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Christmas comes to Fair Oaks

Photo by Ethelyn Pearson Jean Kleen got a visit from her son and his wife, James and Kellie Kleen, from Pooler, Ala.

A fine new crop of Christmas sayings joined the better-known ones this year. A few of them are:

• "The best present is a happy family under a tree, all wrapped up in each other."

• "Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of a child, they are all 30 feet tall."

• "There has been only one Christmas. The rest are anniversaries."

• "He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree."

• Norman Vincent Peale said, "Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."

How pleased I am that I was on hand to witness it when Christmas arrived for our quiet little Jean Kleen. It was when her son and his wife, James and Kellie Kleen from Pooler, Ala., walked through her door that Christmas for Jean really started.

Jean was born in 1932 in Minneapolis. She graduated from high school there, then moved to the Bertha area in 1971. She married Bud Kleen, a mechanic. After his discharge from the Army, Bud was hired by airlines, then became the owner of the eight buses for the Bertha school.

Bud and Jean had three children.

Jean's two interests aside from her family were music and her special riding horse. Jean was especially interested in chorale music. She played piano for big chorale choirs. She was also the pianist for the Church of God in Bertha for many years.

Now Jean putters with things that catch her interest and going to programs and movies that are offered. However, it is her family that really turns on the lights for Jean.

James remembers that his mom liked to be busy. She was always where she could help with what was going on in Bertha, especially her church, and most especially if music was going to be part of it.

Residents often find former neighbors and friends at Fair Oaks Lodge, just as Jean and Sis Harlow were neighbors in Bertha, they are here.

There is no way to express how much visiting family and friends for folks under our big roof really puts the shine on Christmas for them. We never outgrow the need or the feeling that, although we may not be on the everyday scene anymore, we have not been forgotten.

We thank the church choirs who have taken time to come and sing in our halls. An extra dividend is the mini-visits that take place when a choir member spots a resident they know.

In 1816, in Austria, Josef Mohr hurriedly penned "Silent Night," and it was sung a capella because mice had chewed out vital parts in the organ. He would be surprised to learn that it was still the world's favorite hymn 200 years later, translated in many languages. Music wasn't added until 1820 by Franz Gruber.