Now’s the time when everyone is busy shopping for gifts for family and friends. It’s easy to get wrapped up in Black Friday and Cyber Monday and every sale in between. My email box is flooded daily with ads for the lowest prices on everything.
Most of the time people forget “the reason for the season,” as the saying goes. That reason for Christians around the world is the birth of Christ. Gifts aside, spirituality is at a high this time of year.
The Christmas season can be uplifting with decorations, cheerful holiday songs, parties, family and food. After all, isn’t it “the most wonderful time of the year?” Sometimes. There are folks who may have lost someone dear to their heart and holidays can be a bummer.
When someone has passed away, we look for comforting things or signs they are thinking of us. That happened this past week at Agolino’s Restaurant in West Pittston.
Cindy Strelish, known as Blondie to many, was a mainstay at Agolino’s for about 30 years. She served thousands of customers during her tenure as a waitress.
Blondie opened the restaurant at 7 a.m. and worked until 3 p.m. The usual breakfast crew would show up at the counter just to interact with her. She had a sharp wit and was always quick with a comeback.
She had a great smile, piercing blue eyes and that raspy voice that I could recognize if I were blindfolded. And then there was the hair — that’s how she got her nickname. Blondie was very fussy about her hair and it was never out of place.
A few Thanksgivings ago, Blondie wasn’t feeling well. She finally went to the doctor and was diagnosed with lymphoma. She passed away nearly two years ago this month.
To this day, when I walk into the restaurant, I feel her presence. Most who knew her are still in disbelief she’s gone and, at times, I think she’s going to burst through the kitchen doors into the dining area.
Blondie loved Christmas. I can’t be sure, but if I were a betting man, I’d say it was her favorite holiday. Last week, while staffers were putting up Christmas decorations, a red glass ornament fell and broke. It didn’t shatter as most glass ornaments do. This ornament was different. Very different.
Most of the ornament was intact except for one side. When the decoration was flipped over, the damaged part looked like the outline of an angel. The inside silver lining looked like there were rays of sun glorifying its appearance.
Without hesitation, everyone agreed — it had to be Cindy’s message, “I’m still here!”
Miracles do happen.
This ‘PKS kid’ is special
This past Friday was PKS Awareness Day. PKS (Pallister-Killian Syndrome) is an extremely rare chromosomal abnormality with no known cause. It is so rare, there are approximately 2,000 cases in the United States, according to Dr. Ian Krantz of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
PKS is a developmental disorder that affects many parts of the body. Symptoms include extremely weak muscle tone in infancy and early childhood, intellectual disability, distinctive facial features, sparse hair, areas of unusual skin coloring and other birth defects.
Mckenna Granahan, daughter of Christine and Ken Granahan, is a fourth-grade student at Wyoming Area’s Montgomery Avenue Elementary School. She is a living testament that miracles are alive and well. This “PKS kid” is indeed a very special girl as she comes from incredible parents and one understanding and loving sister in Emma.
They say things happen for a reason and maybe the reason Christine decided to become a registered nurse was because one day she would give birth to this very special girl.
The Granahans have created a greatly needed awareness of PKS in our area. Some readers may remember an Exeter playground for all children, including those with special needs, was dedicated in Mckenna’s name in 2010.
To note PKS Awareness Day on Friday, faculty at Montgomery Avenue held a dress down day through the efforts of faculty member Christine Campenni. Money raised went to PKS Kids.
For further information on PKS, go to www.pkskids.net.
Quote of the week
“A person needs a little madness, or else they never dare to cut the rope and be free.” – Niko Kazantzakis, Greek writer.
Thought of the week
“With love, you should go ahead and take a risk of getting hurt… because love is an amazing feeling.” – Britney Spears, American singer.
“Photography is truth.” – Jean-Luc Godard, French founder of New Wave cinema.
Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.