Thursday, December 3, 2009
Christmas with the Hollands
The last time any family members heard from Anthony Holland was on Fathers Day this year. He was last seen at 5:30 p.m., Sunday, June 21, 2009 at his home in Cordell, Oklahoma. About one hour earlier, he had returned home from a gun show held at Elk City, Oklahoma. He visited with his wife, stated he had errands to run, and he has not been seen since. On the following day, his abandoned farm truck was found and later his cell phone was found approximately 8 miles from his home on farm land he owns. All his personal items, such as wallet, check book, driver’s license, large amount of cash, and pocket knife were discovered at his home. Numerous air and ground searches with tracking dogs, cadaver dogs, spelunkers, divers, horseback riders and hikers have been conducted but no evidence has been found.
Anthony had made Cordell, Oklahoma his home. He has lived there for over 30 years. His wife and he were blessed with two sons. Anthony owned a Snap-On franchise and several farms and other ventures. His pastimes included hunting, fishing, reading western novels and just talking to family and friends.
Traditional family Christmases for our family always starts the Saturday after Thanksgiving in western Oklahoma, near Anthony’s home. Approximately 30 loved ones consisting of aunts, uncles, niece, nephews, and cousins gather for a late lunch and a hilarious, gift grabbing, finger pointing Santa gift exchange game. Then the Christmas holiday is spent in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the home of his parents. All the family is there which includes sister, brothers, in-laws, nieces, nephews, and any and all extras that need or want to share in eating his mom’s homemade dinner rolls.
In the Holland’s home you will find children gathering in the game room, with girls playing dress up with frilly dresses and make-up, boys on electronic games, accumulating points and points and more points, all just to see who will be the virtual winner. Adults are spread out through the living areas and kitchen, talking, sharing, rejoicing, cooking, cleaning, loving, and laughing. Throughout the evening the Holland clan is entertained with fashion shows, show and tell, and gradually become referees for the youngsters, all the while immensely enjoying the love and companionship shared by the family.
Anthony has always been a very giving person. He truly enjoys finding the perfect gift for family members and for friends. He frequently surprised numerous of us with a gift when it was not Christmas, birthday or any special occasion. He always made notes of what people liked and then would find that item and truly enjoyed giving them that gift. One Christmas, his sister fondly remembers that when he found out she was taking a trip to New York City, he quickly supplemented her gift with several hundred dollars to make her trip more enjoyable. She is a single mom so this helped her a lot. All of us remember how excited Anthony was to help with any difficult tape that was on the presents. He always carried his pocket knife and would jump up to dash across the room to help the children, grandparents, parents or his siblings open a present by cutting through the tape. So you can imagine how much Anthony liked Christmas. It was a holiday made for him. It was always fun to see what Anthony had in store for everyone.
This will be our first Christmas since Anthony disappeared. It will be very hard as it is also the month of his birth and the half year anniversary of his disappearance. His mom and sister are planning to put together a memory board of photos of Anthony and other memorabilia. In this way we hope to feel his closeness and remember him for the awesome individual he is. Another reminder will be the many Snap-On Christmas collectibles that Anthony has given us over the years. As we decorate our homes this year these collectibles will be so special to all of us.
Each day that goes by is another day without Anthony. We hope and pray that he is safe. We also pray that we will learn of his whereabouts soon. The days have already turned into weeks and now they are becoming months. We all have faith that we will find Anthony one day and this faith keeps us all going. We are also fortunate to have such a close and loving family. We give each other strength, courage and a shoulder to cry on as needed. We all love Anthony and hope to be blessed with his presence for future holidays.
Written with considerable help from Anthony’s sister, Candice and his mom, Rena