Give holiday thanks

Published 6:33 am Wednesday, December 10, 2008

By By MaryClaire Foster
After my column came out last week, I told myself I had to quit being such a sap and man up and not talk about feelings.
I can’t help it though. I have feelings, and lots of them, add that with the holidays, and I’m a goner.
I’m not going around crying all the time, but this time of year just gets to me, seeing all the good it brings out in people, it moves me.
Take Saturday for instance.
You would think hanging out with the LA Bikers would have helped me toughen up a bit, but they are as big of softies as anyone.
The Toys for Tots bike ride was a great experience, and I think I was smiling as big as any of the kids there, watching them open presents.
One kid in particular got to me. As a photographer, you want to capture the most emotion possible, so my mindset in those situations is to always seek it out. I heard a bunch of excitement from one direction and headed over to see this boy, about 7 years old, tearing into his presents.
There he was, paper flying, oblivious to the crowd watching him with a huge toothy grin on his face yelling out, “Wow, this is awesome, oh my gosh I love it! Yes! Yes!” and then, “Wait, what is it?”
I swear that kid did that five times. Everything he opened was just as good and as exciting as the last, who cared what they were, they were gifts, and more importantly gifts for him. Just having something was all that mattered.
It really was an awesome experience.
Later that same day, I headed to Little River State Forest. I had heard some talk that the park might be closing and there was an informational meeting scheduled.
When I got there, I quickly found out that, no, the park isn’t closing, and actually they’re working to improve it.
Representatives from the Alabama Hiking Trail Society and from a group of mountain bikers in Atmore were there to discuss what they wanted to see happen with the park.
I’ll be honest, I had no idea how big the park was or that there was even a lake there. Unfortunately, I was unable to explore while I was there, but I plan to as soon as possible. Having a place like this just down the road is a wonderful benefit for the community but also one that’s being forgotten.
It happens everywhere. Natural resources, and not gas or water, but a community resource like this become commonplace and we forget to use them. Plus, these days it seems like everyone is so busy we forget to go outside.
There was talk at the meeting about organizing a Little River appreciation day. I think this sounds like a great idea.
In the meantime, visit the Web site and watch a cool video from the construction of the park.
MaryClaire Foster is news editor for the Atmore Advance. She can be reached at 368-2123 or via email at

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