How are we thankful? Let's count the ways [Senior Circles]

This is a special time for giving thanks and for sharing memories and blessings.

One of our "Senior Circles" readers, Tom Brzezinski, of Marriottsville, shared information on a special Thanksgiving eve service of Giving Thanks at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ellicott City.  Three Howard County residents shared words of personal thanksgiving at the service. 

One of the three, Richard Funke, a 55-year member of the church, went to Howard County Public Schools and earned Eagle Scout while in high school. A retired Naval officer, he has been a lifelong resident of Howard County. The other two giving thanks were Hannah Roberts, a junior at Marriottsville Ridge High School and new church member Stacey Evans who grew up in the U.S., Japan and Panama as a child of a military family.

Do you have a family Thanksgiving tradition of expressing thanks before dinner begins? If you don't, why not go around the table today and have each one present tell what they are thankful for this year. It can be a very meaningful experience for all.

One of the things I am very thankful for this year is having known Gladys Beall, who died Nov. 6, 2013, even if it was for just two years. She was born in Oella, in Howard County. Gladys' World War II story was included in Senior Circles: "Calling all Rosies in Howard County!" dated Nov. 14, 2011.

"Gladys Beall…worked before the war, but not during the war, at the Oella fabric mill in Howard County, where navy blue wool uniforms were made. From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., she worked as a specker, using a wooden dowel dipped in ink to cover spots on the cloth where the dye didn't adhere. When the mill was converted to make khaki for the soldiers' uniforms, speckers were no longer needed so Gladys continued her role as wife and mother and volunteered at Fort Meade, where she served coffee and doughnuts to servicemen."  

I am so thankful for having met and gotten to know this remarkable woman, who was always upbeat, smiling, friendly, and so proud of her contribution to the war effort and to her county. She was an active member of the American Rosie the Riveter Association, Laurel Chapter. She was a part of history.

This month brought back memories, especially on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. I was a junior in college in Washington, D.C., When word that Kennedy was killed in Dallas spread through the school, all the students gathered together, distraught over the news. Our eyes were glued to the TV as events unfolded. I remember my mother, brother my boyfriend and I stood for hours in a line that was miles long, so that we could file past the President's flag-draped casket in the Capitol Rotunda to pay our respects.

I also have good memories of experiences centered on President Kennedy. One was when he came to the Navy Yard in Washington, where I was working during the summer. He came there to christen a new ship. I was standing on the curb as his limousine came by and I snapped a photo. You can clearly see him sitting in the back seat next to the window. 

Back then, college students who worked during the summers for the government in D.C. had the opportunity to periodically hear officials address them, like Hubert Humphrey and George McGovern. At the end of the summer, we were invited to the White House lawn to hear President Kennedy speak. After he completed his talk, he invited us all to tour the White House. It was a very memorable occasion for me, because even though I had lived in D.C. from birth to that time, I had never been to the White House. Also, I was one of those people who answered President Kennedy's call to federal service, "Let the public service be a proud and lively career."

Share your blessings this holiday season with those less fortunate. One organization that can always use your help is the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County, a private nonprofit that provides services to women, children and men impacted by intimate partner violence and sexual assault in Howard County. Services include 24-hour helplines, residential assistance, counseling, abuser intervention program, legal assistance and free community education programs.

You may have already adopted a DVC family for the holidays but there are always ongoing client needs,  such as paper towels, napkins, tissues, toilet paper, high efficiency laundry detergent, aluminum foil, 60 and 75 watt light bulbs, plastic hangers, cereal [hot and cold], 64 ounce jugs of juice, diapers (all sizes, especially 3T and 4T), gift cards (Target, Walmart), gas cards and grocery cards. For additional information, contact Jennifer Pollitt Hill at

As of Dec. 1, the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County will be known as HopeWorks Howard County. The services will be the same; only the name changes.

If you like to make the rounds of craft fairs this time of year, stop in and shop at the Holiday Craft Boutique, Wednesday, Dec. 4, from noon to 7 p.m. at the Ellicott City Senior Center at 9401 Frederick Road in Ellicott City.

Sponsored by Encore at Turf Valley, an Ellicott City assisted living community, this holiday craft show is a first for the Ellicott City Senior Center. Over 20 vendors will offer homemade specialties, jewelry, pottery, quilted items, knitted items, woodworking, pieces, greeting cards, jams and jellies, wreaths and ornaments.  Admission is $1 and you receive a free gift bag. There will also be door prizes and giveaways. Craft sale proceeds benefit Grassroots of Howard County and the Ellicott City Senior Center Council.

Enjoy your turkey and all the trimmings!

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