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Gift of a Day Feature Story August 2015
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God Bless America and God Bless Marlene

Nothing says summer more than watermelon. Crossroads patient Marlene Fletcher remembers crunching into that sweet, cool pink flesh – juicy nectar running down her chin – as she giggled and horse-played with her siblings at the lake every Fourth of July.

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One bite…that’s all it took to transport Marlene to her youth. But Crossroads didn’t stop with just watermelon, of course. The team turned her residence into a lakeside Fourth of July commemoration chock full of every joyous memory cue. American flags, red, white and blue balloons, stars-and-stripe-themed streamers, picnic accoutrements…and, of course, her loving family members combined to recreate the annual party – all that was missing was the fireworks!

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But, there was music. Crossroads’ own musical talent entertained the partygoers for hours with lively tunes on the guitar and ukulele, accompanied by lovey singing. Much to Marlene’s delight, the trio played God Bless America, America the Beautiful, and Battle Hymn of the Republic plus many other patriotic favorites. So enthralled, Marlene practically jumped out of her chair to salute the band.

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Instead, everyone at the party saluted her! To quiet, humble-hearted Marlene, any personal recognition whatsoever was downright unbelievable though 100% deserved.

Marlene was born and raised in the farmlands of rural Oklahoma where she stayed throughout her adult life, serving her community and devoutly living out her faith. She worked for her church and loved God and Country as much as any patriot, making our nation’s birthday a day Marlene always cherished.

Well, that…and watermelon.

Decades had passed since Marlene chased fireflies, roasted marshmallows, sang songs, and licked sticky watermelon drippings from her hands at her family’s beloved lakeside retreat yet here she was in an instant. “This is one of the best days,” she said with tears in her eyes. The festive sounds, smells, and tastes of this special gift wrapped Marlene in the joy of pure, childhood bliss.

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God bless America…and Marlene.