Letter: A Christmas Dinner Miracle

To the Editor:

There is an angel in our midst, and we met him at the Sacred Heart Church Christmas Day dinner in Lebanon. Al Michalovic, angel at large, has orchestrated this event for the last 18 years.

When we responded to the advertisement for volunteers in the Valley News, little did we know that we would experience a Christmas miracle.

We arrived a little before 10, received our name badges, and assignments to be servers at Table 5. Over 25 tables spanned the hall, each with 10 chairs and place settings. More than a hundred poinsettias donated by Long Acres Nursery were being hurried down the basement stairs, and the place bustled with dozens of workers busily cooking, arranging tables, making coffee, slicing turkey, mashing potatoes, and setting out servings of freshly sliced pies, desserts and homemade cookies. The fully engaged and smiling crews tended to assigned or self-evident tasks. What a sight!

Next came coordination of the meals-on-wheels to be taken to dinner guests who could not make it out. As Al called out the names of each delivery crew from the pre-labeled boxes, hundreds of meals were sent on their way. It all happened fluidly and without a hitch.

Next, was another amazing spectacle. Without issue, in an organized and cordial fashion, hundreds of guests were served a hot turkey dinner with all the fixings, with Al saying Grace, bidding a Happy Birthday to Ernie (the cook extraordinaire) followed by hearty round of Happy Birthday to You.

Afterward, food, desserts and poinsettias were handed out to guests as they said Merry Christmas, goodbye and thank you. A thorough cleaning of everything ensued. Tables and hundreds of chairs were cleaned and folded down to store.

We left at 4 p.m., tired but happy that we were able to share the holiday with so many who were so grateful.

Thank you, Al Michalovic, for a wonderful Christmas and the opportunity to witness your humility, kindness and compassion. Thank you for being a light at this Christmas meal and for the last 18 years.

Cathy and Don Ayres