Patient Referral
Gift of a Day Feature Story June 2013

Gift of a Day

We develop unique plans of care that include a Gift of a Day, our special program inspired by author Jim Stovall’s popular book “The Ultimate Gift.” Since its inception, we have helped thousands of hospice patients experience the perfect day. That day is based on the question: “If you had one perfect day, what would it look like?” Our staff members, volunteers and local businesses work together to bring these perfect days to life for our hospice patients.

A Tribute ‘Do-Si-Do’ By The Cardinal Squares

Square dancing was all the rage in many parts of the U.S. in the early part of the 20th century (its roots stretch back to 15th-century Europe), but has since lost some of its followers. Even so, die-hard dancer, 79-year-old Gene Markel is still hankering to ‘do-si-do.’ Gene spent most of his adult life swinging partners round and round as one of the original Cardinal Squares, a traveling square dance group that still performs modern western square dance to tunes by surprising artists like Lady Gaga.

undefinedGene, now confined to a wheelchair and cared for by Crossroads, was painfully missing this connection to his younger days when he spent his free time skip-stepping to country music beats with his favorite dance partners – his wife and kids. His familiar smile starting to slip from his face, it was time for a good ’ol fashioned hoedown!

Crossroads invited the Cardinal Squares to help. Sure thing, they said in a heartbeat. In total, 16 dancers promenaded flamboyantly into the room! Crossroads transformed the social hall where Gene lived into an authentic western bar – complete with a barn door, cowboy hats and bandanas. The stage was set.

undefinedGene arrived, took one look around at his family, friends and former square dance group all gathered in his honor … well, it flat-out knocked his socks off! The dancers performed for more than 45 minutes, even teaching Gene’s adorable 2-year-old great-grandson a few moves. He stole the show but to everyone’s amusement.

undefinedThe best part for Gene was being able to share something that’s not as fashionable today but still such a part of him with his family. Gene’s toes were tapping, his upper body mirroring the call outs – ‘circle left!’ … ‘chassè!’ – and his weathered face found its smile again. His daughter’s eyes, brimmed with tears, absorbed everything as she committed every precious two-step to memory.