Good morning! We hope you are receiving our 2018 WWAD Holiday Newsletter in very good health.
Here in Walkland, it’s a beautiful morning and we are all smiling as we gather around the fireplace. Everyone is warm and happy. Bryan and Jessica are smiling next to Rachael and they’re sharing a great memory. Our hearts are full and we are overwhelmed with how fortunate we have been.
There’s an abundance of big, warm sugar cookies and glasses of cold milk. We’re about to listen to Walter, an accomplished baritone who serves as a dedicated volunteer in our mail room. He’s ready to address our team in what has now become a Walk with a Doc tradition. The room is full and comfortable. Walter has the most impressive voice; immediately putting us at ease.
“Thank you Walter. Whenever you’re ready.”
“You sure you’re done David? <awkward pause>
“Even a little more long-winded this morning than usual – aren’t we Dr. Walkman?” <slightly less awkward pause>. He turns to face our family.
Poised directly in front of the crackling hearth, Walter clears his throat and confidently surveys the room. His words are methodical and resonant.
“Good morning all. Many of you are familiar with Chris Van Allsburg’s book, The Polar Express. For those new to the story, a boy, Billy, is magically transported via Polar Express to the North Pole. Here, Santa and the elves are about to give the first gift of Christmas. Billy is offered anything in the world, yet he chooses a very simple gift, a bell off Santa’s sleigh. Santa nods his head, cuts the bell from a reindeer’s harness, and gives it to Billy. The delighted boy slips it into his bathrobe pocket. As the clock strikes midnight, the reindeer pulls the sleigh high up into the sky.
As the children return to the train, Billy realizes the bell has fallen through a hole in his pocket and is now lost. He is heartbroken as he returns home.
The following morning, under the tree among the other presents, his little sister finds a small box with Billy’s name on it. Inside is the silver bell. Billy and his sister are enchanted by its beautiful sound, but, surprisingly, their parents cannot hear it.
Billy continues to believe in the spirit of Christmas and is able to hear the ringing of the bell even as an adult.
To us, you are the child who asked for the silver bell. You realize that the life we dream of is right in front of us. All we have to do is look and listen. You have a special awareness of the almost miraculous benefits of simply going for a walk.
That awareness is the silver bell. That awareness is why we are so proud to have you as an ambassador of our Walk with a Doc family.
Walter bows his head, gently closes the book, and quietly steps away from the fireplace.
Thirteen years ago we started coming together for these walks. We knew we could connect, get in shape, learn something, and share the dream of making it easier for others to do the same. Today our family has 455 chapters and together we are growing.
Yes, of course we’re happy, we’re lowering blood pressures, eliminating heart disease, dropping blood sugars, fighting off cancers, and so much more than that. Most importantly, we’re happy.
We are specifically grateful to you and we thank you for being a member of the family.
Our very best wishes to you this holiday season. We cannot wait to continue alongside you in 2019. Our State of the Walk address is coming on January 1st, please leave a light on.
David, Rachael, Bryan and Jessica