Tidings of Comfort and Joy!

By Roy Cook

Good cheer and good news is a great way to bring electricity to a gathering. Saturday afternoon, December 16, 2006, Church Hall at 4650 Mansfield Ave. Randy Edmonds introduced Gary Wabaunsee MPH, Prairie Potawatomi from Oklahoma and the new director of the American Indian Clinic on 1st Ave. Gary said, “All Indians will receive the services that they deserve and need! No more sliding scale fees for services.” This is a change from the previous program and good news for our urban Indian community. Many have been going to the Tribal reservation clinics for needed services. Some have been doing without or if qualified sought Veterans benefits.

Randy Edmonds gives a great speech in the best American Indian community oral tradition. He is again our very professional Emcee for the gathering. Ron Christman in Tipai and English provides the Spiritual blessing for all our relations.

Recalling the entertainment and so many familiar faces that were there this afternoon bring a smile to my round, brown, well fed face. Next, Flautist Brandon Wallace and the Native talk storytellers filled in that time before the elders were called up to the buffet tables. The winter gathering organizer Paula Brim again provided many sparkling decorations.

The San Diego Tribal Chairman Escondido office of the Urban TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) had an information table and staff to answer questions about services. We thank the organizations for their financial assistance. Without the volunteers and many groups these gatherings would be very difficult to accomplish.

Our beloved Elders are called to line up and the Bearheel Singers take the stage for some special songs. Tickets were distributed for the gift prizes later in the afternoon.
The Indian Education Kids Corner children kept coming back to their family with their decorated Xmas stocking. Also organized by the Indian Education project is the Holiday Bake off contest with a $100 winner takes all.

The kitchen keeps bring out steaming dishes of hot turkey and ham and the potluck side dishes are added to the tables. Raffles for gift certificates, special senior gift awards, and Holiday gifts for all children age groups were running simultaniously. All, who were there on time, were fed to their fullest! About forty-five minutes later the desserts were placed out for all to select and indulge. Many extra tables and chairs were not enough to receive the overwhelming response. The hall was pulsating with joy and good cheer. It was so tangible that it seemed to be straining the walls and ceiling. My best guesstiment is three-fifty to four hundred enjoyed our Winter Gathering.

Even the weather was cooperative. All the media weather people had been predicting rain this weekend. Our good weather fortune held for hours past the event. We were home, safe and dry when the cloudburst began plinking music on the metal chimney covers and splashing outside as vehicles speed past in the party going and shopping night. Merry Xmas to all and to all a good night!