Every year at the first of December my wife decides it’s time to decorate for Christmas. Once we begin, we don’t stop until it’s all done. From talking to my buddies, I’ve decided all wives go to the same school when it comes to that. I do have to admit, it really looks nice and always gives me a warm feeling when we’re done. My job every year is to hang about forty wreaths along the split-rail fence that goes along our quarter-mile long driveway. One morning I wandered down to check out my work and lost my Christmas spirit when I discovered someone had taken the last two wreaths closest to the road. The more I thought about it the madder I got. Everyone knows when you go to bed thinking bad thoughts, you usually have nightmares. Around two in the morning I woke up with a voice from the past in my head. Mamaw Patterson’s voice floated through my head reminding me of something that happened when I was a kid. Over the summer I had worked really hard cutting and stacking her kindling wood for the winter next to the road. One morning on the walk up to her house I discovered someone had taken every single stick of it. When I told her what had happened, I expected her to be mad, but she surprised me. She just smiled and said, “Buck (that’s what she always called me), they must have needed it more than I did.” It stopped me in my tracks and the memory of her soft voice gave me a warm glow I hadn’t felt in a very long time. I’m not sure I believe anyone needed my wreaths more than my fence posts did, but I am appreciative of the memory they brought back from my childhood experiences with my Mamaw.
Raland J. Patterson earned his MBA with an emphasis in finance from National University. For the past 18 years he worked as a financial planner.
The last six were spent as Regional Vice-President in Europe, responsible for 20 different offices located in seven countries. He served in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot from 1970-1971 with the First Cavalry Division.
When he retired from the Army as a Lt. Colonel, he had logged 22 years of active duty. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bronze Star with One Oak Leaf Cluster, and 14 air medals, among other awards.
After travelling extensively, he now lives in his hometown of Blue Ridge, Georgia. He brings an insiders knowledge of detailed military protocol and experience along with small town American values.