It was just before Thanksgiving 1980, and my older Brother, Gunnery Sgt. Roy Lee Payne, Jr. and his wife and two children were coming in from California to spend about a week, maybe ten days with all of us for the Christmas holiday. We were all excited, because he hadn’t seen some of his nieces and nephews who were toddlers and we hadn’t seen his son, our nephew, who was toddling, too. We planned a big dinner and presents galore. Cameras with film back then, were bought and ready and so were we. Roy had spoken with our mom I think the first week of November and said, “Ma, we should be there by December 23rd,” I believe. She let the rest of us know when he planned to be in town.
At about 1:45 a.m. on November 17, 1980, my doorbell rang and it was my two brothers-in-law. They had come to get me and my daughter and we all went to mom and dad’s house. When we got there, we found out that Roy had been killed by a drunk driver the afternoon before, November 16, 1980. He was 30 years old. I don’t remember Christmas time that year. I really don’t, but it still came. What I found out in the subsequent years is that Christmastime still came and families still gathered and enjoyed this wonderful time of the year. Guess what, Christmastime is coming this year, too. Take the memories of your loved ones who are gone and those who remain and treasure them this Christmas. Don’t miss the opportunity to include all and I mean all your loved ones in your 2015 Christmas holiday. IT’S CHRISTMASTIME AGAIN.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
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