By Betty Shearer
The Herald staff has enjoyed lots of delicious treats during the holiday season. The Extension Department brought State College Grape Juice (excellent I heard—David and Jack drank it all), cream cheese, pepper jelly and crackers and other goodies. County Agent Steve Cummings supplied us with that wonderful State College Cheese; TVEPA came in with a huge tray of cookies and they were delicious; Kim Jones brought peanut butter fudge and pecan cookies that were great, and there were probably others—I didn’t make a list. If you brought it, we enjoyed it and we thank everyone for remembering us. We also received many beautiful cards and we appreciated each one. Don’t know how we’d get through these busy holiday schedules without our many friends who take such good care of us.
Delivery of the Christmas edition to the stores was hard work. My work load was made much lighter, though, by all the helping hands along the way. I had doormen and folks carrying in bundles at several locations. Do appreciate all the help.
After getting the papers into the stores and filing the postal report, I left at noon. Got home just as the bottom fell out—Don’t think I’ve ever seen it rain harder. Just as I stopped in the driveway, a sheet of water fell. I watched for a few minutes and realized it was not going to stop, ran the 20 feet to my front porch and in this short time I was completely soaked. Packed my bag, got the hanging clothes together, and packed the food hamper. Was waiting for the lightning to stop before I hopped into the shower. This took awhile. Finally, around three o’clock, I was ready to depart. Had no problem crossing the Pope-Water Valley Road. Got to the Cole house, unloaded and found that I’d forgotten my bag—just didn’t pick it up. So it was a quick trip back to the Valley.
Arrived back in time to go to Karen and William’s for supper. Karen’s parents, Sarah Beth and Son Harris, along with Sarah Beth’s mother, Marge “Ma” Bateman from Claridon, Arkansas, were there and it was so good to visit with them. Also had fun with great-nephews Harris and Ian, who were watching some exciting cartoons and other TV Shows, playing fun games, etc. It is so much fun to be around these youngsters. Michael, Jimmie and Bill’s youngest son, was also present.
We got to hear some great animal stories. Sarah Beth told about a skunk that got into their home just before oldest daughter’s wedding. Arriving home, they found the backdoor open. Probably blown open by the wind, they suspected. Said Julie went into her bedroom and saw what Sarah Beth was sure was the neighbor’s black and white cat. Julie say, “I don’t think so.”
Sarah Beth said she thought, “It can’t be a skunk!” She peeped into the room and sure enough in the closet, along with Julia’s wedding gown and trousseau, was a skunk. Son Maury went outside, took the screen off the window, and built a ramp to the open window. Sarah Beth says the skunk would climb the ramp, but was afraid to jump to the ground. Another route out needed to be found, so they built a barricade to the open kitchen door. Knowing the critter might jump the barricade, they opened all the outside doors. The skunk did jump but then went directly out an open door, without spraying anything. Sounded like a miracle to me.
Then “Ma” related her skunk tale. Said she had a family that lived under her back steps for a long time, and that she was never sprayed. However, she said she did give them a wide berth.
Then there were the horse and dog stories. William says anytime they go to the barn to let the horses out into the pasture, their entire dog pack tags along and stands directly in the door where the horses are to exit. Says that Great Dane Scooby Doo invariably gets trampled. He’s as big as a small pony, but just doesn’t get out of the way. Border Collie Gracie (senior member of the pack) is still around and there are several new comers that I don’t know. Scooby goes up stairs, but will not come down. They have to push him down and that is quite a chore.
We enjoyed a delicious soup and cornbread supper.
Christmas morning we all gathered for breakfast and opening presents. Bill says the family is getting old—it was after nine before anyone showed up. In years past we’d have them knocking on the door by six. Mom had five of her chicks and lots of grands there for this gathering. No one wanted lunch, so we just visited until late in the afternoon.
After this gang left, we got ready for Karen, William, Harris, Ian, Michael and his son, Ruff. This was gift opening time for the Cole family. It was such fun watching these three boys, along with the adults, play with the toys they received. Ruff had a cute computer game—it was much to complicated for me.
All three got remote control cars and helicopters. The helicopters were inside toys and didn’t break anything. The rotors would pop off if they hit an object. Once Jimmie flew Harris’ over the kitchen wall. I just knew it had landed in my sink full of water and was ruined. Jimmie says, “No I think it’s in that chocolate pie I left uncovered.” Missed both and we were glad.
Friday brother Terry, daughters Nita and Lisa, along with their children, Paige, Spencer and Seth arrived. Terry lives in Brandon; Nita, Paige and Spencer in Pearl; and Lisa and Seth in Mobile. The rest of the family came back to visit with them, and we had our big Christmas meal at noon. In addition to the traditional turkey, ham, dressing, etc., Bo cooked deer and I fried okra (tons of it.) Again Mom had all six of her children with her and that makes her holiday. The only grand not present was Jim, and most of the great-grands were there.
Was good to get back to work this morning though, and I got to set Mr. Bill Sissell’s Out on the Mudline Column. All the folks he visited with, and wrote about, were also friends of mine and it was so good to hear from them.
Usually he sends his article email, but he has a new computer and it was giving him problems, so he brought the column over last Wednesday. I’m glad he did, because with the busy holiday season I might not have gotten around to reading it otherwise.
Happy New Year to Everyone!