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Murfreesboro Candlelight Christmas
Pics, Video & Column by Tim Flanagan
A Candlelight Memory
When you no longer count time in years, but days. The scale of life tips forever in one direction. Does it matter how we live our life in the end? Of course, it does! It is a bond that ties many religions and cultures together. It is Thursday afternoon, and it was the night before candlelight Christmas. The work day was over, it was time to double check the lighting for turning on Christmas here at the Flanagan House Bed & Breakfast. A knock at the front door, our guest must have arrived. Teresa had mentioned an older man coming in with a sad story and a promise to fulfil. That was when we were introduced to Mr. Lee, our guest. Disheveled and unkept with a suitcase in tow! With the drive having tired him, Mr. Lee did not make it to his room right off. He sat on the day sofa in the B & B den, and proceeded to talk Teresa’s ear off for about an hour. A fly on the wall doing his own thing, which included listening. Mr. Lee’s story was sad at first, or not, in a melancholy kind of way. Mr. Lee made the journey to keep a promise to his wife who recently past! The love he had for this woman was truly surreal. His wife of fifty years had planned this trip to our little town, and our tradition of candlelight Christmas, and he was hell bent to see that wish to fruition.
It was Friday afternoon and the Inn was a buzz with activity for the holiday excitement of creating your own Christmas experience! Taking that creation and adding it to the historic beauty and charm of Murfreesboro and its exquisite historic district, which serves as the back drop to a wonderful experience. Of course, he was not told, but Mr. Lee had eyes on him to make sure he made it through the tour in one piece. Mr. Lee is just shy of ninety years old. He is tired. He is alone. His family is not stepping up. It takes a village to assist the elderly! That is exactly what happened! Mr. Lee, just before 4 PM ventured across Main Street to visit the Walter Reed House as his first stop on this important adventure! According to Walter Reed House docent Susan Deets, Mr. Lee got there early, seemed a little confused, and wanted to find a group he could walk along with. Mrs. Deets being the welcoming and helpful person we all know her to be took great care. She listened to his stories while she worked along. She got him set up with the bus tour and ready to go. However, Mr. Lee didn’t understand the plans exactly and left the Reed site, and headed on his way to the next site. Fortunately, those diligent eyes came to bare, and Mr. Lee was converged on by Audrey from the Murfreesboro Historic Association, and Teresa Flanagan who was watching from across the street. After a bit of conversation Mr. Lee was guided by Audrey’s kind hands back to the group, and off to the next site. Somewhere along the line Paige got her hands on him, and orchestrated Mr. Lee’s journey and company. Thanks Paige! Thanks to many not mentioned here, pretty sure more people are involved in this story than this writer is aware of.
Mr. Lee and Steve the golf cart driver could be the title to what happens next! With understandable fatigue setting in, Mr. Lee was handed from his group to Steve the golf cart driver, and together they visited the sites, where Mr. Lee was never shy on conversation, or stories from his long life as a husband and a doctor. Stories he gladly shared with any ear that stopped to listen, or was stopped to listen. It was four and a half hours after Mr. Lee first left the bed and breakfast, so of course we are starting to be concerned! Not really knowing of the above events transpiring, we were worried he might have got lost or hurt. Looking up and down the street, my wife, where is she? Teresa had already trekked over to the Murfree Center, the dinner building for the tour, and low and behold she found our esteemed guest jawing it up and making friends along the way! So, some warm goodbyes, a few hand shakes and Mr. Lee was driven back to his home for the night, all the while reminiscing about his past and the night. A fulfilled and happy man sat in the passenger seat that night. Mr. Lee shared a thank you to all who helped and cared for him during candlelight…“He enjoyed being in our town, and he loved how the village came together to make this night so special for him”! He sat and talked for a bit after getting back to the b & b, he was tired, he was content, and he wanted a bed and some happy thoughts for a peaceful sleep. So, the next morning, with a suitcase in tow, he left the same way he came! Disheveled and unkept, Mr. Lee got in his dented and scraped up car and left for home. Gone! A memory to cherish for this year’s candlelight Christmas here in Murfreesboro. We did a nice thing! Pass it forward…