Connie Brown told the following “Jackie Schulz” story during the Kiwanis dinner on Tuesday, Jan. 9:

After New Year’s 2010, Jackie came in to get some ice cream and asked me how our Christmas was. I recounted to my friend the story of our failed Christmas tree. We bought a tree that was too fat to fit through the door without shearing it of most of the needles. We even fought to get the now near-naked tree to stay up in the tree stand. Once we finally had it up, we went to the basement to retrieve the ornaments and lights only to remember that they were all ruined in the floods the summer before. I told her about how we made the best of it by making construction paper ornaments and an aluminum foil star along with our one remaining strand of lights. So proud of our “make it work” Christmas moment, we went to take a picture of the kids in front of the tree and, just then, the entire tree fell over. The lights flickered out and the water in the tree stand ruined all the handmade paper ornaments. I laughed about how it turned out to be the most beautiful Christmas our family had ever had with no money, no decorated tree, and so many hurdles.

Well, Jackie published this Brown Family Christmas story in the paper and, for the next month, neighbors and customers were bringing in ornaments off of their own trees for our family. The generosity and kindness of our community was overwhelming. I think about each of them and about Jackie every Christmas when I pull out all these beautiful ornaments for our tree.

Connie Brown

Forest Park