The Coastal Star

Editorial: Three things I appreciate in this season of Thanksgiving

One is the return of season and all of our favorite snowbirds. And with them, the return of our favorite advertisers, plus several new ones. So many, in fact, that you’ll see a second section in this November edition. We are calling it Coastal Life and it’s where you’ll find several of your favorite Coastal Star features: Paws Up for Pets, InterFaith21 and House of the Month — plus more!

Another is the freelance writers and editors who are staying with us, even though there are new opportunities for them elsewhere. They, like us, recognize what a special place our area is to live and work in. We’re grateful for their hard work for The Coastal Star.

Several are to be congratulated for the excellent efforts they’ve contributed, and were recognized Oct. 30 by the Florida Press Club. They are: Tim O’Meilia for general news writing; Ron Hayes for light feature writing; Thomas R. Collins for commentary writing; Tim Stepien for portrait/personality photography and photo illustration; and Jerry
Lower for news photo essay and feature photo essay.

I’m grateful for all of their excellent contributions.

And finally, I am grateful for having known the wife of my father’s uncle. Her name was Helen Welch and she passed away a month short of her 97th birthday in the wee hours of Nov. 2 at her condo in Boynton Beach.

Helen was an elementary school teacher from Illinois who retired to Florida with my great-uncle Dick some 30 years ago. They had no children, so when Helen began to slip into dementia following Dick’s death in 1995, my husband and I stepped in to make sure her final years were good ones. I hope that we succeeded.

It wasn’t always easy to talk her into accepting assistance and later to arrange for good home care. But after a few months of false starts, we ended with six of the most wonderful, caring nursing assistants anyone could ask for. Most have been Helen’s companion for more than five years. In many ways they have become a part of our family. I am sincerely grateful for their love and care of “our girl.”

I am also grateful to Helen herself for showing in her daily life that two words — “thank you” — are an important part of communication people often overlook.

Not Helen. She said it regularly until the last hours of her life. And that simple phrase made the world we shared a more gracious place.

You are sincerely welcome, sweet Helen. And thank you for the lesson.

Rest in peace.

— Mary Kate Leming


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