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The 4-B Kids ~ Keeping Me Young at Heart by Pattie Bailey

January 3, 2019
Reinbeck Courier
I was listening to the Sinatra station driving from Em’s Saturday night. When Frank started singing “Young at Heart,” I was transported to a long, long ago birthday. Mother & Dad made a point of making my Christmas-time birthday special, and this usually included dinner at the Elk’s Club. The guest list varied, but I remember one ride home, after dinner and a tour of the Christmas lights, when Dad challenged us ~ Mother, Inky Palmer, Lefty Wagner and me ~ to sing songs containing the word ‘heart.’ Dad could dance like Fred Astaire and sing like Frank so he had dozens of songs in his head. One of them described Dad ~ “Young at Heart.” I thought of that long ago birthday when I heard the song, but I also thought about The 4-B Kids. They do a lot of things that help me to stay young-at-heart. They can also do a lot of things that turn my hair gray, but, mostly, they fill my heart with pride. December was a great month in 4-B. They loved my favorite Christmas books. They shared great stories about their family Christmas trees. They created a fanciful yet thoughtful door design. They made ornaments for Christmas trees for the Gladbrook tree lighting celebration and for the Festival of Trees at Miracle on Main in Reinbeck. They presented a reading of “The Grinch” to the second graders. They sang “Little Drummer Boy” and performed a reading of “The Christmas Truce” for residents at Westview Estates. The December committee planned delicious treats, and they all shared the fun of the gift exchange. Most important, perhaps, was their giving spirit when they planned the December Bucket Projects. Without hesitation, they added the $75 first-place prize money from the Festival of Trees to the Bucket money they’d earned for their good school work and their great thinking. The December projects totaled $180. We learned about our first project, Wreaths Across America, from our Veteran’s Day speaker, Anthony Knaack’s grandpa. We bought a wreath, which Anthony placed on a veteran’s grave at the special ceremony near Des Moines. Megan Blohm has started Operation Warm Kids at G-R Elementary; we sent a donation to help buy needed mittens and hats. With the early arrival of the Ragsdale Twins, we knew many trips would be made to Iowa City, so we sent a Casey’s card to the Ragsdales. (We also have increased our collection of pop-tabs for the Ronald McDonald House - because that’s where Mrs. Ragsdale is staying. Save those pop- tabs!) Because it’s Christmas time, one donation went to Toys-for-Tots. And the California fire victims — we’d discussed the fires during Nose-for-News, and the 4-B Kids wanted to help the victims. With the help of Joan McGrady-Beach, we found a reliable California organization to send our check. Before you read this, the 4-B Kids will have read the thank you sent, on behalf of the families, by the Presbytery of Sacramento: “We were all so happy to receive the sweet gift of $60 you sent us from your classroom Bucket. We will use it to help kids your age whose families’ homes burned in the Camp Fire in Paradise, CA. … you are the only school class that has sent us a gift. You are great kids, and your gift will help make this the best possible Christmas for kids who have lost so much … Keep working to reach more goals, so that your Bucket can help other people in the months ahead.” Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” 175 years ago. I think the 4-B Kids understand when Dickens wrote, “I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.” The 4-B Kids fill my heart with pride.


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