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Christmas And An Old Pot Belly Stove
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.
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!!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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Who Is Mom To The Zoo?
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!