Visit with Harry RecapJuly 06, 2009 by Victoria Strong
I would be lying if I didn't admit that I am thoroughly depressed after leaving Harry. I always feel this way after leaving him, although this time it is worse. He is truly remarkable. And I adore him. He has been an enormous influence in my life and I know I am fortunate for that.
We had a wonderful visit with him...simply wonderful. And I know he did with us, too. He seemed invigorated by seeing Gwendolyn and he basked in the attention (he and Gwendolyn are such hams!). We did a whole lot of talking and we remained entranced by his every word...including Gwendolyn. She was so enthralled with him and although she spent more time in her stroller than usual, as long as she could see Harry, she was happy. It was amazing to see him hold her (a difficult feat for much younger and stronger arms); he was so comfortable and relaxed and so was she. She stayed in his arms longer than she has stayed in the arms of anyone.
I also love seeing Harry and Bill interact. Bill is in absolute awe of Harry and really appreciates him, which means so much to me. And Harry is always quick to tell me that I have a "good man on my hands". Bill and Harry spent some time alone and I love to eavesdrop. One of my favorites was when Harry told Bill (about me), "She's a feisty one..." Bill laughed and said, "I know, that's one of the things I love most about her. She keeps me on my toes and I'm a very lucky man." To which Harry responded, "Yes you are, but she is lucky, too." I love that!!!
On Sunday morning we had one last extra special event occur. Bob Herrington, newly elected mayor of Palestine, Texas, and his wife Ronda drove all the way from Palestine to Vicksburg, Mississippi (over 5 hours) on the morning after a busy 4th of July schedule to meet Harry in person and present him with a "Distinguished Citizen" certificate on behalf of the city of Palestine. The Mayor read an official proclamation about why Harry deserves this award with the quote, "You can take the man out of Palestine, but you can't take Palestine out of the man" -- Harry loved that. Mayor Herrington gave Harry an official city-sealed certificate, as well as a Palestine hat, mug, and an honorary police badge to Harry's delight -- always a child at heart! Ronda is also a member of the Palestine Rotary and she brought Harry a gift from his old club. Harry was thrilled, simply thrilled. He was in full story mode for his guests and I loved seeing him so excited. He even told a few anecdotes I had never heard, such as having to use a match to light the headlights on the first family car. Bill and I also received our official city proclamation making us "Honorary Citizens" of Palestine. I loved that Mayor Herrington made it all very official and special for Harry.
We will not forget this trip -- ever! It was so good for all of us and it was even more than we imagined. It truly was a dream come true for our family to be able to unite Gwendolyn with Harry.
5,000 miles driven. Over 15 newspaper articles written, four nightly news segments aired, and two radio interviews broadcast. theGSF's first official fundraiser. Over $44,000 raised.