After making the regular Wednesday morning paper delivery and wishing everyone a merry Christmas, I returned to the office. Shortly after returning to the office, two employees of Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association, Earl Gibson and Scoot Taylor, came in. David arrived shortly after and he and Earl visited, while Scoot and I reminisced.
Scoot was another “Main Street Kid.” He, Baine Turnage, and Lisa Jaudon took care of the east side of Main, while Jim, Lease Thompson and Alice Shields, took care of the west side. Of course, there were others who assisted on both sides of the street. These kids had a great time growing up in the Valley. Scoot and I remembered the freedom these youngsters enjoyed. They were welcome in every business and were perfectly safe when wandering all over town, both day and night. We also remembered all the things they got to enjoy that are no longer available—the pastry shop, theatre, skating rink, swimming pool, and Scoot reminded me that we had a pizza place way back then, located somewhere south of our building.
I’m still trying to think of exactly where it was located, who the owner was and the name of the business. Scott and Earl were in to wish us a merry Christmas and to deliver a wonderful holiday treat, which we have certainly enjoyed. We really enjoy these Christmas visits.
Another visitor was Pamela Redwine from the Extension Service, also bearing gifts, and we have certainly enjoyed this also. It’s always great to visit with Pam and we appreciate her column each week.
Going over to sit with Mom Thursday afternoon, I was thinking it was going to be a pleasant drive without having to stop for the school buses as I got near Batesville. Well that delight was short lived, as I came up behind the garbage truck, I’m sure working late to get the job done before the holidays. Started stopping and starting just past the Pisgah Church and the truck finally turned off Eureka Road at the Courtland Road—about seven or eight miles. And school buses only make few stops—garbage trucks stop at every house and it also takes much longer for them to pick up the cans than it does for the children to get off.
It took me about 15 to 20 minutes longer to make my trip across the Eureka Road. Didn’t have any trouble with crossing deer though. I was never traveling faster than ten miles an hour and was stopping so often they could have crossed safely anywhere on the route.
Mom is usually very happy and agreeable. Not so Thursday, she must have had a bad day, also. She didn’t want to eat her supper, but I encouraged her and she finally ate and even said it was good. Then when we put her to bed, she didn’t want to be disturbed. She fought us, refused to turn over and it just went from bad to worse. Thankfully it was only once during the weekend. Rest of the time she was very agreeable, happy, and thought everything was great—like it that way.
I ran out to the van to get my Sunday School book Friday afternoon and coming out the door was a very attractive lady. She looked familiar, but I could not come up with a name. She says, you’re a Kilgore—one of Don’s sisters. I says, “Yes, I’m Betty Shearer from Water Valley, his oldest sister.” She was Norma Jean Hudson, wife of the late Dr. Tubby Hudson, a long-time Batesville veterinarian. While Don was in high school he worked for Dr. Hudson, and they had remained close friends. She had been in the NH delivering Christmas gifts to the residents and asked about Mom, since she had not seen her. I explained that Mom rarely came out of her room. Norma says, “I have one stuffed toy left, do you think she would enjoy it?” Took it to Mom and she held it until supper time. I’m sure she and Caroline will enjoy playing with it when they enjoy visits.
Got up early Christmas morning and attempted to ice a coconut cake. Had not made a coconut cake in probably 20 years—this is a Jimmie chore. Got out the old cookbook and found seven-minute frosting. Measured carefully and the icing cooked up to perfection – thought I had it made. Last time I made this cake I was still grating fresh coconut (which is much drier than frozen) and using the milk cooked down with sugar to the right consistency (cream of coconut is much thinner).
Also, the humidity Sunday morning was higher than I’ve ever seen it. Put the cream of coconut on the first layer and forgot to let it soak in thoroughly—was in a hurry. When I put the icing on it just started to weep, put on the coconut and it got worse.
Stacked up all three layers and, to my surprise, the icing and coconut just keep floating off. It went on the counter and floor. I scooped it up and threw it in the sink, put on more and the same thing happened. Finally after getting it all off the cake plate, I fastened the cover, took the rest of the icing in a bowl and told them if they wanted more icing they would have to just serve it like a sauce.
This worked — cake looked good except that it had no frosting on the sides and it tasted good. My advice is don’t try to make coconut cake in high humidity. Should have made no fail Mandarin orange, German chocolate, carrot or a yule log.
I had made chocolate and lemon pies and the meringue held up fine. Knew not to try divinity candy, even though I had toasted the pecans and had eggs at room temperature.
After I finally got unstuck from the kitchen floor, I showered, dressed and attended our worship service at Woodland Hills. It was an abbreviated musical program, featuring a solo, “Mary Did You Know?” by Travis York, followed by a short devotional by or pastor Bro. Lynn Jones. Travis’ music was very inspiring, and Bro. Lynn brought the most touching Christmas sermon I’ve every heard. We had very good attendance for our celebration of the Lord’s birthday.
After worship I went over to the Cole home, where five of the Kilgore children, their spouses, children and spouses and grandchildren gathered. We were so happy to have visiting with us nephew Michael’s wife’s parents, Mary and Bubba McDowell. After brunch, we opened gifts and I’ve never seen so many presents. The children each got enough at this Christmas tree for several children and they also got gifts from their other grands, parents and Santa.
The favorite gift this year was a little coloring tablet, which used plain water to paint with. After the pictured dried you could color it again and again. Don’t know if it ever wears out—It was colored by ever child from one to teens, and some of us adults. It was a toy to be enjoyed by anyone one to 100. One year old great niece, Wallis Drake (daughter of niece Madison and her husband Woody, granddaughter of Don and Gina Kilgore), got to keep it most of the time and she had a ball with it.
My presents were wonderful—from Carolyn I received a beautiful graduated stack of pie plates and from Jimmie a crock pot casserole server, with locking top. From Celeste and Jim came my order of shelled pecans and a wonderful surprise gift, a book that I’ve wanted for a longtime, written by Jim’s long-time friend, Greg Lizenby’s Mother.
Now our Christmas holiday is over—It’s Monday and we’re back at work as usual.
Kitty Hale’s daughter, Sheila, came by for a few minutes and we shared some of our wonderful memories of Kitty. Our sympathy is extended to her and to the Hale brothers and all their families. We will miss her, especially all those wonderful hugs she always shared. Sheila says, “I’ll give you one for Mom.” She did and it was so special.
Here’s wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous new year!