As the Christmas season is upon us and winter has finally begun, these are the times when families come closer together to share their lives during the holiday season.
Many of us have a lot of fond memories to share during the holidays, so our readers have contacted us with their stories and memories that mean so much to them over the years.
This gives us the opportunity to reflect back on our memories as well and to remember times which is hopefully a joyous occasion in most of our lives. Some there are some bitter sweet memories and some folks have some not so pleasant memories during this season.
We want to remember the main reason for the season this year at Christmas! It’s all about Love. God is love. God sent His son to be with us a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger in Bethlehem where he was born for our salvation. God gave us the greatest gift, which was his Son, Jesus Christ. He was sent here for a reason, the reason for the season, to bridge the relationship between us and God again. So lets remember the reason for the season as we celebrate this Christmas, and as we begin our day on Christmas, lets remember to say “Happy Birthday Jesus,” and include Him in everything we do. And make it a tradition to read the “Real Christmas Story” each year from the Bible starting Luke Chapter 2, and make it a tradition in your homes.
The rest of this article consist of various stories and memories from our readers. So get you a cup of hot chocolate, curl up with your favorite lap-quilt in front of the fire place and take a walk down memory lane, and think back on your past Christmas’s you have had. Some of these memories have also been shared by those who have now gone on to be with the Lord and many are still here with us.
Sneaky Girls Search
For Christmas List and
Unwrap and Re-Wrap Presents
The most memorable thing that I remember from Christmases so long ago is my sister, Missy and I sneaking into the living room and getting into our moms purse late at night every year after she finished her Christmas shopping. She always kept a list of what she got for each of us. When we got a little older we would just unwrap our presents very carefully and check them out while our parents were gone. Of course we had to wrap them back up the same way they were before. But those were such good times. Oh what fun we had as kids
* * * * *
Remembering Good Times
With Grandparents – Thankful for Wife
I am very thankful for my wonderful wife, Pasha Amos. If it was not for her coming into my life I would not be where I am at today or the person I am. I have fond memories of going to my Grandparents for Christmas. On Christmas Eve we all would go to my Grandma & Grandpa Gilbert and Minnie Amos'. There would be singing and laughter around one of the most beautiful Christmas trees I have ever seen. One Christmas morning we would also go to Grandma & Grandpa Bobby and Kate Babbs. O' so much good food and family. Would love to be able to go back to this great time for just on day. Well I guess I will always have these memories to cherish.
As a child I always enjoyed waking up on Christmas morning seeing that Santa Claus had stop by my house and left my brothers and sister our toys and candy that we so much wanted him to bring us for Christmas. Oh the joys of Christmas and childhood memories.
Now Pasha and I go on Christmas Day to my Mom & Dad's house. We always have a big Christmas dinner and lots of fun. As I get older I realize that you never miss anything until it is gone. So cherish every moment
* * * * *
Son is Wise Beyond Years –
Blessed in More Ways Where it Counts
One of my favorite Christmas memories I remember the most was when my son, Caleb Amick was 8 years old and we had only enough money to buy him about $40 worth of presents. Not much for an 8 year old boy who was an only child and used to getting tons of presents from his grandparents who were no longer around. After opening his last gift he looked at me with a huge smile and said, "Mom this is the best Christmas I could ask for. " We are all three together and I got the best presents ever. I almost cried because my 8 year old was able to see beyond the gifts and knew what truly mattered.
Jackie Sue Smith
* * * * *
Christmas in Breathitt County, Ky.
As a youngster, I recall walking up and down the streets of Jackson, Breathitt County, Kentucky, around Christmastime. I would look at the beautiful displays of gun and holster sets. Of course there were more interesting displays, but it was the guns that captured my attention completely. I would tell my parents about the gun and holster set, and what store I saw it in. I would also let them know that particular set is what I would like to have for Christmas. I had developed a good taste for the finer things, but I must say there have been very few times that taste has been satisfied, and this Christmas would be one of the times my taste wasn't satisfied. I did get a cap gun for Christmas, but not the one I saw in the department store window.
There is a very good reason I didn't receive the gift I wanted for Christmas. In the first place, it was very expensive, and secondly, Mom and Dad, at that time, had to buy gifts for ten children. They were not rolling in money and that created a hardship I couldn't comprehend at the time.
Now as my mind travels back to those days, I simply don't understand how they did it. Somehow, they always managed to buy each of us that particular gift we wanted for Christmas, or at least something pretty close to the mark.
Now that I have gown old, I appreciate the opportunity and the great privilege to have grown up in a happy home where love and devotion really did abound. This was more than any gift my parents could have given me.
There was one Christmas my brother, Gene and I received a gift we simply were not expecting. I believe at the time I was 12 and Gene was 1, if my memory is correct.
In those days, money was very tight and most people barely made enough to survive. For most, saving money to buy Christmas gifts was out of the question. So almost everyone who bought Christmas gifts bought them on credit.
Mom and Dad had a charge account with Montgomery Ward and our Christmas gifts were purchased through the mail order catalog. Every year, a month or two before Christmas, we would receive a colorful Christmas catalog filled with beautiful things. All of the children including Gene and I, looked forward to the day when Bunt the mailman would deliver the catalog. Since Gene I were the oldest, and obviously the most dominant, the others would just have to wait their turns. We were looking through it first, and as we were slowly turning the pages we stopped at one particular page. There was something that both of us both wanted very badly. It was a BB gun. There was no reason to look any further, this was what we wanted for Christmas.
We showed the gun to Mother and told her it was the gift we each wanted. But there was a problem that I was unaware of at the time. The oblivious innocence of childhood obscured many things that now seem obvious to me in my old age. Dad had fallen off of a truck and fractured some ribs, therefore he couldn't work. In those days if you didn't work, you didn't receive any wages. There wasn't any insurance or any other help available., and since Dad had been off of work for a couple of months, that meant he was behind on the bills, which included Montgomery Ward. This created a major problem. Being behind a couple of payments on our bills meant our credit would be cut off and this meant no Christmas gifts. A couple of weeks before Christmas, Gene and I kept a close lookout for Bunt the mailman, because we knew it was time for the package to arrive from Montgomery Ward. Christmas kept getting closer, and there was still no package. All hope, it seemed, had vanished and this would be a disappointing Christmas. Christmas Eve finally came and there was still no package to be seen anywhere. Like every Christmas Eve, I went to bed early, so I could get up early Christmas morning. The next morning I went straight to the tree, and I got such a surprise. There were more gifts under the tree than there had ever been, and I simply didn't understand how this could be. Excitement absolutely overwhelmed me when I saw a box about three feet long leaned against the wall near the tree. I rant tot he tree and nervously grabbed the box. There on the box was my name, I could hardly believe my eyes, as I ripped the beautiful paper from the box to see what was inside. I peered into the box and stared in amazement at the BB gun that I had seen in the catalog.
Without my knowledge, Dad had received a profit-sharing check from the company, and that permitted him to bring the bills up to date. Once again, Mom had ordered our gifts' from Montgomery Ward and that sure was a joyous Christmas.
It was not until I began to write this sotry that I found out how the package arrived without our knowledge, especially since Gene and I were keeping such a sharp eye out for Bunt, but the truth is that Mom was much brighter than we were. She knew we were watching eagerly for Bunt every day, so without our knowledge she put her plan into action. She had contacted the mailman and made arrangements with him to leave the package containing the Christmas gifts at the neighbors house.
In 1955, I was a teenager and once again, I was walking the streets of Jackson. I was looking at the beautiful Christmas displays in the department store windows. This time, things were different. I wasn't looking for anything for myself, but a gift for a special someone. I knew just what I wanted to buy, and after looking carefully in the windows of several stores. I found what I was looking for. It was a dresser set, which consisted of a hair brush, comb and a mirror. There were several on display in this particular window, all priced differently. As I stood there for a few minutes carefully looking at each one, finally one captured my attention. It was in a beautiful box, but it was also the most expensive on in the window. It ended up being the one I bought, although I don't remember exactly how much I paid for it. I believe it was $20 or $25 as a teenager, this was a lot of money, but it's never to much when you 're in love.
That winter I started trapping for mink and muskrat as on as the season opened, but to be honest. I believe I started about two or three weeks before it opened. I know that wasn't the right thing to do, but at the same time. I was not concerned about the right thing to do. I just wanted to get a head start, so I would have enough time to trap as many minks and muskrats as I could manage in order to help finance my gift.
The beavers had recently built a dam across the stream where my trapline was located , and this had created a beautiful place. The stream was backed up to where it resembled a lake, and not the flowing stream it usually was. I could use a paddle to move by boat the entire distance of my trap line. There were no shallow places, as there once were when I had to use a pole to get my boat through the shoals. Those beaver lodges were very fascinating, and up until this time I had only see them in books and movies.
The first time I was aware of the beavers' presence, I was pulling my boat upstream over the dam when a neighbor called out to me to be careful and not to damage the dam while pulling my boat over it, and I did my best not to do any damage.
I recall walking up the gravel road at night near the place where the beavers were working on the dam. I could hear them slap their flat paddle-shaped tails on the surface of the water, as I walked by. I suppose that was a signal, warning the others there was an intruder nearby. After they slapped their tails on the water, everything got really quiet. The work on the dam ceased and did not continue until they were certain the intruder was gone.
Now that I have grown old, there is much I have forgotten. But I still remember the peaceful, beautiful body of water those beavers created by constructing a dam across Lost Creek near Cow Branch.
The dam had made the trapping season more productive. I had trapped several muskrats and near Christmastime I sold the Pelts for enough money to buy my future wife a nice gift. I don't believe I trapped a mink that particular time. A mink is very smart, and most of the time only an excellent trapper could catch one. I was not an experienced trapper, but I was good enough to capture enough muskrats to buy that special someone a gift. That is what mattered the most.
I married that special someone on November 13, 1956. She became my wife. That marriage lasted almost 52 years, until October 22, 2008, when were separated by death.
I Remember Christmas
on the Ridge
As I remember my youth just beginning to start the times of Christmas so dear to my heart. How dad and mom would get us to believe. That old Santa would come on Christmas Eve. Mom would hide us in the bedroom behind the door. Then we waited and listened for steps on the floor. Sometimes we would hear him for bells would be ringing.
We wondered in silence what could he be bringing? We would try to peek through the door while he was still there. But mom would let us as she would say be quiet or Santa will hear. Our socks would hang on the mantle behind the stove.
We waited for Santa to leave, trying to hear the reindeer he drove. When we sure he was gone, mom would open the door. We would all rush out to look under the tree on the floor. Toys were scarce but the socks would be full of oranges, bananas, peanuts and candy, we would pull, because the candy would melt a bit from the heat. It was hard to take out in order to eat, as I think of these things from a distant past. They are so dear to my heart and will always last. I would not trade places with anyone for any reason. Cause I couldn't have been happier; especially during the Christmas season (1987).
Marvin L. Shepherd
Christmas Past and Present
Remembering my childhood Christmas's growing up with four other siblings, in a small house. We didn't have a lot, but we were happy and loved. Our tree, with the big colorful lights, light up the whole house Christmas morning. There was a bag of candy and fruit. For each of us, while mom prepared the dinner. (We) myself and brother and sisters would be outside playing in the snow. Good times back then, miss my parents, Earl and Elsie McNear, they were special. I went to the Nazarene Church with my grandma and on Christmas Eve. We would go out caroling. The church is still there, when I go by it sometime, brings back old memories. After my children got married and had their children (my grandkids) we would have our get-togethers on Christmas even at one of the kids house. The house would be filled with the sounds of laughter and little ones running around waiting to unwrap those presents. We had a good dinner stuffing ourselves with all the good food we all prepared. When it was time for unwrapping gifts. The grandkids sitting on the floor, their faces Aglow, smiles and awes' coming from them as I watched them as I watched them. I thanked God for this special time together and my family. We took pictures and videos of everyone. This is something special to me for now, two precious angels are not in my pictures or videos now. My daughters, Jeannie and Cindy Riley, they are spending their Christmas's in Heaven now with our Savior. We miss them greatly and though they aren't with us here, I know their spirit is around us. I get those pictures and videos out and watch them and a tear falls from my eye, seeing us all together. My family is the Greatest Gift that was given to me. Christmas is special being with our loved ones, and most of all celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. May everyone have a blessed and Merry Christmas.
Grandma's House for Christmas
I want to share my Christmas memories with you. When I was little, our family would go to grandma's house in Austin. Everyone would bring a covered dish and people exchanged gifts. My dad worked extra hard to earn money to buy us kids, Christmas gifts.
We would all get new clothes on Christmas Day and Christmas was daddy's favorite time of the year.
Mom worked real hard cooking food to take to the dinner. Christmas was always a special time for me because I could just fee how close and special everyone was. Everyone was so happy and cheerful. Now so many loved ones are gone; so I want to dedicate this to my loved ones that have gone on. God Bless you all.
We used to go to Grandma's house, every Christmas day. All of our family would gather around. Then someone would prayer. After dinner we'd go outside and we'd laugh and run and play. Then we'd build a snowman and enjoy the day. Grandpa would get his banjo out and he would play and sing. We would laugh and dance around at the magic that the holiday would bring. Aunt Etta made a movie of our family from long ago. When I watched it, memories flooded my mind. And love filled my heart so. Many are gone now and so many are a new. But I'll always remember “Grandma's House Each Christmas Day that's true.
Nita Brandenburg-Jones (Scooter)
Remembering My Mom
Her name was Goldine, she was only five feet tall, her hair was very fine and looked like silk, her face was lovely even with several scars left after a wreck in which she was thrown into the windshield of the car.
We children were very young at the time and it traumatized all of us, it was nearly Christmas when the accident happened. We didn't celebrate that year, we just wanted our mom to get well. Many years has passed since that accident and my mom has sadly passed away.
I remember one Christmas I was 16 years old. My sister, Gladys worked in Indianapolis and she came with gifts for everyone, toys for my younger brother and sister, a lovely dresser set for me, a hair brush, hand mirror and comb, a shirt for Dad and a tablecloth for mom. I could see the disappointment on her face. She thanked Gladys and said she needed a new one.
Later that day after Gladys left, mom took the table cloth out of the both and underneath was an envelope. I watched as she opened it, inside was a lovely gold chain, she took it out and held it close to her chest tears streaming down her face. I took the chain and put it around her neck, gave her a hug and went to my room and had a good cry.
Years have passed since that Christmas. I married and had three children. At Christmas each year we would spend Thanksgiving with Delmar's mom and dad and Christmas with mine, the next year we would do the opposite.
My mom would prepare a lovely Christmas dinner for the family's that come. We didn't expect gifts only the food she so lovely prepared. The dessert always were jam cake and her bread pudding with a creamy topping with just a hint of nutmeg, which just seemed to melt in your mouth. I have both of her recipes.
The first year mom received her social security checks. She purchased each of us girls small appliances for the kitchen, such as an electric coffee pot, waffle iron and an electric skillet and toys for the children and gifts for other family members. I'm sure it took most of her check, but I could see how happy it made her feel.
In 1970, mom and dad were spending the winter in Florida along with my aunt and uncle, and another couple from Madison. Just a week after serving in Florida on Thursday morning mom wasn't feeling well, later when she was feeling worse, dad took her to the hospital on Saturday and she had a massive heart attack and passed away.
Mom had always been quite about her health as she said she didn't want to worry us. I think she knew she wasn't going to live long and had written a letter to us. I still have a copy of it and still after 45 years, I can't read it without feeling my heart breaking again. That was my mom still strong in my memory and forever missed.
I know this isn't a happy Christmas memory, but sometimes around the holidays we loose a loved one and all we have left is memories.
To all of you who have lost loved ones this year God Bless You, hold on to your memories. They are forever treasured. Wishing everyone else a very Merry Christmas.
Going to the 5 & 10 Store
and Getting Earrings,
Riding in Homemade
Sleigh and More
I have so many fond memories from my childhood and growing up out on the hill west of Crothersville. Dad would always cut us down a nice cedar tree, then in 1962, one of my brothers gave mom and dad a silver tree with a color wheel. It was pretty neat. I remember once Dad had gotten me and my sister a set of telephones with a wire that reached from one room to the other. Then another time I was in seventh grade. I had shaken this present. I thought it was a doll, well to my surprise, dad had gotten me a camera,which got me into taking pictures and also got me into the love of photography. Mom gave us a matching raincoat and umbrella. One year dad got mom a gift and wrapped it and we told her it was a red hat. We had lots of fun with that. It was a baking dish. We enjoyed lots of family time over Christmas break. I loved our school parties, we always drew names, got treats at school from our bus driver. I was off school until January and if there was snow Dad would hitch up our big homemade sled behind his tractor and ride us around out in the field and then warm up in front of the wood stove and make snow ice cream. Of course mom and her friend would make all kinds of candies including fudge and divinity. One really special memory when I was 16, we were at Murphy's 5 & 10 in Seymour and dad told me I could pick out anything I wanted for Christmas. I chose a little box of about six pierced earrings. Yes those were wonderful times. Wonderful Christmas times. I Thanks God for his son Jesus and for the great childhood memories that being about to remember the true gifts of Christmas which is not the presents, but it is His presence.
Brenda Moody Bradley
Ten Fingers and Ten Toes
& The Pole Light
Let me state to you that I was a foster child and never heard of Santa Claus from birth to the age of six. I want to tell you about the caring stories of foster parents, caring nursing homes, where I plan to spend the rest of my life telling people, not to give up. Telling them also of the love and saving grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I call this the only family member I was given back in 1961, that is still left. She is now 100 years young. Christmas is a great time, now to tell one of my true stories... The Pole Light... Then the Story of a Person Taking the life that God has given Him and now tries to help Others on their way and find the Reason for the Season...Jesus Christ. I found him in 1977 and my life has never been the same again.
The Pole Light
Lord Jesus, let your light shine on this message. Remember back, before all the security lights came along. Most houses and Barns had a 40 watt light bulb to light up our paths. We had one of these on a pole and one on the barn. The year I wish to tell you about is 1965. I was ten years old. Just old enough to run everywhere Mom had to go. It was Christmas Eve. We had sows that were to deliver babies close to this day. Snow was expected, yet it was not snowing at this hour. The time was around 9 p.m. Heading back to the house mom said that I had to rush in to bed that Santa Claus would soon be coming there... still... was no snow on the ground. You know how it is. You just can not get very much sleep, well, I kept going to the window to check to see if it had snowed. I could see the tracks of Santa's sleight. This is what I thought. I dozed off, morning came. I could barely see that pole light. It had been replaced by the sun. The light of God. It was Christmas Day. I ran down the stairs. I found toys, clothes and candy...
Mom said that around noon that we would have a great lunch. The thoughts of that old pole light left my mind until dark. Then there was my old friend again with the snow covering the ground, both lights joined forces and lighted up the whole yard. Today I have a new light to light my way. Jesus Christ is that light. Following his footsteps will lead you to a wonderful life and an eternal life. He is the light of the world you can find him day and night.... Merry Christmas.
Ten Fingers and Ten Toes
Waiting for me to take my first breath. The first day of July 1954. Jesus Christ gives me “Life” on this planet Earth. Tow parents whom can not take care of the other two boys they already have and create a future to three boys. I was the middle son. There are five of us now in this family, living in a shack at the age of five. Not very many memories do I have stored in my that stand out. This winter was a long and cold one, being cooped up for months in this place. Then one day, the door opened and we were allowed to go outside. It took me only a minute to notice the warmth of the sun. The sound of a bird on a power line, singing It is spring, caught this boys' attention. Never being told about Jesus yet, I spoke-Lord is this your sign to me that you are still watching over me? Soon in 1961, the county Sheriff's Deputy automobile pulls up and collects all five of us boys and takes us to a house in Eastern Scott County. The home of John and Flossie Borders. These two people are “County Foster Parents,” they would take care of us temporarily until the county found us homes. In a few weeks, four of my brothers would leave. These people chose to keep and raise me. The second memory that lingers in memory still to this day is when we arrived at this lady's house she led us to a table. My eyes caught this table full of food, more food than I had in all my six years of life. Someone must have tipped her off that I loved mashed potatoes. Realizing not just hours earlier I had dug into a burlap sack to retrieve raw potatoes. This must be Heaven.
It would not take these two people very long to start me on my road to recovery. Around the age of 7, I went to church where I attended Bible school, this is where I first heard about Jesus. My life would never be the same again. Oh, do not think that I am a little angel, I would have years going down a road to discover that sin was all around me. Finally in 1977, all my sins were washed away when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. The years started to rush by. I found employment as a laborer for a major railroad company. The events of life are not always good on man. In 1980, the father that took me in 19 years earlier went home to Heaven. I mus stop for a moment and tell you that there are three more children that this mother took into her home that I grew up with from 1961 to this day. They are still my family. I also need to tell you that my birth mother had diabetes having a bunch of children and was not a wise choice.
This earthly father has taught me so many things that I still use today. In 2003, I had to have my right foot amputated due to diabetes. As I lay in the hospital operating room, I looked up at the bright lights. I had to ask my Lord for a new mission. As I recovered in a nursing home. I knew what I had to do. I had to tell everyone about the Love and Grace that followed me everywhere I went. Jesus said: I will never leave you nor forsake you. I began to do Bible messages five years ago, passing them out room to room and to the visitors. Still today I do this.
My mother now has celebrated her 100th birthday, the blessing upon a mother of foster children reached a record in Heaven. Her and my time is growing short. The little boy of Scott County will once again be turned back over to his Lord, His Creator.
Thank you Jesus for these 53 years of my earthly family-mom and dad I speak about...wonderful years. Lord, my love for you may not show and I do not praise you enough yet. I love thee. Thank you for not letting me die on that operating table in 1954. I am still listening for your voice.
Kash Day Lafferty
A Christmas story....
Scottsburg woman's victory against cancer a miracle? Definitely yes!
Just a few days before Christmas in 2012, December 23, I kept my yearly mammogram appointment at Scott Memorial Hospital.
Despite the holiday rapidly approaching, I was vigilant in making my health check-ups. I've had too many scares, lost too many people in my life. Getting old is definitely not for the faint at heart!
Once the technician was done with my test, she asked me to have a seat, that she'd be back in a few minutes.
When the door re-opened, the nurse and a doctor walked in. He had a sorrowful look in his eyes. “I'm so sorry to tell you this, just two days before Christmas, but you have Stage 4 breast cancer,” he said.
I was stunned. The nurse started to cry. “Melba,” she asked, “do you want to cry?”
No, I didn't cry. I went home. My husband was on the phone with my doctors, Skip Hunefeld and Erica Rogers. An appointment was made for me at the Brown Cancer Center in Louisville.
Our Christmas that year wasn't a happy one. We were anticipating the worst news possible throughout what should have been a happy time of the year.
I went to the Brown Cancer Center the next week. Surgery was performed quickly because the cancer was “...on the move...” and had to be removed. It had to come out.
So I started my journey of recovery. I had great doctors, Dr. Riley and Dr. Quillios, and a wonderful cancer team. They were with me every day. Drs. Hunefeld and Rogers were so good to me as was their staff, “the girls.” Love you all.
I received additional, vital support from my family, husband Tom, son Jimmy, his wife April and my grandchildren. To all of my family, a big hug and a big thank you.
I wanted to tell my story because cancer can happen to any man and any woman. I don't know why I am still on this earth, but one day, I will know.
But I want every person in Scott County who has ever given a dollar to cancer research to know that you gave me a chance to live and be with my loved ones, to enjoy them and enjoy my life. What a gift!
To those who sent me cards and let me know they were praying for me and thinking of me, 228 cards, I want you to know I waited each day for the mail to read your messages. It was like receiving Christmas presents!
I am still on my journey. The Lord told me He would never leave me. He would stand by my side in all my troubles.
So, this Christmas, we are going to have a wonderful Christmas and a tree to celebrate our Lord's birth and His promise to each of us.
Being the daughter and granddaughter of active Home Economic members in Saluda Township of Jefferson County during the late 1900’s, I joined the Greenbriar Homemakers in Lexington Township. Many of the ladies were grand dames, Florence Miller, Louise Coomes, Agnes Kimberlin, Lois Meagher and Betty Boley. As one of the younger set, I was thrilled to be entertained in their homes. The tables were always set with care, the food tasted like a bowl full of jelly and the hostess was a joy. The month of December was so special, the Christmas Party. The ladies all dressed in their colorful holiday garb.
The guests made requests for each lady to bring that special recipe dish. One special request was for the angel biscuits made by Lois Meagher. We gathered mostly at Betty Boley’s house in Scottsburg. The house was decorated with the greatest of elegance. Every room had an exquisite Christmas wreath, pillow, decorative towel, and Santas, but the reason for the season was foremost in her home. Sandy, her daughter, has a large collection of Nativity Scenes, some she made and some, which she purchased. The placing of these made it known that Betty wanted all to acknowledge that she believed in the virgin birth and was proud to give Christ a place of honor. Her baked chicken would have made Santa stop for more than carrots or a cookie.
Her dressing with the chicken was the best that I ever had. She made it with fresh bread, which was new to me. My mother saved the old bread for that, or maybe, that’s what she wanted us to think. It could be that mother did that to use the old bread. After Betty gave a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness, we all engaged in the joy of sharing love for one another as we broke bread together. Then, Betty being a gamer, let the games begin. She taught us to play a game with dominoes, called Chicken.
Nothing Chicken about these ladies. Betty’s prizes were worth crowing about and everyone scratched for them. We all left with our bellies full, our hearts filled with joy and smiles on our faces, maybe some food too. Thank you Betty for those wonderful memories.
I remember when we lived in Buckhorn, Ky.I was bout 9-10 yrs.old.it was a couple days before Christmas. mom was making her Christmas wish after all ...all we were getting for Christmas was a supper cooked by my mother (Betty Ann). But it didn't matter (because as I remember dad was in a accident and was out of work.) as I remember...i heard my mom say.. Lord it sure would be nice to have a chocolate cake for Christmas. Well my aunt Vi( that's what I call her) said she wish she'd had chicken n dumplings .well without knowing what the other had wished for when my aunt Vi got to our house...she brought a big chocolate cake for Christmas n my mom had cooked chicken n dumplings plus the fixings. That was the best Christmas ever even though we never got presents we had the best dinner and my daddy told us a story he made up before we went to bed now,that is what Christmas is about! Oh, the memories it wasn't bout presents it was being a family, love n Christ!
* * * * *
Pink and Black Radio
and Stuffed Tiger
Growing up as an Army Brat I have several memories. This time of year I think of this. We. were living at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and my father received orders to go to Korea so Mother and I went to stay with my Grandmother in Evansville, IN for the year my father would be gone. Christmas was coming and he knew I wanted a pink and black radio and a small stuffed tiger. I really did not expect to get it since my father was gone. Under the tree on Christmas morning I saw a medium size box wrapped in brown paper addressed to me with the postmark and stamp from Korea. Yes, it was my radio and a toy tiger from my father. My father has past away now and this is the season that I always remember this wonderful memory.
* * * * *
My Best Christmas Present
The best Christmas present that I ever received was an engagement ring and a marriage proposal. In December 1963, my boyfriend Donnie Briddle was home on leave from the Army. He was a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky. About 3 days before Christmas, he took me to his parents house and said I have something I want to show you. He took a small white box out of their china cabinet. He then showed me an engagement ring and said “I Love You, Will You Marry Me?” I said “Yes, I Love You Too.” Then he said “I’ll love you forever and ever and kissed me. We then spent the next eight or ten days together when we could before he had to go back to Fort Campbell. He finally got a ten-day leave in April and we got married. He passed away on April 20, 2000, after 36 wonderful years of marriage.
* * * * *
Friendship is the Best Gift
My most cherished memories are of the many friends I have been fortunate enough to make over the years. Friendship through the years is a wonderful thing it should be treasured as a diamond in a ring.
* * * * *
Happy Christmas Memories
My childhood Christmas memories was happy times growing up with my brother and three sisters. Christmas time we would help decorate our mom’s freshly cut tree. Our house was small and the tree smell filled each room. We didn’t get much, but we were happy. Mom’s big colorful lights brighten the whole room. I miss those Christmas, our family spent together. I remember the Little Church on Wardell Street in Scottsburg, where I attended with my grandma on Christmas Eve. Some of the people would go out caroling, that is something you don’t see anymore. Singing those songs, would make you fee so good. Back then the togetherness would make the season most special when I had my own children. I’d remember what our mom and did for us. So I keep the tradition of putting out bags of goodies under the tree Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, they’d get up early and watching them unwrapping their gifts, and hearing their laughter, will always be a special memory. As the Christmas went by and my children, had children of their own, We’d get together. It was an enjoyable time watching the grandkids, opening their gifts and the sound of their laughter brought back my childhood days. Now a days we still get together, going to their houses. O how I wish I could bring back those good old days. When I’m by myself sometimes, I think of those days and It will bring a tear to my eyes. Mom and Dad passed away several years ago. I lost two of my daughters. Christmas doesn’t seem the same without them. I visit with them on Christmas Day, put up Christmas decor, I tell my mom, Elise, my dad, Earl, my daughters, Jeannie and Cindy, Merry Christmas, love and miss you, But I know you are happy cause you are spending your Christmas in Heaven. Families need to be close at Christmas and everyday. This is a precious gift. God has given us. Merry Christmas my family and to all who reads this.
* * * * *
The Christmas Cake
I would like to tell you a story. It is called “The Christmas Cake.”
The winter of 1945 was a cold one in London, England, and a few days before Christmas it had snowed. The white blanket had brightened the normally drab streets but had failed to mask the terrible bomb damage that was so evident in this industrial suburb of the city.
An icy wind began to blow and the small boy lowered his head as he walked into it. He was dressed in short pants, an open necked shirt and short jacket. His long socks, which he had tired of hoisting up, rested around his ankles. The fact that he was not adequately dressed for such weather never occurred to him. Where he came from the children didn’t have summer clothes and winter clothes, they only had clothes which they wore year round, and these were his. The wind grew stronger and the boy turned up the collar of his jacket. It didn’t help much so he did what he always did when he got cold, he started to run.
He was on his way to the market to get a loaf of bread for his grandmother who he lived with. As he ran he thought about the changes that were happening and how they might affect him. World War 2 had just ended and he didn’t know if that was such a good thing or not. They had just repaired his school and would soon open it. No doubt they would shortly require him to attend. This “peace” the older people were always talking about certainly had its drawbacks. He was nine years old and had never known what it was like to live in peace. He was a child of war and had seen sights that no child should ever see. He knew the enemy too, the Germans, and he hated them. He had never actually seen a German except on the posters at the railway station. They all had shaven heads, bulging eyes and oversized teeth and always seemed to be kicking someone. Yes, they were different from the rest of us and he was happy that they had been beaten.
He couldn’t get too excited about this peace either, especially when there were far more important things at hand. The snow meant slides and snowball fights with the boys in neighboring streets and it would be Christmas in a few days. For him, Christmas was a time when you could earn money singing carols and since he was blessed with a fine alto voice, he always did well. There were never very many gifts at Christmas and he didn’t know why. In fact, he never even thought about it. It was something he accepted. There was however, something of far greater value sitting on the shelf in the food cupboard, that he did give a great deal of thought to, Grandma’s Christmas Cake.
In later years the boy found it difficult, if not impossible, to relate to others the level of anticipation and excitement that this cake generated. His Grandmother always seemed to find the necessary ingredients to create her culinary masterpiece each December. No mean feat in the days of Ration Books and shortages of everything. She then used her legendary skills as a cook to mix and blend the flour, butter, eggs, raisins, nuts, cherries and spices into a brown mixture that would emerge from the oven the golden centerpiece of the boy’s Christmas. He watched in awe every step of the cake’s creation and when the frosting was applied he was allowed to scrape the bowl for half a tablespoon of icing. Watching the cake being made and smelling the cake being baked was nothing to the pleasure of actually eating the cake. The boy always ate the cake slowly, partly to make the pleasure last longer, but also to savor the divine taste, in much the same way a wine connoisseur savors a particularly pleasing vintage. He was not allowed any cake until Christmas Day but he accepted this, after all it was a Christmas Cake, and it would soon be Christmas Day.
Still running, he rounded the corner by his school and stopped dead in his tracks. There on the corner, outside Mrs. Evan’s house, (GERMANS) four of them. The boy had heard the grownups talking about some wounded German prisoners of war being treated at the local military hospital but he didn’t think it was true. Now he knew it was. There they stood, obviously lost, trying to make sense of our impossible street system. They wore blue uniforms with the letters P.O.W. written in yellow on their backs. Yes, they were Germans alright. The boy looked them over and thought how very much like the English they were. There wasn’t one of them that looked like the Germans on the posters. They were cold too and shivered visibly. The few adults that passed by all gave them hostile looks. This area of London had suffered greatly from German bombing and the residents were not yet ready to forgive their former enemy. It was not the kind of weather to stand around in besides he wanted to tell someone what he had seen only a hundred yards from his front door, so he finished his run home.
When he related the story to his Grandmother, she didn’t seem surprised or even worried about his German invasion of their neighborhood. She just shook her head and sighed. The boy thought she looked sad. Just then an aunt arrived and repeated the story again. This time his Grandmother asked questions about the German soldiers, and the aunt told her what little she knew. His Grandmother said “They must be freezing out there and they are only boys.” Taking her statement literally the boy said “No Grandma they are grown men...much bigger than me.” She didn’t answer but smiled at the boy. She then went to the cupboard and took out the Christmas Cake. Taking a long knife, she cut out about a third of the cake and then cut that into four. She then carefully wrapped each piece in kitchen paper. The boy watched in silence. What was she doing? It wasn’t Christmas Day and the boy was so surprised he could only watch in silence. Suddenly it became clear. Having put all four pieces of cake in one bag she said to her Grandson “Take this to the German soldiers.” The boy could not believe his ears. “Your giving our Christmas Cake to Germans?” He asked. “Yes” she said “and hurry before they leave.” The boy could’nt believe what was happening. The ways of grownups were hard to understand sometimes. You wouldn’t find any of his friends wasting Christmas Cake on Germans. However, he took the cake back to where he last saw the German soldiers, hoping that they would not be there. He then intended waiting a respectful time before returning home to say he couldn’t find them, but alas they were still there. Something told him that his Grandmother was serious about this and that he had better not go against her wishes.
He approached the shivering men in blue cautiously. He held out the package and said “This is for you.” One German took it from the boy and unwrapped one of the pieces of cake. He said something to the others in a language unknown to the boy. Then the tallest of the four men said “Who sent this?” The boy replied “My Grandmother.” They spoke again in their strange tongue and then the tall man said “Please thank your Grandmother for us,” and that ended the brief exchange.
This is a true story. That little boy was me and that wonderful caring Grandmother was Ellen Sofia McDermott, Your Great Grandmother.
Not long before this happened, she had been notified that her youngest son had been killed while serving with the British Army in India. The year before her son-in-law, the husband of her youngest daughter, had been killed in action at Anzio, Italy. He was my father and your Grandfather. Her grief was deep but it never clouded her vision or tainted her loving heart. Where others saw the enemy she saw young boys shivering in the snow.
Every Christmas the memory of that event become more precious. It has outlasted in time and value all the gifts I have ever received. I now realize why I never had many presents as a child. Fate gave me most of my share all at one time in form of that loving, gentle soul, my Grandmother.
Each Christmas I remember that day and the lesson I was taught. This Christmas I thought I would share it with you. Much love, Merry Christmas, Dad.
Written to his daughters:
* * * * *
With My Wife and Daughter
Looking over the years, I’ve remembered a lot of my happy memories of Christmas as a child. Now with the loss of my wife, Jennifer, back in February 2012, I’ve started reflecting more on my Christmas’ with her and my daughter, Emily. We always loved Christmas time at our house and we did so many different things throughout the year which makes many happy memories. We would always begin the morning asking Emily what day it was, and Emily would say “It’s Jesus’ birthday.” and we all would say Happy Birthday Jesus! Then we would prepare an very large Christmas dinner with turkey and all the fixings, eating in our special Christmas dinner ware we got in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Then after dinner we would gather around the tree to open all our gifts. Gift unwrapping at our house took about three hours, each person opened each gift one at a time and then we would pass out the next present to the next person to unwrap. We always used our smarts when it came to buying presents each year, each person had 40 to 50 gifts to open, which made for a very full day and full Christmas tree. Now all the gifts were not all that spectacular, but we did get each other some very nice gifts, but we also went out and bought each other our necessities that we would use throughout the year, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, and lots of things you needed sometime during the year. We would also throw in a random gag gift or two, to each other, just to throw in some laughs amongst the opening of the gifts. It has gotten to the point we couldn’t have a Christmas without the gag gifts. Others have come to expect them to. Looking back over these past Christmas with Jennifer and Emily I will have a lot to be thankful for in remembering the 18 Christmas that we had to share.
Sometimes we would also postpone Christmas to New Years Eve in order to take advantage of all the after Christmas sales and to cut out a lot of the crowds that were out during the Christmas shopping season and it gave us time to spend with our families on Christmas Eve and Day and to take part in our Christmas cantata’s at church, which meant so much more to us than being rushed to having our Christmas on Christmas Day.
However, the most important thing I remember us doing as a family on Christmas Day as we gathered in the living room to open presents. We would get the Bible out and pray and read the Christmas Story from the book of Luke, Chapter 2. The one and only reason for the season!
This year has been very difficult with some bittersweet memories to cherish and to hang on to. Emily and myself are preparing for our Christmas again this year, but Jennifer will be with us in our hearts, as we celebrate the birth of our savior Jesus Christ with my family and Jennifer’s family and our friends and church family.
Marcus and Emily Amos
* * * * *
from Salvation Army
The Christmas that is embedded in my memory many years ago when I was just a child, but I remember it as vividly as if it were yesterday.
We were living in Madison then and my father was very ill and unable to work. He had injured his leg with a sledge hammer while working on construction of a highway. Then he got pneumonia. We barely had enough money to pay our rent and electric bills. I remember we had to credit our groceries at the little store down the street. My mom would send me there for a few necessity groceries. Mr. Ward, the owner was very kind to me and would give me a sack of penny candy back then a penny bought you a small sack of candy.
When Christmas neared mom explained that we shouldn’t expect much because of dad’s illness The older children understood, but I didn’t because of course I still believed in Santa Claus.
The night before Christmas someone knocked on the door when my mom opened it, several people came in carrying sacks of groceries, lots of fruit and candy and a large sack of gifts. I don’t remember what all I got, but still remember the thing I prized most, it was a box containing six or eight small porcelain dolls dressed as nurses, only four-inches tall. These people were from the Salvation Army. Mr. Ward and Mr. Handton, a policeman who lived down the street had told them about my father’s illness and inability to work.
Every Christmas when I see the people collecting for the Salvation Army. I think of that time when they came to our house and what a difference they made for us. I always give knowing some other families are going to be helped and how a child will receive that one special gift that will be remembered for a lifetime.
My father recovered and worked well into his eighties.
* * * * *
Birth of Granddaughter
on Christmas Day!
My Favorite Christmas !I would have to say the most wonderful Christmas I have ever had was Christmas Day 2004. That evening The most beautiful sweet angel was born. My sweet granddaughter Mackenzie Gail Wesley !
She takes it to heart that she was born on Jesus’ birthday , Every time we are together She tells me that she loves me all the way to Jesus. She loves Jesus and loves to pray with her mama. Thank you, Merry Christmas and God Bless.
* * * * *
My favorite Christmas memory was the year my Mom got my sister and me our first cassette tape player back in the '80's.
We opened it and found a cassette tape already inside! We played it and heard Santa himself wishing us a Merry Christmas and told us what good little girls we had been that year. We kept that tape for years!
Jenny Greathouse Smith
* * * * * *
Daddy Coming Home
for Christmas During WWII
World War II: Looking out my grandfather's window on Christmas morning and seeing my Dad walking down the road carrying his duffle bag. He had made it home for Christmas. I was three years old.
* * * * * *
Going to Grandma’s
and seeing the family
I can remember going to my grandmas and all the family would be there but now that she has went on to be with the lord the family doesn’t hardly get together anymore I want the old times back cause I love all my family an friends.
* * * * *
Family Staying All Night
Playing music, singing and
Happy Birthday to Jesus
My Christmas memory is when I was little our whole family got together and spent the night together.. We'd pick songs out on the guitar and sing and play games and eat. In the morning before anyone opened any gifts we would, and still do, sing Happy Birthday to Jesus Christ in celebration of his birth.
* * * * *
of my Grandma
and Grandpa Barrett and Amos
I have so many Christmas memories. I do remember trekking out with my parents to my Grandma and Grandpa Barrett’s house one year on Christmas eve. The snow was coming down and the it was at least eight to ten inches deep. As a kid, I always enjoyed the idea of getting presents, just like every kid, but this wasn’t what I remembered the most about that Christmas. They lived in a tiny trailer on Harrod Road in Austin, several family members would come in throughout the evening, visiting with Grandma and Grandpa Barrett. I enjoyed visiting with them very much and listening to their stories they would tell about years past and growing up in Kentucky. I always loved going to their home, cause Grandma was always cooking. Man, I loved that good old Kentucky food, she always made the best food. I think one of my favorite things I remember going to their house was even though they lived in a tiny trailer, was they had pictures of their children and grandchildren on the walls on shelves. It seemed we didn’t get to visit much with my Grandma and Grandpa Barrett very often growing up, I still loved them more than anything. I take great pride in my middle name as I was named after my grandfather, Green Barrett. Christmas was also bittersweet, around Christmas one year, when we were also in the funeral home for my grandfather on Christmas eve. I miss him very much! But I got to have a very meaningful conversation with him in the hospital, just a few days before he passed away before Christmas. He was not able to speak much, but I found comfort in speaking to him about Jesus, and I knew he wasn’t going to be around much longer. I asked my grandfather did he know Jesus and if he had accepted him as his Lord and Savior. He gurgled a little as I was trying to help suction his mouth out to keep him from strangling. He spoke to me and told me he loved me and that he had accepted the Lord in to his heart. It meant a lot to hear that, and it means more to me today, knowing that one day I will get to see him again in Heaven.
I’m lucky now my Grandma Barrett is still alive and kicking and is now remarried to a wonderful man, Roy Hunter, and they are now raising a seven year old now. It is so precious to see them. I can say now I have finally got to really know them more than ever in the past few years, like I really wanted to as child. I’m am so thankful to have them in my life and my entire Barrett family.
Another memory I have is at my Grandma Minnie and Grandpa Gilbert Amos house on Christmas eve. The day would start out around 2 p.m. with the family from North Vernon arriving at my grandparents house to visit staying for a few hours, before they had to leave and go visit other extended family, then around 4 or 5 the rest of the children and grandchildren would begin arriving into that small six room house that would eventually have about 40-50 people cramped together throughout the whole house and I should say, with one bathroom at that. There would be eating in the kitchen, socializing and storytelling in the living rooms and spilling into the bedrooms were my uncles and cousins playing the piano, bass guitar, guitars, harmonica, banjo and having a great time playing music with Grandma and Grandpa in there listen to their family having a good time.
In one of the living rooms would be a small five foot scrawny little Christmas tree, that brings back memories of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree, stack on six bricks to make it taller, and the branches being scarcely spread apart, but was decorated to the top with decorations and lights, and man I could say that old tree really looked beautiful. But then again on that night you could hardly see much of it, as presents were stack half way up around and way out in the middle of the floor. Grandma and Grandma made sure to have presents for everyone that came to their house, and even if it was a pair or socks or set of towels, or cologne and powder for the ladies, and toys for the kids. No one went home empty handed. I don’t know how they did it. They had no money, but my grandma always made sure to take out a Christmas Club account every year to make sure she could do this for her family. Grandma and Grandpa looked forward to their family coming in each year. Before you knew it the day was coming to an end. My grandparents always waited until about 10 or 11 at night to pass out gifts to everyone, which was agonizing for us kids, as we all tried to stay in the room with the presents. The memories of going out everyweekend to K-Mart and other stores in Clarksville during the 1970s and 1980s and 3-D’s in Scottsburg was what we did to make sure Grandma and Grandpa had the gifts, bought up, wrapped and put back for the family. It was a major undertaking, but one that I looked forward to each and every year. As the years went on, Grandpa Gilbert Amos passed away in the 1980s, the family continued to do this tradition up until Grandma Minnie was stricken with a stroke in the 1990s. Then slowly, the gathering got smaller and smaller, the families grew and obligations were spread thin. Now these are only memories of Christmas gone by, but they are still real in our minds at Christmas in many of my cousins and brother and sisters, and aunts and uncles during the Christmas season. But as long as we keep these memories passed on, those good times will live on in our hearts and minds.
I love all my family and wish them a very merry Christmas!
Marcus Greene Amos
* * * * *
From the Bus Driver
My bus driver every year since I was old enough to go to school was Sam Sebastian and every Christmas, Sam would give each child a brown paper bag filled with an orange, an apple, a candy cane, peanuts and a snickers bar. It was such a nice treat. Thanks Sam!
Linda Baker Dawson
* * * * *
“An Old-Fashioned Christmas”
Memories of the early 1900's according to Claude Hardy, deceased, 1983: Claude was my father and was born in 1899. These are his recollections, which are an oral family history account. Christmas day was often celebrated by having a dinner at the church, Paynesville Christian, in Saluda Township. If the weather permitted, families would board their buggies or wagons, which were pulled by horses.
The horses sometimes had bells on their harness and as the team clopped, the bells would ring. One team of horses owned by the Hardy family was named, Prince and Lady. With his parents, Dallas and Mary, sons; Claude, Omer, Stanton, and Harold, dressed warmly, covered with blankets and using heated bricks made the five mile trek to the church.
As related, Claude did not have a decorated Christmas tree in his home. The gifts for his brothers and him were an orange and peanuts in the shell. When he became an elder of the congregation, he insisted that brown paper sacks-pokes-be filled with an orange and peanuts in the shell.
The church had an evening Christmas program with recitations, singing, plays and the manger scene. At the conclusion of the program, Santa Claus* arrived in Paynesville with bells ringing and the congregation would sing Jingle Bells.
In Santa's pack on his back were the filled bags. While Santa was saying Ho, Ho, Ho, he passed out the bags to the delight of all. For my father, it was a nostalgic act, he wanted everyone to be as happy as he was to receive these special treats as a child. Rarely, in the early 1900's did a farm family have any fresh store bought fruit in the winter or special treats.
*Children seldom saw a "live, walking, talking Santa" or multiple Santas, as is the commercial culture of today.
Janice Hardy Stanley
* * * * *
Through the Eyes of a Child
My most memorable Christmas was the first time I saw Christmas through the eyes of one of my own children. It was December of 1996. My husband and I had our first child, Taylor, in January of that year. As the Holiday season unfolded, we watched her as she enjoyed all of the sights, sounds, and smells of the season in amazement. The Christmas tree, in all its magnificent colors, captivated her for hours. One evening, my husband and I sat with her by the tree and enjoyed the twinkling lights together until she fell asleep. She gazed at those lights as if they were the most brilliant and beautiful sight she’d ever seen.
My husband and I still gaze at each of our three children with that same amazement as we watch them each year.
* * * * *
Christmas Meant Getting
a New Doll
For a girl growing up in the early 1950's, Christmas meant getting a new doll. Over the years there were Ronnie (a celluloid doll), and Patricia Jane, and Rosa Kay. But my favorite doll was Susan Marie Walker.
She had blue eyes and blond hair braided into pigtails. But her most unique feature was that she had legs jointed at the hips so that she could be "walked." She was not soft, but made of a rigid plastic material, which enabled her to be walked. She had red plastic shoes and white socks, and her dress was of red and white "windowpane" checks with white trim.
I had requested this doll, and my mom had ordered her from some ladies' magazine in which the doll was advertised. (Since we lived in the country, shopping was often done by mail.)
* * * * *
It was Christmas Eve, 2008. We had guests coming for dinner and a gift exchange. Dinner was ready. Bill had felt bad all day. I had sent him to bed earlier in the afternoon.
When I asked how he felt, he wasn't feeling any better. I told him to get his shoes on that we were going to the ER at the local hospital.
To make a long story short, they found evidence of a previous heart attack. He was transferred to Floyd County Hospital where they scheduled him for a quadruple by-pass. While he was on the way to Floyd County, I came home, fed the crowd, then my son and I left for the hospital.
Bill had the by-pass, a stroke shortly after surgery, then a collapsed lung. Thank God he was in the hospital when all that happened.
When he finally came home, our new furnace wouldn't work, our furnace man was on vacation in Florida, the fireplace broke, and we had to use space heaters for warmth. The furnace guy called a friend who came to fix the furnace (it took them 3 days to fix it). It was like the Nightmare Before Christmas!
* * * * *
First Christmas As
A Married Couple
I will never forget Christmas Eve of 1985, the first year John and I celebrated Christmas as a young married couple.
John had been working a side job to make a little extra money as a Santa Claus in the L.S. Ayres Department Store in downtown Indianapolis.
I borrowed a gray wig, old lady spectacles, and a red and white dress from my grandmother. So, a young 22 year old newly married couple disguised as Santa and Mrs. Claus went bearing Christmas gifts for an anonymous single mother and her children from our church.
To this day, we still don't know their names nor they ours. All we know is that it blessed us more to be able to give this young single mother and her children a wonderful Christmas.
That's what it's all about: Giving gifts in celebration of the birth of the Christ child to a lost and dying world. Let His birth, life, death, and resurrection not be in vain. He came to give Eternal Life to all who would believe in Him, accept Him as their personal Lord and Savior, and live a life committed and surrendered to Him.
* * * * *
Christmas was as a Child
My most memorable Christmas occurred when I was only 5 or 6 years old. My family had attended Midnight Mass and on the way home I was watching the sky for Rudolph’s blinking nose. I was sure I saw it as my dad hurried home. When we arrived home, my uncle was there. My mom, dad and uncle were talking and I was just too excited to go to bed. They all reminded me several times that I needed to get ready for bed so that Santa would come. As I danced around in the kitchen disobeying, I heard a large clatter of bottles on the back porch. ( My mom was a Coca- Cola fan and at that time you could return the glass bottles for a deposit on the next pack). I knew Santa had arrived and he was coming through the back door, because we did not have a chimney. I am sure that no child has ever jumped into her pajamas and gone to sleep as quickly as I did. I will never forget that night and the magic that I felt and still feel every year because of it. I wish that every parent knew how to instill that magic in their children the way my mom and dad did. My dad will not be here with me this year and I miss him dearly. He is in my heart always. Thanks mom for making every Christmas special and for creating that memorable Christmas. I love you so much.
* * * * *
Greatest Christmas Memories
Before I Knew the Truth
No specifics, but, My greatest Christmas memories are before I knew “the truth” about that guy from the North Pole. After that the magic disappeared. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I started to appreciate it again and then when I had children…….complete circle!
* * * * *
My favorite Christmas memory is Waking up on Christmas morning after opening presents the night before and seeing my mom, dad and my niece Sylvia in the kitchen preparing breakfast.
Sylvia was only 2 or 3 and she insisted on helping my mom make biscuits. She asked, "Maw what does flour smell like?" and before my mom could answer her Sylvia sniffed it and began to cry it burned. She was so sweet and never again did she sniff flour. I think the smells and the laughter are what I remember most about the holidays at my parents house.
Jackie Sue Smith
* * * * *
To My Father
I’m really proud that you were chosen to be my dad for many reasons, mainly the fact that you stood by your family no matter what. You were there in times of illness through the deaths of two of your children. When times were hard due to when you injured your leg with a sledge hammer while working on building a new highway on Madison’s hill-top. Because you needed the money, you continued working, then developed blood poisoning and then pneumonia and were bed-fast for weeks, no job, no money. Some other dads might have called it quits and gone on to greener pastures, but not my dad!
Mom always said I was your favorite, but I think it only seemed that way because I always stayed close to home, watched Dottie, Ken and Edna and did the cooking while you and mom both worked at the Powder Plant in Charlestown.
Remember when you took me downtown Madison to buy a stove just for me to cook on. I got to pick it out, that was a real thrill. I couldn’t have been happier if you had bought me a new bicycle. I remember going to Holwagers Grocery store and buying steak and green beans for supper that night and my first attempt at making gravy. Everything turned out fine except the gravy, which was so thick, I could hardly stir it, after all a whole cup of flour. I hid it under some trash in the garbage can. Wonder whatever happened to that stove.
Dad I just want you to know I am proud and fortunate enough to have a dad who liked children, for I have wonderful brothers and sisters to share my life with, all made possible by you and mom.
There’s something I want you and Judy to know, when mom died it devastated all of us. We were still grieving six months later, when we learned you were dating Judy, we weren’t at all understanding about it and some of the family even quit coming home, but as time heals, all of us have come to appreciate the fact that she has been a good wife and companion to you. I just want her to know that I like her and I think she knows that. In fact, I think she is terrific. I think when Judy loses her mom she will better understand how we felt, it was too much too soon. Since this is your 18th year together. I just wanted you to know that I think you are a great dad.
My dad passed away six months after I sent him this Christmas letter. Judy told me how good it made him feel and how he kept it and reread it.
She gave me the letter and I take it out and reread it occasionally and think of my wonderful dad, especially at Christmas time.
* * * * *
with Family and Grandparents
In Lake Station, Indiana
When I was a child me my mom and dad use to go to Lake Station, Indiana where my grandma and Grandpa Parks lived I remember my last year going there was Christmas 1987. It was a very cold and snowy Christmas I new that when we got there the house would smell so good my granny would be cooking what she could the night before and making her famous fried apple pies. My grandpa would have went and got nuts fruit and candy of every kind all put in bowls all over the house. We always ordered pizza the night before so my granny would not dirty her kitchen as she called it. Then next day my aunt Brenda and her family and my Uncle Jr and his family would all gather in the house a small 2 bedroom house seemed like there was no where to sit. My grandpa would sit by the tree and he would hand out the presents and you could not open it until everyone had one. After opening all the gifts my grandpa and grandma would say they did not need any gifts just having us all together was enough. Then my grandpa would tell his best Christmas as a child he got 4 walnuts an apple and a peppermint stick and a new pair of pants and he said he thought they were rich. My grandma would say how her father would go out and kill the largest turkey that they had been fattening up for weeks and they always had bread pudding. After all there great stories we would eat and sit around and play games and enjoy are time together.
My grandpa has been dead since May of 1999 and my Granny (Dorothy Parks) is 86 and still living my kids love her as much as I did as a child and I love to look at them talking to her knowing she is telling them a story that I am sure I was told as a child. How I would love to go back in time I would never complain about how crowded it was or the thought of hearing another story of when I was a child I walked a mile up hill in the snow and never missed a day in school. Oh I would love to hear just one more of those stories or sit in that small living room and just talk one more time. So cherish each and every moment you never no when its your last.
* * * * *
A Christmas Tree
In 1946 or 1947, my older brother, a younger sister and I attended a one room school in Switzerland County, Indiana. We had a snow storm a couple weeks before Christmas, leaving about six inches on the ground.
It was the custom for the kids at school to go find a Christmas tree in the surrounding country side about a week before school was to let out for vacation. In those days farmers didn’t care if a bunch of kids walked across their property or cut down a tree. Since there weren’t any pine in that part of the country, we used cedar and they were always such a nuisance. The teacher, Mr. Wiley, had one of the eighth grade boys bring an axe to school on a Friday morning. After taking roll and informing the school that any one wanting to, could go for the tree except for the first and second graders. They were too small. I don’’t think he wanted to go either. One of the older boys was put in charge, but we hadn’t gone a couple hundred yards before the leader and a girl couldn’t agree on which way to go or how long to stay out. The boy wasn’t interested in getting a tree, but wanted to stay out until about time for school to be dismissed. The girl wanted to get back in time to decorate the tree with the little one’s since they had to stay behind. One half of the kids went one direction and the other half went towards our farm located about a mile away. After walking, playing, throwing snowballs and making enough noise to let the whole country side know where we were, we found a really nice tree about eight feet tall and perfectly shaped. It was located in our pasture and not far from our home. Since we didn’t have an axe, Don, my older brother, along with a couple other boys went to the house, while the rest of us built a fire and played in the snow until they returned. Finding the tree and cutting it down was easy, but pulling it back to the school was a huge chore. Mr. Wiley cut it off and sat it in place with the help of every one. Then we spent the rest of the day decorating and singing carols. Finally the other group returned just before time for school to be dismissed, which is what they wanted. They did manage to bring a tree in, but had cut it down across the road from the school.
* * * * *
Magical Time at
Christmas in Maine
Growing up in Maine, Christmas was magical, lots and lots of snow and cold weather to make you really think you lived in the North Pole with Santa and his elves. My parents did, and still do, live on several acres of woods in Auburn, Maine. Every Christmas for as long as I can remember, our family and close friends went on a Christmas night walk in the woods. Just when your stomach was full from a large delicious meal and you were sliding into a food coma after a fun day of presents, food and fellowship, my parents would motivate all of us to get ready for mother nature. Mother nature is very active every year in Maine on December 25th.
Over the years, we romped in four feet of snow, 20 degrees below zero, ice, etc. It was a big production to dress appropriately for the weather and my parents made sure we did. Face masks, snow shoes, two layers of gloves, long underwear from L.L. Bean. My memory of the moon each year is so vivid. In the darkness, the stars and the moon seemed within reaching distance and they were the only light we used on our annual family Christmas night winter adventure walk. Our dogs loved this experience and could not wait to get out the door once we started getting dressed. There were times that the snow was so deep they could not move in the drifts and my dad and our friends carried them in backpacks so they could still participate.
An hour or two later when we got back home, we had hot chocolate and whip cream to warm us, curled up by the fire and all fell asleep listening to Christmas music. Every year I was reminded of the God given beauty of nature, even in the pitch black still of the night, and the thankfulness of blessings of family, close friends, and health.
* * * * *
Those Remembered and Missed
Christmas, memories, I remember and miss is back ten years ago, when my family would gather Christmas Eve at my oldest daughter’s (Lisa) house or my sons’ house (Tim) The house was full, grandkids waiting to open their presents. Special dinner of turkey and all the trimmings. The children opened their gifts first. That was so the adults could take pictures of their smiling faces. Special times like that brings back so many precious memories. Hearing the laughter, everyone talking at once. Since that Last Christmas, 2005, my duaghter (Jeannie) is now celebrating Christmas in Heaven. We all miss her smiling face. She loved Christmas and family get-togethers. Our tradition on Christmas eve we still have, It’s not the same without her. But I know she is there with us, we keep her memory within our hearts. This Christmas, my little family has sent our Lord another Angel, my youngest daughter (Cindy) to celebrate Christmas with her sister and our Lord in Heaven. Our Lord took her home nine months ago. It’s going to be hard this year. But as we’re all together, I’ll feel that they are both with us. I’ll be sad, but happy too, knowing they are happy being together again and God has chosen two special angels for His Kingdom. I think of them often when they were young, the Christmas we shared and when they had their own Little Families. Christmas is a Special Day the time to celebrate the birth of our Dear Jesus. And I’ll celebrate knowing he is always with my girls. Family get-togethers are o special, enjoying each other, holding loving memories for all to remember. So this Christmas. I’ll wish my girls and my mom and dad in Heave and my family here on Earth the Merriest Christmas ever.