Party members, means you are voting against more than most realize.  This is especially true for women.

    July 8, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014