Category Archives: Christmas

WOW 2017

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     I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  I tell you 2016 flew by so fast I was surprised it was that time again.  But we had a wonderful time.  My family was together and that always makes me happy.  Both of my sons and daughters-in-law are Christians and they are teaching my six-year-old grandson to serve God.  I know we can’t make that decision for him but at least we can give him the foundation.

     With that said I must talk about one of my pet peeves.  I hate it when I hear someone say ‘Christmas is all about the kids.’  No it isn’t!  Christmas is about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  We are celebrating His birth.  Yes, I get the gift giving concept because God gave us His Only Son as a gift that we can accept and have eternal life.  I guess you could say Jesus was the First Christmas Gift.  And listen, I love giving at Christmas and I love getting gifts also but please let’s remember the real reason for the celebration.

     Don’t get me wrong I love children…well most of them anyway.  I have been around a few I found hard to tolerate but that is not the child’s fault.  There are no bad children just terrible parents who fail to teach what they should.  But that’s a subject for another post.

     Thank you for stopping by and come back whenever you want; you are always welcome.  And please when you hear someone say ‘Christmas is all about the kids’ explain to them what Christmas is really about.

God bless.

Circle Dates

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I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year.  We got to spend Christmas with our oldest son and wonderful grandson.  Our youngest son is a minister and could not make it home this year but we keep up the hope for next year.  He is working for God and that is what’s more important.  Again our oldest son had New Year’s dinner with us.  We are so blessed that both our sons are Christians and we all have a close relationship.

Did you make any resolutions?  Did I?  I don’t know that I would call it a resolution but I do plan to work more on my manuscripts and try to continue my Creek posts.

So I will see you on the Creek later.  Stay safe and God bless.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS

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I know it isn’t Christmas Eve yet but I have to work tomorrow (the hospital doesn’t close for holidays.  People still need our help.) I want to wish all of the kind people who follow me a very, Merry Christmas.  I hope your day is everything you every wanted it to be and that you have a successful New Year.

I’ll be back in a few days with more post but in the mean time please spend time with your family and friends and be thankful for all you have.  I hope to hear from you again in the New Year.  God bless.

 

 

CHRISTMAS ON THE CREEK

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The first Christmas on the Creek I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t a baby and I knew there was no money for pretty gifts or even the fancy red apples and oranges so juicy the juice ran down your hands when you divided it into sections.  Those luxuries were things of the past.

Our fireplace was black as pitch inside and large enough I could almost stand in it with the tips of my fingers barely touching the sides when I tried to stretch the width.  We only had a small stack of split logs on the back porch so Momma kept only one piece nestled in red hot coals in the fireplace.  It was just enough to keep the chill off the living room if you stood almost or on the hearth. The rest of the house was like a freezer. We wore heavy sweaters and slept together to try and keep warm.  Momma piled the bed high with her beautiful hand-made quilts; so many it was hard to turn over. It was like sleeping under a thin mattress.  Wind whipped around the corners of the house and howled low and mournful. Frigid air whistled through the cracks in the floor. When we woke in the mornings we could see our breath when we exhaled. I was glad to go to school where at least it was warm then I felt guilty because Momma was home in the cold. She stood for hours ironing for the ladies who arrived in shiny new cars and left the baskets, filled to overflowing with clothes. They spoke just enough to give Momma orders about how they wanted their laundry done. When they picked them up and handed over the meager pay they didn’t even say “thank you.” Momma said she did not mind because it helped keep food on the table.

Christmas Eve we went to bed early, as usual, to save our firewood. I lay there with a big ache in my stomach and wondered if Daddy was warm in Heaven. Did he know me and Momma were almost out of food? I thought not because Heaven is a happy place and Daddy wouldn’t be happy if he knew our situation. Then I felt hot anger boil through my body like melted lava. How could he leave us like this? I balled my hands in to fists under the cover and clenched my jaws. I wanted to hit something… anything. Then my face burned with shame. Of course Daddy would not leave us if he had a choice. If I wanted to blame anyone I should get mad at myself for running my big mouth about sharing our food when we had plenty. I took a deep breath and silently asked God to please forgive me for being so selfish and now having mean thoughts. I sure didn’t want more bad times to come our way. What if Momma died too because of my mean spirit? Her back was toward me so I rolled over and snaked my arm around her middle. She smelled like Ivory soap.

“I love you, Momma” I whispered because I thought she was asleep. “Don’t worry ‘bout no presents, long as I have you that’s all I need.”

She patted my hand and her voice sounded choked when she said “Oh sweet girl, you are a blessing.”

She wouldn’t think I was a blessing if she knew my evil thoughts so I never told her about them.

Later, I guess she thought I was asleep, I felt her shoulders quiver and she stifled a sob. Momma was crying. Momma never cried except when Daddy died.

The next morning the smell of coffee perking tickled my nose and woke me. I smelled something else too but I couldn’t figure out what it was. Coffee was good enough! We hadn’t had coffee in over a week. I eased from the warm bed and the room didn’t feel as cold as usual as I stuffed my feet into my old black Converse tennis shoes with holes in the toes.

I found Momma in the kitchen frying eggs. A pan of biscuits was on the cooling rack and soft Christmas music oozed from the old radio on the windowsill. It set there because that was the only place it would get reception.

She turned and smiled “Merry Christmas! ‘Bout time you got up I thought you had decided to skip today.”

I headed to the coffee pot. “Where did we get coffee?” I reached in the cabinet for a mug “and biscuits?”

“I saved the coffee as a treat for today and you know we always have flour.”

“But what about the lard and buttermilk?”

“We got lard and I reckon water is gonna have to do instead of milk.”

She flipped two eggs on both of our plate then started making gravy.

The lid of her big canning pot, setting on the back burner of the stove, clattered softly as the steam hissed out forcing it up then down. The smell escaping with each bounce made my mouth water. “What’s in the pot?” I sneaked a pinch of a biscuit.

“Old Red.” She poured the gravy in a bowl and carried it to the table. I noticed she had covered it with her best white tablecloth.

“You killed our rooster?” I cried not believing what I had just heard.

“Yep, but he ain’t lonely in that pot ‘cause Pearl’s in there with’im.” She motioned for me to bring our plates to the table as she carried the platter of biscuits.

“You killed our hen too! Now what are we gonna do for eggs?” I could not believe she would do something I considered plain dumb.

“Sit down Caroline and let’s thank the Good Lord for this here breakfast we ‘bout to receive.”

I knew better than to disobey her even if I did think she had somehow lost her mind. I sank onto the chair and bowed my head. I kept thinking about those two chickens in the pot as she said a humble prayer.

When she said “Amen” she took two biscuits and put them on my plate beside the eggs and smothered them with brown gravy then she did the same with her own. “Eat ‘fore yore food gets cold.”

“Momma…”

“Caroline, you worry too much. The Good Lord always takes care of us. Ain’t you got food to eat this morning?”

“But what about tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow has got enough worry of its own so don’t borrow it for today. It’s Christmas, relax and enjoy what we got. Them two old chickens cost more to feed than buying eggs, now eat.”

We had just finished our breakfast when a man knocked on the door and asked Momma for our chairs. When she carried two and had me drag the other two to the door I knew for sure she had lost her mind. Maybe the cold done froze her brain.

I helped her make the chicken and dumplings without asking any more questions. She had already killed the hen and rooster and gave away our chairs so I might as well enjoy what we had left.

I heard people laughing and talking outside and Momma looked at me. She nodded, “It’s time” she said as she lifted the big pot from the stove and carried it to the door.

Once outside I saw that the men had made long tables by balancing them on sawhorses with chairs crowded around both and the women had covered the tables with sheets. Every family on the Creek had brought something to share for our Christmas dinner. The huge bowls of collards had steam wafting from them. We had black-eyed peas from one garden, lima beans from another, squash, fried okra and any vegetable or whatever someone had to share. There were huge platters of fried chicken, biscuits and cornbread. Someone had even brought two chocolate cakes and pecan pies. I held my breath unable to believe my eyes. The men had dragged logs and huge limbs from the woods behind our homes and had a huge bonfire snapping and crackling not far from the tables. It was against the fire department rules to have a bonfire inside the city limits but no one bothered to check on the Creek.

We all ate our fill and afterwards, the adults relaxed and drank coffee as they visited; telling stories of past years and swearing this was the best party yet. The children played Keep-Away with a bright red ball that someone probably got from Santa. We played chase and hide-and-seek; everyone was laughing and happy.

The sun was sliding behind the trees and the sky was light gray streaked with rose and yellow when Pastor Jones took out his guitar and began to strum the strings. Hot tears filled my eyes and I quickly turned my back and stepped into the shadows so no one could see me cry. Momma seemed to always know what I was thinking and how I was feeling she came up behind be quietly and patted my back. “Don’t be sad Caroline, he’s here. He’s right here with us in spirit.”

The men played their instruments and we sang Christmas carols and hymns late into the night as the fire hissed and popped and slowed burned itself out.

That was the best Christmas I can remember. Even though there were no fancy gifts wrapped in pretty paper we all had the best gift of all, the gift God gave us, the gift of love. This was the true meaning of Christmas; it should be sharing what you have and laughing and enjoying being with family and friends.

 

Thank you for stopping by, I hope your Christmas is filled with love and happiness and we all remember the real reason we are celebrating. God gave us His Son so we can be part of His family and share His love with all.

Please stop back soon. God bless.

Gathering

Christmas on the Creek

A RIDE IN THE COUNTRY

 

     It was a beautiful day here in Central Florida with the temperature in the high sixties which is as high as it has gotten in the last few days.  We’ve really had some cold nights already this year which is unusual.  Anyway, even though we have plenty of work to do before our party on Christmas Day my husband and I decided to take a nice ride in the country.  The leaves on several different kinds of trees have turned the most beautiful colors.  Maybe they have done so in years past and I failed to notice because I was still working but this year the forest is so breath-taking.  In my opinion North Carolina can offer nothing better as far as colored leaves go.  I took so many photos, one of which appears above.  There are several more on my flickr site which you can reach from this page by clicking on “Photos I’ve Taken.” 

     Then on highway 60 between Tampa and Mulberry we stopped at a restaurant named “Cowboy Steakhouse Saloon.”  The food was spectacular.  I order a grilled chicken sandwich and it was the biggest piece of chicken breast that I have ever gotten on a sandwich at a restaurant and let me tell you I’ve eaten at many restaurants.  The chicken was so moist and juicy and it came with a large order of steak fries.  My husband is a big eater and his salad was almost too much for him.  The greens were very fresh and the steak was cooked just right.  Our waitress, Lia, was efficient and friendly.  She said the connecting saloon has a dance every Friday and Saturday night and one other night which I believe was Wednesday but don’t quote me on that.  I’ve included a picture of the dance floor below. There is a large Western Wear store next door and out back a rodeo arena.  You can find Cowboy Steakhouse Saloon ten miles east of Brandon and twenty-two miles east of Tampa.  The menu is a little pricey but well worth the money.  I highly recommend this place and if you do stop in please tell Lia that you heard about it from my blog?

     Yes, we still have lots of work to do to be ready for our party Saturday but our afternoon ride was so rewarding.  This time of year when everyone is rushed and it seems all our days are hectic it is good medicine to take an afternoon ride in the country, enjoy the beautiful leaves and relax.  After all the season is not about being stressed out.  The day is about celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ so why not take one afternoon and appreciate some of the blessings He has given us in nature.

I hope you stop back by again soon.

God bless and Merry Christmas.

READY FOR CHRISTMAS?

Hey y’all.  Is everybody ready for Christmas?  You have the tree up and  it and the whole house is decorated, all your shopping is done with the gifts wrapped and under the tree and you’ve even done some of the cooking that you could prepare ahead of time?  Sounds great doesn’t it?  You would thing since I’m retired that I would have all these things done.  And you know what?  I sort of thought I would too.  I even planned to be more ready for the holidays this year .  Not!!!  I still have to decorate the tree and only half the presents are wrapped (because I had them wrapped at the store when I purchased them.) 

     I even promised to do more writing on my current manscript but I haven’t done that either.  Oh, it isn’t writer’s block because I know what I want to say and where the story is going.  I think it is called LAZY!  Honestly, I’ve just taken up too much time enjoying my back porch while having a cup of coffee and watching the wild animals that come to visit and eat the food I leave for them.  Come on, it is winter and it is hard for them to find food else where, right?  Anyway, the last couple of weeks it has been too cold to sit out on the porch, yes even in Florida, brrrrrr. I know, I know it is not as cold as up north but listen if it drops below 60 I’m grabbing my heavy coat.  So… instead of sitting on the porch and watching the animals I sit at my dining table and look out the big window and watch them.  This retirement thing is great!!  But I promise you and myself that I will do better after Christmas.  I will make myself get on a schedule and finish that novel that everyone is asking me about and then start another one.  But until then, relax, kick back and have a cup of coffee, hot chocolate, warm apple cider, whatever and have a MERRY CHRISTMAS.  God bless.