I planned on posting about my adventurous Christmas shopping from earlier this week.  But after my experience today – the Tysons Town Center and Costco shopping trips seem awfully boring to me now.  Even my break down at Wal-Mart yesterday.  [yep…I had a good cry in the car]

I recently volunteered with our church to be part of the Community Outreach Program.  There are several opportunities to serve, and I have been wanting to get connected in other areas, especially while researching facilities and organizations that welcome service dogs.  Today, we went to an assisted living center.   Those residents who are interested, or are capable of joining their fellow residents in the gathering room, come to listen to the Pastor speak, joke, pray or counsel.   On this particular day, it was a special ice cream social/ Christmas carol social.   I was amused to find that I was not the only other person in the group who couldn’t carry a tune.  An adorable woman sat on my right – wearing only her best Holiday sweater, gold jewelry and sparkly shoes.  The two of us were in sync as we carried our own tune to Joy To The World.

But it wasn’t until the ice cream social when I met the most sparkly of women.  As I walked to the dining hall, there she was.  Definitely a favorite holiday shirt.  Purple with gems.  Trimmed with ivory lace.  Light lavender slacks, and winter white skimmers.  She was sitting in a Duet Transport.   I couldn’t help but notice how pretty she was.  She must have been very beautiful in her youth.  She smiled as bright as her shirt, while complimenting me on my “pretty sweater”.  [nothing special – Orvis brown and tan sweater]    She had me at hello.

I immediately sat down beside Mary-Ellen.   A DC native, she spoke with such elegance but had the best sense of humor.  She’s 90 years young.  Her favorite Christmas movie is Charlie Brown.  Her favorite movie – Gone with the Wind.    Loves to play Bridge, and wins most of the time.   She has three children and 8 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.  Mary-Ellen gets her nails polished and her hair “set” every week by the beautician who comes to the resident home.   I loved listening as Mary-Ellen talk about her Washington DC.   She was born in 1925.  What became of the District in the 40’s and 50’s.   The architecture and the night life of a time gone by.  She made the District of Columbia sound so romantic.  [I’m a hopeless romantic anyway]

It was time to grab our commuter bus home.   We all gathered around saying our goodbyes, wishing happiest of holidays or better yet – hope to see you again(s)….I saved Mary-Ellen for last.   She had a smile to light up her District of Columbia.   Something tells me Mary-Ellen from Washington DC, had quite a life.  And still does.

On the way home, I watched the rain pound on the bus window.  I found myself giggling thinking about Mary-Ellen’s bright and fancy holiday outfit.   Her smile and her personality.   What type of life did this Fancy Nancy have?  I hope to learn more next month when I go back.  I never had any interest in learning Bridge, but I  may learn the game just to spend more time with Mary-Ellen.

Today was better than any day I spent Christmas shopping this week.  I was humbled.  Thankful to have met this gentle woman who just happens to have a little jazz and pizazz in her soul!

Oh, Mary-Ellen…how I look forward to my next visit!



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