Meet Linda Troxel of Carillon Assisted Living, A Retired Nurse Who Has Celebrated Christmas in Many Places
While many people think of being home for the holidays, as she grew up Linda Troxel spent Christmas in a variety of places. Because her father’s job as a U.S. Navy pilot required regular travel, the resident of Carillon Assisted Living has been to all 50 states and Canada.
However, thanks to a lifetime of memories and a vast collection of recipes gathered along the way, the retired nurse never minded being in different places when the holiday season rolled around.
“Besides the food, I’ve never had a bad Thanksgiving or Christmas because I’ve never been without family,” says Linda, whose favorite holiday memory is the time everyone came to her home and she spent a week preparing for the feast. “Holidays are all about family first and eating second.”
Of course, eating is a close runner-up. Take last month, when Linda dined at Fort Bragg’s Thanksgiving buffet for all active duty and retired military personnel. The veterans included her brother-in-law, who served in the U.S. Air Force. Linda’s sister and niece also accompanied Linda on the short drive to the army post.
Thanks to friendships forged in recent years, Linda felt as if she were dining with extended family as well. The menu included turkey, roast beef, ham, numerous vegetables, and a host of breads, salads, and desserts. The $20 per person cost was well worth it, Linda says.
“It started at 11 a.m. and we were lucky to get out by 2,” says Linda, who lived in her sister’s rental house in Fayetteville for four years until moving to Carillon last July because of health issues. “You’re so stuffed you won’t eat for two days. I didn’t eat breakfast that day, either.”
Folks at Fort Bragg can relate to the story of her early years, when she traveled around the country with her parents and sister. Linda’s holiday recipes included various ones collected in the family’s travels.
When it came to favorites, though, they were familiar ones. Her sister loved green bean casserole, her mother liked pumpkin pie, and her father delighted in raisin stuffing and mincemeat pie. Linda loved potato filling, which combines potatoes, onion, celery and cubed bread into a baked dish whose mere mention still makes her mouth water.
After settling down in eastern Pennsylvania’s Amish country as an adult, Linda collected more recipes, although she never warmed to her husband’s affection for liver pudding.
Pennsylvania is also where Linda took the biggest step of her life, obtaining her degree as a registered nurse. That qualified her for hospice care.
“I always wanted to be a nurse,” Linda recalls. “When I was four years old, my mother made me a Halloween costume and it was a nurse, with even the cap. Every year she made me a nursing uniform. When I was 18, I became a nurse’s aide.”
After twenty years, she became a licensed practical nurse. Ten years later, her husband offered to pay for classes so she could obtain her RN. Studying while still working, it took 14 months, including traveling to Wisconsin to complete her practical exams.
Hospice nursing marked the highlight of her career. She liked it because she felt she cared for her patients’ mind and soul, not just their body. As an LPN she never had time for that, Linda says.
“I’m just sad I didn’t do it sooner,” says Linda, who had to step aside from the field to care for her parents when they developed Alzheimer’s disease. “But the Lord gets us where we need to be when we need to be there. I don’t argue with Him. He knows more than I do.”
She can even see God’s hand in guiding her to Carillon. Though she hated to leave her comfortable home and her dog behind, Linda has found the facility delightful and the staff wonderful.
“I was a nurse for 30 years and I’ve been in nursing homes,” Linda says. “The staff isn’t always friendly, but here they are. They’re respectful and friendly and can’t do enough for you. We go shopping, out for lunch or dinner, or movies. We’ve got a good crew on board.”
on December 13, 2019