Roy Exum: ‘Share Your Christmas’ On Friday

Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Years ago, as I stood in the morning cold at Ross’s Landing to take part in my very first “Share Your Christmas” effort with the WRCB news team, Bill Markham was the anchor of the 6 o’clock news and he darn nearly ruined my day. He and I were talking about sports and girls and cold toes when suddenly he said, “Wanna’ know a secret?”

With Bill you wanted to know everything that swirled in his daffy brain so as I leaned in to hear his whisper, Markham’s face grew as soft as his voice. “Today you are going to see that poor people give more than rich people do.” I asked how could that be and Bill said only, “You’ll see …”

Just before that morning’s first light all the cars started coming. Bill, Cindy Sexton, Paul Barys, David Carroll , Jed Mescon, Tamara Lister and a host of others thanked the drivers while UTC fraternity guys, volunteers wearing Christmas togs, and Sunday School classes helped carry everything for one can of sliced peaches to literally cases of canned goods to trucks for the Chattanooga Area Food Bank.

By 11 o’clock or so … I remember it was still before lunch … I could no longer look at Markham. He was right and I was just overcome by the puzzling phenomenon. I mean there were battered cars in line, bearing sacks of rice and corn meal and canned goods that would last long after the holidays.

When a homeless guy wandered up and handed Cindy Sexton $10.31, I had to race inside the RV, my allergies suddenly making my eyes water something fierce.

The reason poor people give the most when times are flush is because they can’t forget the feeling that was once the wolf back when things were thin. Please understand, a lot of great people support the Food Bank with donations but when you see what comes out of a run-down pickup truck,  it's pretty easy to recognize one man’s sacrifice is every bit as earnest as any other.

By the next “Share Your Christmas” I was ready. The first thing I did was tell my buddy Bill to keep his secrets to himself; I am such a sap when I see giving hearts up close. Trust me, literally thousands of people take part in the annual WRCB extravaganza. It is so wonderful around noon when the line of cars swell and you realize people are taking their lunch break to bring food to the event. And when a little girl on crutches with spina bifida wanted to meet the glorious Cindy Sexton and personally give the TV celebrity the small sack of food that has been tied to her right crutch – oh, those darn allergies.

Please consider this as your invitation to take part in “Share Your Christmas” this Friday but note that it has been moved away from the waterfront to the First Tennessee Pavilion next to Finley Stadium. There is an easy drive-thru and a bunch of police volunteer each year to make sure you can move through quickly. The day begins at 4:30 a.m. for those who want to give their groceries on their way to work or school and continues until 6 p.m.

Further, there are bins at Bi-Lo and Publix where non-perishable food and/or monetary donations can be made and there will be satellite teams at two other locations for convenience; LifeCare’s Campbell campus in Cleveland and First Baptist Church in Dalton.

Sadly, recent cuts to the Food Stamp program have created a greater strain on the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, which already helps 20,000 people in our community every week. Every year a number of donations in both cash and checks are accepted by Chattanooga Area Food Bank officials at the WRCB event and receipts are provided. If everyone will simply do their part to make “Share Your Christmas” a success this year, we’ll have a record amount for those less fortunate this winner.

But, remember this, give like you are poor, that you remember the wolf and what it was like once things brightened up.

* * *

THE 24TH ANNUAL Merv’s Christmas Party, the traditional gathering founded by Signal Mountain’s Jim Bach and Richard Wagner, will be held at the popular hamburger haven on Thursday, Dec. 12, from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. The fun-filled event features a huge money bowl where donations to the Community Kitchen are collected (all checks are tax-deductible) and the fun crowd makes this truly a holiday classic.

To get to Merv’s, take the Signal Mountain exit off I-24 and follow Signal Mountain Boulevard past the Walmart until, at the foot of the mountain, you’ll come to a stop light that says Mountain Creek Road. Take a right, go a couple of blocks and you can’t miss it. Merv’s will be on the left.

And if you’d rather go for lunch or on a different night, the restaurant will accept early donations for the Community Kitchen.

royexum@aol.com


Sharing The Blame, Offering A Promise

Sharing the blame and offering a promise lets most of us off the hook but gives all pause to think about what is written here today.   Ferguson, Selma, Oakland, Los Angeles and so many other cities that have been affected by riot. Not by white people but by black. Why, everyone should be asking? Let's talk about why but in order to do that we must go back 150 years or so ... (click for more)

Bright Lights At Hamilton Place Mall

Our area has been blessed with new signs beaming with the new Light Emitting Diode technology lately. Most of these signs have been a great addition to the local landscape. I enjoy reading the scrolling ads or the upcoming classes/events at the local churches, schools and businesses. These signs are great. But, LEDs are capable of being very, very bright. They can get so bright, ... (click for more)

2 People Critically Injured In North Chattanooga House Fire

For the second time in three days, a house fire has resulted in tragedy. At 10:13 a.m. on WednesdayChattanooga firefighters were dispatched to a reported house fire with entrapment at 220 Houser Street. The first firefighters on the scene saw flames shooting out windows and part of the roof. Having been told that people might still be inside, the firefighters grabbed hand-held hose ... (click for more)

Kiser Post-Conviction Hearing To Resume April 6

A post-conviction hearing in which Marlon Duane Kiser is seeking a new trial in the 2001 slaying of Deputy Donald Bond will resume April 6. Attorneys for Kiser, who is on Death Row, said they have additional witnesses to call. Kiser on Tuesday took the witness stand for the first time, blaming the killing on the man he was living with at the time - Mike Chattin. Chattin, who ... (click for more)

Maston, Cameron Power Tyner Past Hixson, 69-60

When Darren Maston transferred from Ooltewah to Tyner prior to last season, he was a role player on a team that had eight talented, experienced seniors. Now, Maston is being asked to fill an expanded role as a scorer and leader. He did both rather well Tuesday night as Tyner opened the 2014-15 season with a 69-60 District 6-AA victory over Hixson on the Wildcats’ floor. ... (click for more)

Unbeaten Soddy Daisy Rolls Past Rhea County

The Soddy Daisy Trojans remained unbeaten after four games in basketball, including Tuesday night's 70-31 romp over the visiting Rhea County Golden Eagles, but please keep in mind that Rhea County is still playing football and at least seven regulars on the basketball court are still trying to win a state title on the gridiron. Preston Pugh scored on a layup with 6:39 to play ... (click for more)