Community News

Christmas dinner at the VFW

Veterans attending the Christmas dinner, from left, front, Glenn Wardrop, Lloyd Albritton, Billy Gates (holding a picture of Raymond Norris), Hoover Brown, Mike Hanks, Harold Madison; middle, Thomas Qualls, Abby Brooks, Jim Biggs, Randy Dortch, Willie Wilson; back, Richard Keesler, Shawn Rounsavall, Marcus Stewart, Jacob Maholovich.
A place for Raymond Norris

News Staff Writer

There are some things you just know when you’re going to the VFW Christmas party every year. The food will be good. The fellowship will be sweet. And the Dirty Santa game will be fun.
But it was a little different this year – still good, sweet and fun – but different. There was an empty chair at the VFW Christmas dinner Monday night, December 3. Raymond Norris, who was always the life of the party, passed away in January at age 98, but there was a place for him at the table in his memory.
If you’re not familiar with the Dirty Santa game, the rules are simple – you can keep a gift you’ve selected or you can “steal” someone else’s gift. If anyone came around to steal Mr. Norris’ gift, he would sometimes be very vocal, sometimes even threatening the would-be “thief” with his cane – especially if he had flashlights. He always wanted to keep flashlights. It was all in good fun.
Monday night, VFW Commander Billy Gates had a chair for Mr. Norris. His picture was there, along with a small top hat with a redbird perched on it – the redbird being a symbol of an angel. And in front of the chair was a small flashlight.