A little back story: she, we're going to call her Joyce, and her husband raised 5 (I think) children in a VERY modest three-bedroom home about 19 miles out of town. She gardened and housed quite a flock of chickens in a long, low chicken barn that I (today) envy! Matter of fact, that house and piece of property is now owned and worked by Tanglewoods Homestead. (Patty, I didn't know you were sick! I'm SO sorry . . . and GLAD you're feeling better now!!!)
Anyway, Joyce's husband was an old curmudgeon. He was a heavy equipment operator, and built all three of the ponds my family had on our 80 acres where I grew up. You never saw him on his Cat or bulldozer without his large, stainless steel thermos by his side. We later learned that it held not coffee . . . but whiskey! ;) Joyce's husband died years ago, but she's stayed right here in the community and now lives in the lower story of her youngest daughter and son-in-law's home.
Here's my letter:
I’d like to recommend Joyce Swanson as 2011’s Senior Citizen of the Year.
Because I grew up in "the small community" where she and her husband, W, lived, I’ve known her my entire life but recently had the opportunity to meet her again after many years. Her daughter and I share office space in the same building, and Joyce came to one of our building’s birthday parties last year. She looked exactly the same as I remembered this wonderful woman looking from years before (she just celebrated her 90th birthday, if I’m not mistaken). I sat down next to her and introduced myself. “You may not remember me,” I said, “But I remember you! I’m Chicken Mama, and my folks are Mama and Papa Pea.” She took and held my hand as a big smile filled her face and exclaimed, “Oh! ANY friend of Mama and Papa Pea’s is a friend of mine!”
When I told my folks about seeing Joyce again, we reminisced over the past 38 years since first meeting her. Here are some of the things they said:
- "Joyce and W were instrumental in supporting us during our earliest years in the county even though they didn’t know us."
- "Joyce has always been a terrifically hard worker!"
- "She’s loyal, supportive and generous; whether dealing with friends or the community at large."
- "Joyce is always ‘chirky’ and ‘up’ with a positive, can-do attitude."
The words ‘helpful’ and ‘generous’ kept repeating during our talk, and that leads me to Joyce’s (a.k.a. “Grammy’s”) particular and current contribution to the county. With no one prompting her to do so, Joyce has taken on the elementary school's Breakfast Program as her personal mission. Purchasing the materials and providing all the labor herself (and keeping nothing in compensation for her time or expenses), Joyce makes and sells potholders. Each set of potholders sells for $3.00 (square-shaped) or $5.00 (fish-shaped), and 100% of the proceeds go to the PTO. To date she has, single-handedly, raised just under $3,000.
My parents’ final comment regarding Joyce sums it all up: “Even in her latter years, she feels the need to be active and giving to her community. She’s a wonderful inspiration to both young and old!”
Joyce Swanson IS an incredible asset to the county, and I’m proud to be called a friend by her. I can think of no one more fitting to receive this Senior Citizen of the Year award!
Thank you for your time,Chicken Mama