A Christmas in the past

Published 2:18 pm Wednesday, December 8, 2021

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Ah, Christmas time is upon us once again. The sounds of cash register keys being punched or nowadays it is the little beep of the scanner as thousands of people fill shopping malls, shopping centers or department stores. Filling carts with obscene amounts of toys, jewelry, and clothing. Spending money some don’t have just to buy that perfect gift. Hey, I am not immune. I just spent a small fortune on Christmas myself so for the next year I will need to find two extra jobs to pay it all back. Oh, lest we forget, there are the events going on around the Tri-Cities and so that is what I want to discuss in this week’s column.

Last week my lovely girlfriend’s sister Kathie invited us to go to the Rocky Mount Historical Site in Piney Flats for a walkthrough. It is called the Candlelight Christmas Tour. I have never been however my girl Lorie has been a few times even working there for a stint so she had already built it up before we even began the walkthrough.

After entering the building, we discovered first there was refreshments being served and a photo op for Santa Claus to which I was forced to take part (not the refreshments the Santa Claus photo). And since we arrived early I could not resist walking through the museum, something I am hopelessly addicted to. Once our time began we were seated in the library to watch a nice welcome video. I must admit being surrounded by so many history books it kept my attention for most of our time in the small room. Once the video ended we were shown outside to where the sidewalk was lit by lanterns that gave off a sweet romantic glow — one that would make your girl hold tight to your arm and lay her head on your shoulder as you walk. We were led from cabin to cabin and in each one we were regaled with stories from actors who did a superb job in costume reminiscing about life in the 1700s. Some of the best moments came when they tried to engage us in conversation, oh and a word of warning, do not mention any sort of modern technology. They have no idea what it is you are speaking of. After all, they are living in the 1700s. Once the tour completed we were lead to more refreshments and craftsmen selling their beautiful work, or delicious jams and jellies. So, if you’re looking for an honest treat of an event grab the family, girlfriend, or boyfriend, make a reservation, go out and enjoy the night of standing around bonfires or just listening to the old stories. You will not be disappointed I promise.

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By Lorie Ann McReynolds

What is your favorite Christmas memory? Is it that baby doll you asked Santa for and then found under your tree Christmas morning? Or was it that shiny remote control Corvette car you begged your parents for? Is family gatherings and an assortment of Grandma’s traditional recipes more what fills your thoughts? Or is it sitting in your church listening to the precious story of the birth of the Christ Child? My favorite memories are all the above, well except the Corvette.

Christmas was always such a special time in my family. When I was a little girl, our Christmas tree would have those huge light up bulbs on it and the silver icicles that you just would throw on the tree. Those icicles were not my mom’s favorite decoration because of the mess they would make when they dropped to the floor. But my dad and I sure did enjoy throwing them on the tree. I remember how excited I was during the weeks leading up to Christmas. At the time, I never realized that some Christmases, my parents struggled to buy us gifts. So, sometimes there were not many gifts, but they always made sure we knew we were loved. My mom would spend hours in the kitchen cooking because all my family would come to our house to eat Christmas dinner. I loved the excitement in the air. The anticipation as the stack of presents grew under the tree as my family would add to it. But I guess my all-time favorite memory is my dad’s fruitcake he would make from scratch. He would spend days looking for just the right ingredients. Then we would spend hours shelling walnuts and pecans. Actually, I hated cracking all those nuts. I had to be very careful because he needed whole pecans to decorate the outside of the cake. However, even though I hated shelling the nuts, I adored those moments with my dad. Those precious moments of just me and him preparing his fruitcake. I still have pictures of the infamous Worley fruitcake.

When I was blessed with a child of my own, I wanted to make sure he had special Christmas memories like I did. When he was a little boy, we would set out cookies and milk for Santa. He would be so surprised Christmas morning when the cookies would be eaten, and the milk would be gone. And then he would see his special gift from Santa. Now that he is grown, the surprises have changed, but I still hope they make special memories for him.

This Christmas will be very special for me. I am blessed with a new love in my life, Tim. He has awakened those childlike hopes and promises in me that had been missing. The thrill of wonderful surprises. The joy of finding just the right gift for him. The anticipation of the look on his face when he opens that unique gift. God truly blessed me this year with the special gift of an extraordinary and charming gentleman that has captured my heart.

If you have any special Christmas memories and would like to share them here, email me at timsimpson2008@gmail.com. Also, from now until Christmas, if you would like a free audio book by Tim Simpson, any book of your choosing, email him at timsimpson2008@gmail.com.