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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas Chuck from Hock

Since moving to North Carolina I've had the opportunity to get to know Chuck a lot better and have really enjoyed the time we've been able to spend with him and his family.  While thinking about Chuck there were a couple of obvious ways that I could think of in which to serve.

Anyone who has gone to visit Chuck or traveled with him can attest to the fact that Chuck was born to be a tour guide.  I can't recall a trip I've ever taken with Chuck, in which he was not prepared with all of the key facts about the area we were visiting.  I've also seen firsthand the enjoyment he receives from taking visitors around Richmond to see all of the important sights of that historic city.
Here are a few of our favorite pictures from different trips to Richmond to visit Ashley and Chuck.
With this in mind I looked into volunteering with the U.S. National Park Service or joining a local historical society in the Triangle.  This would help me to learn more about the area in which I live, and enable me to give our guests a "Chuck Gates Caliber Tour" when they come to town.  Unfortunately, there are not any volunteer positions with the National Parks Service available nor any worthwhile historical societies in the area that I can join.

Another obvious way to serve Chuck is to do something related to politics.  However, I didn't feel good about that because being politically active is something I would do anyway.  I felt like doing that would be a bit of a copout.  I really wanted to do something that would help me to better understand/appreciate Chuck, and stretch myself beyond something I would ordinarily do.

I was feeling a bit stumped as to the best way to serve Chuck, until Lani, the kids, and I recently took a trip to Richmond to visit Chuck, Ashley, and their family.  While visiting with Chuck and Ashley one night we began to talk about their neighborhood.  I was amazed and quite impressed at how well Chuck knew each of his neighbors.  Not only did he know their names, but he knew details about them.  While listening to him talk, I was embarrassed to realize that I only knew the names of three of my neighbors, and could only speak in detail about one of them on a personal level.  Lani and I have been talking for awhile about how we need to be better neighbors, and after talking with Chuck it became clear that now is the time to act.

Through the inspiration of Chuck and in honor of him this Christmas Season, I have become a better neighbor.  This week I made plates of fudge and cookies to take to nine of my neighbors.  I then took Lani and the kids around the neighborhood to introduce our family and deliver our treats.

The kids and I had a lot of fun making fudge and cookies.  The fudge eventually got hard to stir, so we took the opportunity to play "Sword in the Stone" which is what the bottom right is a picture of.

We had a great experience.  Houston and Hadley helped me knock on each door and to explain that we wanted to introduce ourselves and deliver them some Christmas treats.  It was funny to watch the faces of each neighbor change.  Each one had a puzzled/suspicious look when they answered the door (the kind of look you give a door-to-door salesmen), but after hearing why were there, their faces changed and each of them were clearly touched.  It was a neat feeling to see their expression change, when they realized we were only there to introduce ourselves and to be friends.  Several of them suggested that we get together for dinner or a couples outing, and some of them even expressed an interest in babysitting.  Lani and I are excited to further develop these relationships, and are grateful to Chuck for the example that he and Ashley have set within their neighborhood.

Houston and Hadley were both really excited to make new friends.   One of our neighbors invited us in to chat, and Houston made himself right at home, opening up their fridge and helping himself to some milk (which was actually coffee creamer), we used that as an opportunity to discuss manners in other people's homes.  Both Houst and Hadley were real troopers until about 8:00pm, when they both had meltdows. 
Chuck, the more I have gotten to know you the more I have grown to respect you.  You are a good man, a great father, and a terrific priesthood holder.  I am grateful to be a member of your family and for the fine example you set.  Merry Christmas.  Love Hock


  1. Thank you so much Hock! I am touched that you took the chance to meet your neighbors. I hope you find a few that you can become good friends with.

    I am so glad that you came on the recent trip! It was really fun to have you guys, even for a quick 1-nighter. I have to remember that a few short trips can be even more fun than one big one.

  2. Great pictures! My favorite - the "sword in the stone". I'm so glad that you came to visit us. We love our neighbors, some of them I know we will be friends with even if we or they move away. This is a great service in honor of Chuck. He loves chatting with our neighbors all the time.

  3. My favorite picture is of the 2 kids laying on the cement because they are so tired but still enjoying meeting our new friends. Thanks for the good example and inspiration Chuck, i dont think we would have done it without the example you set. Great idea sweetheart.