Editors Corner: Kim Hasty
Her husband John called in August, urgency in his voice. And so Amy Rester got busy. “It’s been chaos,” she said. “But it wasn’t ever a question of whether we would do it.”
John Rester had forged a close bond with a man who, with the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, was now a refugee. The man and his family, 14 displaced souls in all, were fleeing their conflicted homeland and heading for sanctuary in the United States with the help of Task Pineapple Express volunteers. For this family, sanctuary was awaiting in southwest Fayetteville in the Rester home.
With the holidays just around the corner, Amy pondered how to fit 14 more people into her family of five. Then she began moving the furniture and then moving the furniture some more. She shoved the dining room table out of the way. The living room furniture was moved aside as well.
“Hey,” she said, “we needed space for beds.”
We try our very best this time of the year. For the love of our loved ones, we aim for a season of twinkling, glowing perfection. Just the right presents, shopped for with care and wrapped with crisp corners and glistening bows. Placed under perfect trees trimmed in shiny spheres in matching hues and hundreds of twinkling lights. A dining room table set with fine china, polished candlesticks and silverware placed just so in accordance with Emily Post, Martha Stewart or whoever is setting the standard for such things these days.
Aromas of cinnamon and cloves, sage and rosemary wafting from the kitchen. Traditions, in the kitchen, in the pews, by the fireplace. Amy and John Rester love all those pretty holiday trimmings and all those family traditions as much as anyone. Yet, there they were in early September, shoving aside the furniture so that people from a different culture, a different language would have a soft place to lay their weary heads. They recently have helped the family rent a house right across the street.
Traditions? It turns out that the ones that really matter have little to do with shiny ornaments or gifts ordered ahead of tight shipping deadlines.
“We don’t do this for thanks,” Amy said. “We do it to show our kids and their kids what matters. It’s been amazing. We still eat dinner with them every night. We consider them family.”
That innkeeper of long ago could find no room in the Bethlehem inn for the holy family.
But here in southwest Fayetteville, there was room. The beds had to be set up in the dining room and the living room, but there was room. And a brand-new set of family traditions setting the stage for generations to come.