"My grandpa's name was Ezra," Marcy Rogers said. "I loved him more than anyone in the world. He had five sons and no girls, so his granddaughters were the joy of his life. And my Grandma just died this year at the age of 99. She was the one who made all of our Christmasses special by making bride dolls and other special toys and 50-cent pieces all that cool grandma and grandpa stuff."
It is for those reasons, and countless others, that Rogers does not regard Grandparent's Day as just another occasion to shell out money for a Hallmark greeting card. She takes the Sunday, Sept. 9 celebration seriously, and as the prime moving force behind the hugely successful Payson Community Kids program, she hopes to pass that attitude on to the area's young people.
Through the program, some 30 kids, from newborns to teenagers, learn leadership, community service, to rise above difficult circumstances and, tomorrow, the value not just of grandparents, but of older community members in general.
Rogers has spent a good deal of time recently contacting older residents and asking them if they would like a visit from her kids who'll not only show up bearing flowers, cookies, pies and/or other goodies for their elders, but will also show up fully prepared to help out with household chores and yard work.
"There's one lady who never let us help her before, but who has given us so many donations over the years," Rogers said. "She lives up in Payson North, and she has no kids or grandkids ... and finally, she said, yes, we can come over and sweep her basement and garage.
"I'm going to make her some bean soup, because she's a vegetarian. For some of the other honorary grandparents, we're making chicken soup, and I know one lady has already requested a pumpkin pie.
"Wal-Mart donated ($300), and we're going to use that to buy the food and flowers and little trinket stuff. It's the least we can do for all the wonderful things and all of the wonderful memories all of our grandparents have given us."
Payson Community Kids can always use more help. Donations of clothing, toys and food can be dropped off at the Community Development Building at Town Hall.
Checks made out to Rim Country Volunteers also can be dropped off or mailed to Marcy Rogers, Payson Town Hall, 303 N. Beeline Highway, Payson 85541. And, of course, volunteers are always needed. For more information on how you can help, call Rogers at 474-5242, ext. 2269.