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Christmas And An Old Pot Belly Stove

Updated on June 22, 2014

Christmas Eve, As A Child

Christmas in South Carolina, where I grew up, was usually cold. However, though we children prayed for snow, we seldom saw any before February or March, if then. So, to have a white Christmas was very rare indeed.

Christmas Eve was the most exciting night of the year. It was so very hard to go to sleep. The anticipation of the coming morning and the awaited events were unbearable. For weeks, we had shared and planned and visited Santa Claus with our lists of hopeful gifts.

As the minutes passed, while lying awake in our beds, we could hear our parents in the living room, watching television or talking quietly. My sister and I were always so worried that they would stay up and Santa would pass us by. Didn't they know he wouldn't come to our house if anyone was awake?!! This made it even harder to get to sleep.

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Christmas Morning Finally Arrives!

At some point, we must have fallen asleep, because all of a sudden our eyes popped open and the realization came rushing in that the sun was just beginning to peep over the windowsill.

Though certain we had only shut our tired eyes for just a minute, surely Santa had come during that blissful moment between sleep and sunrise!!

As we jumped out of bed, we could hear our parents whispering to each other something about it being too early and should they make us go back to bed. But it was too late! We had sped through the kitchen and burst into the living room like wild horses chasing the wind!

Under the tree, we always found fruit and nuts and firecrackers and sparklers for lighting as soon as it was dark, etching pictures of light in the darkness.

On one side of the tree, I would find my gifts from Santa and on the other side, were my sister's! Oh, the excitement of discovering our treasures from Santa's visit!!

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God's Reminder

by Eugenia S. Hunt

Overhead, with outstretched wings,

Guardian of beautiful things,

A glowing hope, our memories,

Above festive glimmerings.

With spun gold upon the crown,

Foretelling of the secrets found,

Wrapped in colors, eminent joy,

Known to every girl and boy.

Standing there, a sentinel bright,

Within one tiny, flickering light,

Giving sign of things to come,

Christmas morning's tune to hum.

Children gather round with squeals,

Discovery, with amazement, reels,

Amidst the wondrous hue, we find her,

His Christmas Angel, God' reminder.

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One Special Christmas

One such morning, as we began to settle down with our gifts, my father came in and began to crack walnuts for us. We weren't strong enough to break the shell so he would crack them for us and pick the meat from the center, passing each of us pieces, one at a time.

Suddenly, my mother came into the room and ask him if he had looked outside. We all ran to the window to find the most beautiful site I had ever seen on Christmas morning. Everything was covered in white but it shined and glistened in the light of day.

It wasn't snow...it was ice...ice all over everything, as far as we could see.

The day had been planned to drive the forty-five minutes to our grandparents house for Christmas dinner. My parents were concerned about traveling that distance on icy roads but finally decided to venture out. If it got too bad, we could always return home.

As the morning progressed, the weight of the glistening ice began to pull the limbs of the trees to the ground. It was as I had always imagined a Winter Wonderland to be.

We bundled up in our coats, chose one gift from Santa each, to take with us in the car, and set out for our grandparents home around mid-morning.

The trip was uneventful, thankfully, but the scenery, even through the eyes of a child, was breathtakingly memorable!

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Arriving At Our Destination

It took a little over an hour to make the trip because my father had to drive slowly and carefully along the old country roads.

When we arrived, we found our grandparents huddled in a single room where they had built a roaring fire in the old wood stove that inhabited that room.

Here was where they kept two huge rocking chairs pulled up close and the dining room table off to the side.

We were soon to realize that, not only was the wood stove the only source of heat this morning, but the electricity had gone off as well, due to the weight of the ice on the lines.

Immediately, the adults began to wonder how on earth they would have anything prepared for dinner. There was no way to cook the turkey without electricity.

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Our Wonderful Dinner

It didn't take my grandfather long to find an answer to our lack of a hot meal.

He told us of his childhood when all they had was an old wood stove and lanterns for light. They didn't have electricity in their home and his mother always cooked and heated their rooms with the old stove. Sometimes, when it was very cold, their mother would first warm their blankets by the stove and then wrap the blankets around them to keep them warm through the night. My mother had told me about her father doing the same thing for her as a child.

After rummaging around in my grandmother's kitchen for a few minutes, he returned with several cans and two big black, cast iron skillets. In the other hand, was a bowl full of left over biscuits from the night before.

He carefully wrapped the biscuits in a dishtowel, placing them in one of the skillets and put the skillet on top of the stove.

Then he opened the cans. He emptied their contents into the second skillet and placed it on top of the stove beside the biscuits.

Within a very short time, both skillets had taken the heat from the wood stove, warming the biscuits and the beans.

That Christmas Day, we shared a delicious meal of pork n beans and biscuits. There was plenty for everyone and turned out to be the most memorable Christmas dinner of my life.

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The Touch Of Christmas

by Eugenia S. Hunt

Christmas enters the hearts of children and showers them with wonder, excitement, and magic, confined only by the limitation of their own imagination.

It comes to the aged with memories, a renewed moment of laughter, a twinkle filling a tired eye, as long ago entwines with today, shared in stories for the young to cherish.

Its joy visits the sick and broken, bringing into each life a simple, attainable pleasure...peace.

Touching each heart, it delivers to the scorned, understanding, and to the lonely, warmth and companionship.

The story of Christ's birth causes the Prodigal to reflect on the joy of unity, the sharing with loves neglected and the wonder of his fellowman.

God touches the hearts of mankind, reminding a weary world to look fully into His face, forgetting the cares of earth, rendering them small, when cradled in His wondrous gift of Love!

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After The Meal

Once the meal was finished and the pans cleared away, my sister and I pulled the big rockers up close to the stove and rocked happily while the adults sat around the table in conversation.

Though we could still see our Winter Wonderland through the tall windows of our grandparents sitting room, we were safe, warm and totally satisfied by the old pot belly stove.

Both my grandparents are gone now and the old stove only a memory. However, I enjoy walking back through time to remember a wonderful, magically day of wonder, beauty, love and sharing with those who meant so much to me.

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Christmas Day This Year

This Christmas, carry yourself back in your memories to a time when there was the joy, the wonder, and the excitement of a simpler Christmas.

There, you will find the Christmas Spirit that we sometimes lose as adults in this crazy world we live in filled with traditions pressed upon us by commercial means.

Christmas was never meant to be expensive. It was never meant to be about spending money you don't have for gifts no one really needs or stressing because you can't.

Christmas begins with the birth of Christ and ends with the joy of our own hearts, marveling in the wonder of His birth.

Go back this year to a quieter time and recapture the memory of our childhood. There you will find, once again, the way to really "feel" Christmas through its beauty and its wonder.

There you may find that warmth of a pot belly stove, in the midst of a ice storm, still seen as beautiful through the eyes of a child.

Eugenia S. Hunt's Work Is Copyrighted

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

No one has permission to copy or use this article other than for presentation on this Squidoo Website.

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Who Is Mom To The Zoo?

My Bio

Born in the small town of Pendleton, South Carolina, in 1950, I was the oldest of two, five years my sister's senior. It was a wonderful place to grow up where the entire town raised its children. I was always surrounded by people who loved and looked out for me. I graduated from High School with the same people who were in my kindergarten class. At 59, my childhood friends are still my friends. I feel so fortunate to have known such a childhood.

After college, I worked at Clemson University until May 1972. At that time, I married and lived in Glyfada, 22 miles from Athens, Greece for two years...via USAF. We then moved to North Dakota for another two years before returning to South Carolina.

We divorced after 16 years and two children. I married my best friend two years later and moved to Florida in 1988 and together we have raised my husband's son and daughter and my son and daughter...one federal officer, one "stay at home" mother and wife, one sixth grade school teacher, and the other, after working for Florida Power and Light since age 19, is now with AT&T. In 1996, I adopted my step daughter. We are blessed with four grandsons and one granddaughter.

In 1999, we became foster parents with the Children's Home Society and had a number of children under our roof in the next 5 years. In 2001, we adopted a 13 year old girl, whom we first met at the age of 11, and is now 22. I also have spent more time in a courtroom than I care to think about, fighting for the rights of the children in our care. In 2004, I turned in my license so that I could be a full time Mom to our special needs daughter and keep our infant granddaughter five days a week while her mother was teaching.

Bill, my husband, is a retired USAF Air Traffic Controller. He is now working out of the country, on Ascension Island, with Computer Science Raytheon, as their chief controller, contracted out of Patrick AFB, Florida. This enables him to continue to do the job he loves, air traffic, and aid the military. He flies in and out on furlough and I handle things here at home. I jokingly call myself a Single Married Woman.

Actually, I am a retired Accountant/Credit Manager, now a housewife, where I enjoy writing, singing, piano, and sewing. I have had numerous poems and short stories published and have sung in churches and for church organizations for years, as well as weddings, a couple of variety shows, and even at my daughter's, and later my son's, weddings, one of the hardest things I have EVER done. We are members of Riverside Baptist church where I am a soloist and a member of the Women's Bible Study Group.

And, last but not least, we have two singing dogs. Joey, who is a two and a half year old German Shepherd who thinks himself a lap dog and Whisper, our nine pound, twelve and a half year old poodle, who thinks himself a Doberman.

I have been Mom To The Zoo since the morning after our wedding. My friend, Lee, who was staying with our four children and two dogs answered the phone from a sound sleep, "Hunt Zoo, Zookeeper Speaking."

My life has involved many changes and avenues that I would never have dreamed of and has given me challenges that I never thought I was equal to. But, I have found that God has a plan and, if you follow His lead, you can handle anything he puts in your hands. However, you have to first learn to listen to Him. No matter what we want from life, it must come in His time. He has given my husband and me more than we could have began to imagine back in high school and we have found that what we thought was so important for our futures back then was nothing to what we have done so far. I have learned from our foster children, to look forward to the future and the next challenge with enthusiasm and excitement. If they can trust and love us after what the world has dealt them, we can surely tackle whatever lies ahead with ease. Life is a series of learning experiences and I continue to find life to be both a challenge and a joy which grows with each passing year. I learn more and more about myself with each passing day!

Eugenia

Merry Christmas To All!!!

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    • Momtothezoo profile image
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      Eugenia S. Hunt 4 years ago

      @Natural_Skin_Care: So glad you enjoyed the story. We lived in South Carolina and our grandparents lived in Georgia, about a hour north of Athens in the small town of Maysville. Back then, we only had two lane country roads to travel to their home. It was an exciting Christmas for my sister and me.

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      Natural_Skin_Care 4 years ago

      My father's side of the family is from SC and my grandmother actually had a pot bellied stove. Heart warming story.

    • Momtothezoo profile image
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      Eugenia S. Hunt 4 years ago

      @Michey LM: So do I, Michey!

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 4 years ago

      Beautiful story, I love the old stove and the magic of celebrating Christmas the old way...

    • Momtothezoo profile image
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      Eugenia S. Hunt 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you for sharing my Christmas Memories with me!! MERRY CHRISTMAS to you, too...Love you!!!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love it!! Merry Christmas!! :))

    • Momtothezoo profile image
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      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @kateloving: So glad you enjoyed the story. I loved visiting my grandparents and warming by their stove! Merry Christmas to you, too!!!

    • kateloving profile image

      Kate Loving Shenk 6 years ago from Lancaster PA

      I love the pot bellied stove. We heat exclusively with wood and I LOVE it!!

      Merry Christmas!!

    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @Michey LM: Thank you, Michey!

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 6 years ago

      Just come back to Bless this beautiful story

      Thanks for writing this lens

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 6 years ago

      Wonderful story and memories well shared. Nicely presented and beautigully crafted lens as well.

    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @Spook LM: Thanks, Spook...my grandparents were important to me and I loved spending time with them. My grandfather only lived a few years after that Christmas, losing his life to cancer. However, I enjoyed my grandmother until she was 94 years old, losing her in 1997. She outlived my uncle and my father, her two oldest of four. And she was a prankster until her last days...I adored her...always loved to laugh!

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 6 years ago

      Heart warming as is so often the case with your stories. Blessed by an Angel.

    • Momtothezoo profile image
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      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @puzzlerpaige: Thanks! So very glad you enjoyed our time together! :)

    • puzzlerpaige profile image

      puzzlerpaige 6 years ago

      I felt like I was pulled up to the wood stove in a rocking chair too reading this :-).

    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @DecoratingEvents: Hello, Mandee...thank you so much for sharing my story with me. You're right...I loved my grandparents very much and it was a very special day. And, so far, there has not been another Christmas like it, weather wise, in our hometown. Great Memories!

    • DecoratingEvents profile image

      DecoratingEvents 6 years ago

      Enjoyed your memories. I can feel the love in your writing. Thanks for sharing and here's a little Squid Angel Blessing as well!

    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @Linda BookLady: Thank you, Linda...I have a great time searching for photographs that apply to the subject of each module...I really appreciate your visit and value your opinion!

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      Linda Jo Martin 6 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      You make the prettiest lenses! I love your colors and photos...

    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks, Drenda...I really appreciate your friendship through the years!!! So glad you enjoyed my story!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thanks Jeanie. This was beautiful and took me back to when we had a gas stove in the kitchen and sat around the stove and rocked. What wonderful memories.

      Thanks for reminding us of what Christmas is all about. Have a great day. Always enjoy reading your wonderful stories. What a wonderful talent you have and I am blessed to know you.

    • Momtothezoo profile image
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      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks, Phil...glad you enjoyed the story. It was fun for me to go back and remember that Christmas and spend time with my grandparents all over again...it was a really good day! :)

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      Nancy Tate Hellams 6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Oh, how wonderful. Your writing is so beautiful. I could just picture you and your sister as you awoke on Christmas morning. I could visualize your granddad as he prepared the biscuits and pork n beans. You are so talented and I appreciate your sharing it with us. Thank you.

    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @OhMe: Thanks, Nancy...I am so glad you enjoyed my story. I was on Facebook today and Mr. Kelley mentioned pot belly stoves and that is when I remembered that Christmas...I sat down immediately and wrote my thoughts down. It was so much fun to go back in time and be with them all over again!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wow, Keep up the good work Jeanie!!

    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @Michey LM: Thank you, Michey...it brought it all back to me as well as I remembered this specail Christmas with my grandparents!

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 6 years ago

      Hi! Your lens reminded my of beautiful Christmas Eves, long letters I wrote to Santa... but I was told that only "good" kids get something from that list... so I was good enough for Santa's present... I never was quite sure... but Dear Santa always came with exactly my best wish... and the carols and the dinner table... so good to be a kid in a Christion family!

      Thanks you for making me a kid reading this lens.

      Michey