February 11, 2016

Cook column: 2015 had its good moments, too

Published 12:14 am Sunday, January 3, 2016

Forgive me, but I’m having trouble letting go of 2015.

Sure, we had some bad times — violence, discord, tragedy. But as I look back through the year’s headlines, I’m reminded of a lot of good things that happened, too.

Like digging out old photos of a beloved relative, revisiting the good news of 2015 can warm the heart and be reassuring. We had happy times together, too, didn’t we?

What Sue Files’ coworkers and friends did for her back at the beginning of the year is a good example. Sue’s dirt driveway was in such bad shape that she was parking her car at the beginning of it and walking to her house, a three-quarter-mile trek, often in rain and dark. A group got together and not only filled the mud puddles and gullies, they paved the driveway. “People ask me, have you won the lottery?” Sue said, “And I say yes, in friendship.”

In February, a feature about James Miles brought some smiles — appropriate since he is credited with putting the “joy” in our local hospital’s Joynt Camp. After knee- or hip-replacement surgery, when people really don’t feel like moving, James has the job of nudging them along. “You’re wild, you’re woolly, you’re invincible,” he told one woman slowly walking along after knee surgery. And she believed it.

When it comes to turning a negative — unwanted animals — into a positive, a host of agencies and volunteers made 2015 a red-letter year for Rowan’s treatment of abandoned and unwanted animals. After getting rid of the animal shelter’s gas chamber in 2014, Shelter Guardians and others stepped up efforts to not only find new homes for the cats and dogs that might have died there, but also to improve the animal shelter itself. A phenomenally generous donor spurred much of the momentum.

In the category of astounding developments, Kannapolis City Council’s bold purchase of more than $8 million in downtown property and the opening of its grand new City Hall showed that government does not always need to move at a cautious, second-guessing snail’s pace. Here’s hoping 2016 developments help the city fulfill its vision.

You’re heard the saying, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. In 2015, First Baptist Church decided to teach people to fish, figuratively speaking. The Jobs for Life program matched job seekers with workshops and volunteers who help them brush up on job-seeking skills and, best of all, gave them coaching and moral support. Sometimes the greatest mission field is right in our own back yard.

But international missions have their place, too. If you don’t believe it, go back to the May story about the magic shoe box. An Operation Christmas Child box that Linda and William Deal sent into the great unknown in 2005 through Samaritan’s Purse. Little did they know the bond they would form with the family that received the box in India. The two families corresponded through the years and, in 2015, Brian and Esther Rex and their two children traveled halfway around the globe to visit the Deals’ home in Davidson County and meet their caring friends. Linda’s mother, Gladys Castor of Rowan County, feels just as close to the Rex family as if they were her own. The Rex children call her Great-Grandma. “How blessed am I?” she asks.

This, my friends, is just the tip of the iceberg. Last year had a lot of what we call “the good stuff.” Maybe these few examples will inspire more in 2016.

Happy New Year!

Elizabeth Cook is editor of the Salisbury Post. 

 

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