by my friend, Ben
Well, it were Saturday an’ Me’n ol’ Blue’d fired up the ol’ Farmall an’ headed out to the back twenty to get us a Christmas tree. We did.
The weather were right warm for December, but I reckoned it would change in a day or two. I did. It just don’t seem like Christmas iffen there ain’t no snow. It don’t.
When we got to the back twenty, an’ it bein’ all warm an’ sunny-like, I sat down in a big ol’ tree stump what pa’d carved into a kinda chair. I did. He’d done it cause the back twenty were one of his favorite places. It were. It were the highest point on the farm. It were. From up here I could see the steam comin’ offen the coolin’ towers over at the Big River Power Station. It were fifteen miles or so as the crow flies, an’ on a clear day you could see it real good. You could.
Ol’ Blue took off through the stand of white pines pa’d gotten from them conservation folks years ago. He had a stand of ‘em on the north forty too, as well as over here. He did.
The smell a them pines trees took me back to all the Christmas’s while ma were still alive. It did. When it come to Christmas, ma were an artist in her own right. She were. She would start savin’ a little bit here an’ there startin’ about the fourth of July. She would. Even though she knowed me an’ pa wouldn’t a touched it, she squirreled it away in a shoe box way back on the closet self. She did. I knowed she knowed pa an’ me knowd all about it. She did. But I reckon it were all part of the joy ma got outta Christmas. It were.
Ol’ Blue come a runnin’ back to where I were sittin’. He knowed every inch of the farm. He did. An’ iffen I’d gone down to the house he’d a come home on his own. He would. There were times he’d just take off on his own. He would. I reckon he needed to have some time just to do whatever he wanted. I reckon dogs an’ folks were kinda alike when it come to that.
He come up an’ put his front paws in my lap. He did. He looked me right in the eye like he were about to say somethin’. Then I heard a deep kinda rumble down in his throat. I did. He’d do that when he were all content- like. He would. So I leaned over an’ got my face real close to his, an’ let out a soft deep rumble myself. I did. I didn’t know iffen we were talkin’ but he got real close an’ rumbled some more. He did. Then he pulled back an’ looked at me as iffen to let me know he were content. He did. Then he laid down at my feet an’ closed his eyes.
As I watched him breathin’, I remembered the day I got him. I did. Pa’d gone over to Pete Sloan’s farm to weld a broken rail on his wagon, an’ he took me along. He did. I liked Pete and Peggy Sloan. I did. Pete were one a them fellers what never met a stranger. He were.
Well, while pa were weldin’ that wagon rail, I were walkin’ in the barn. I were. Next thing I knowed a little pup what seemed only a few days old come yippin’ toward me outta a stall. It did. It were like it knowed me. It were. I picked it up and it were a he. He were. Pete Sloan heard the commotion an’ stuck his head in the barn. He did. He said, “That dagone dog of Kelly Jordan’s got my Molly pregnant. I ain’t sure what I’m gonna do with four pups. I reckon the Hickory Ridge Pound will take ‘em. They’re old enough to be taken away from their ma now.”
I could smell that puppy smell an’ feel him lickin’ my face. I could. It were as iffen he were mine already. It were.
When pa saw me with that pup. I could tell by the look on his face he knowed what I were gonna ask. He did. Pa were a farmer an’ he knowed a good dog were part a livin’ on a farm. So pa said he reckoned I were old enough to have a pup. He did. We weren’t sure how ma were gonna take it. We weren’t. Pa asked what we should name him. Pete said he had a lot of blue tick hound in him. So we called him Blue. The ol’ just got tagged on later. It did.
Well it were as iffen ol’ Blue knowed he had to win ma over. It were. An’ it didn’t take no time before there were a bond between ‘em that were special. It were. Lookin’ back it were as iffen ol’ Blue knowed ma wouldn’t be around too long. Fact is, she took sick an’ died the next November. She did
When I got the tree cut an’ decorated, me an’ ol’ Blue sat as the darkness fell an’ looked at the tree all lit up. We did. Ma’d been gone for years now, but she were alive in everthing about Christmas. She were. An’I remembered one Christmas in particular. I did. It were the one with the train. It were.
Just about Thanksgivin every year, Dan Watson, what owned the feed and hardware store in town would stick Christmas toys in his window. He would. So on them Saturday’s when we went into town, an’ pa’d stop at Dan’s store, I would look at the toys in the window. I would. Well, one Thanksgivin’ Dan put an electric train in the window. He did. It was on a big square track, all black an’ sleek lookin’ with a coal tender an’ five cars. On Saturdays Dan would have it runnin’ real slow-like so you could get a good look at it. It were my dream present. Thing were, we didn’t have no electricity at the farm. We didn’t
Ma knowed I loved that there train. She did. But there weren’t no way I could have it, even iffen we could afford it. So I just dreamed about what it would be like for it to be mine. I did.
Come Christmas mornin’ I woke up to the sound of somethin’ runnin’ an’ a bell a ringin’. Next to the Christmas tree were a train with a tender. It were on a circle track with a bell what rang as it went around. It were a windup train. It were.
An’ I reckon come tomorrow I’ll get it down outta the attic an’ put it by the tree. I will. It still winds up, but ol’ Blue always hated that there bell a goin’ “Ding! Ding! Ding!” He did. So I reckon iffen I wind it I’ll tie up that little hangy-down-thing what hits the track an’ rings the bell. I will. An ma’ll be there too. She will.
CONCERNS: Deloris Johnson, UVA. She is Edgar Blackwell’s sister. Rachel Mitchell is having neck issues. Gary Overstreet, Raleigh Ct. Rehab. Joanne Elder and Martha Foy as they job hunt. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones. Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Joni Beach’s aunt, Pat Voss, and a niece, Jamie Cole, Wayne Phlegar, Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, as well as a cousin, Tolly Nicklas. Also a friend of Leena’s, Chris Campbell, who has had a stroke. Ray and Darnell Barns, Gil Richardson, Stephanie Rigney, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD: DEC. 19-24
Monday: Psalm 119:1-24
Tuesday: Matthew 12:22-37
Wednesday: Revelation 3:14-22
Thursday: Galatians 2:11-21
Friday: John 15: 1-11
Saturday: Psalm 112:1-10
OUR DAILY BREAD: DEC. 26-31
Monday: Psalm 48:1-14
Tuesday: Romans 11:33-12:8
Wednesday: Luke 15:1-10
Thursday: Galatians 6:1-10
Friday: Romans 6:1-14
Saturday: Psalm 19:1-14
SUPER SUNDAY CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Today (12/18) is Super Sunday. This year, due to travel and scheduling conflicts, this will be our Christmas gathering this year. The annex is decorated and the fireplace will be blazing, and Christmas music playing. Be sure to plan to stay.
Our Thanks to Judy McWhorter, Leena Bolin, Holly Wagner and others who have worked on making the room look so cheery.
We were sorry to learn of the death of Larry Foy’s sister. She lived in Martin Tenn. and was just over a hundred years old.
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE
A service of praise and readings will be held at the building on Christmas Eve at 6:00. Karen Branch will be leading us in the songs and various ones will read the story to us from the gospels.
In years past, several have gone out to eat following the service. Feel free to join the group.
The following changes in our gathering times will be in effect until after the New Year. On Christmas morning, Dec. 25 we will meet for the 10:30 worship service only. This will also be true on New Year’s Day, January 1st. There will be no Wednesday evening service on December 28th due to the number who will be away who usually attend on Wednesday evening.
This year the poinsettias complement the window decorations arranged by Leena Bolin. They will be “adopted” in January.
LOOKING FOR SANTA
A family this church helps on occasion has two little boys, 4&6 years old who will not have much for Christmas. We were asked on last Thursday if we could help. That’s not much notice, but their wants are simple. They like cars, trucks and action figures. If you can help, wrap and bring the toys to the building before Saturday.
We have also given this family some of the wood we have behind the annex to heat their house at this time.