Roanoke Church of Christ



By my friend, Ben
As I cranked up the ol’ Farmall ol’ Blue heard it an’ come a runnin’. He did. I were headin’ out to the north forty to cut me a Christmas tree. I were.
I picked up ol’ Blue an’ put him on the seat. I did. When we got to the top a the hill I’d let him down. I would. He were gitten’ on in years an’ the hill kinda took more outta him now. It did.
We was headin’ back to the stand of pines pa’d got from them conservation folks years ago. We were. Not only did they hold the hillside pa’ planted ‘em on, but they made a nice shelter for the deer. They did. It also gave us a good place to get our Christmas trees. It did. It were real nice that they were several different kinds of pines. So we had our pick each year of what kind to cut. We did. Most of the time around July, me’n pa would head out to them trees to shape ‘em. We would. Then in the fall ma’d come back with us an’ pick out the one she wanted. She would. Course, in time, them trees got way too big for Christmas trees. They did. So me’n pa would pick out one we knowed ma would like an’ top it. We would.
When I got just past the ol’ oak tree at the top of the hill, I stopped to let ol’ Blue down. I did. The rest of the way to the pines weren’t steep, an’ he were ready to set out on his own. He were.
I knowed he’d try to pick up a deer scent, an’ maybe run it a tad. He would. He weren’t able to stay at it as long, but I knowed it still made him happy. It did.
It’d snowed about four inches durin’ the night, an’ ol’ Blue already had his nose covered as he were sniffin’ around in it. He did. I reckoned he’d settle for a rabbit track iffen he couldn’t pick up a deer. I did.
As we passed through the cut in the woods, I saw the tree. It were perfect an’ tall, standin’ as if it were guardin’ all the rest. It were. That were ma’s tree. It were. We’d cut trees from the stand every Christmas, but not ma’s tree. It were the one what she fell in love with the third year after pa’d planted ‘em. It were. We never knowed what it were, but she told pa never to cut that tree. An’ he didn’t.
Lookin’ at that there tree I remembered the first Christmas after ma died. I did. She’d died in October, when it seemed to me everthing else were dying too. It did. So me’n pa hardly had time to think about Christmas before it were on us. It were.
It were two days till Christmas an’ pa never said nothin’ about gittin’ a tree. He didn’t I reckon I understood, cause Christmas were all about ma an’ Jesus. It were. She’d start weeks before, bakin’ an’ gittin’ things ready to give to some folks what didn’t have much. She did. The house would start smellin’ like gingerbread an’ other Christmas smells. It would. But that day it were all quite-like an’ didn’t smell like nothin’. It didn’t. I knowed pa were missin’ ma real bad like I were, so’ maybe
it’d be better iffen we skipped Christmas.
I remember goin’ to bed that Christmas eve. Even ol’ blue knowed somethin’ were wrong. He did. Cause he come over to the bed an’ laid his head on it, lookin’ me in the eye, an made a little whine. He did. I pulled the covers down an’ he knowed I were wantin’ him to get in, an he did. I wrapped my arms around him an’ cried. I did.
It musta been after midnight when I heard some movement in the house. I knowed pa’d already be seein’ what it were about, so I kept quiet. I did. Blue raised up, an sniffed the air an’ laid back down He did. That made me ponder, cause ol’ Blue didn’t take to strangers, that is until he knowed they weren’t gonna do nobody no harm.
I knowed somethin’ were going on in the livin’ room. I did. So I got outta bed an’ opened the door. There were pa, decoratin’ a Christmas tree. He were. He saw me at the door an’ stopped what he were doin’ He did. He said, “ It’s for all of us, Ben. But mostly for your ma. She’s gone, but as long as there’s Christmas, an’ folks doin’ good, she’ll always be with us.” I didn’t say a word. I just started pickin’ up the trimmin’s an helpin’ pa finish the tree. I did.
The morning light were startin’ to break by the time we was finished. It were. Pa sat down in his big ol’ chair an’ lit his pipe. He did. Pa didn’t really smoke. But in the winter an’ on some special times, he’d knock off a bowl of Prince Albert. He would. Course, when ma were alive he’d step outside, or go down to the barn. But on Christmas, ma’d smile an’ he knowed he could sit in his chair an’ puff. He did.
Bein’s that we’d been up mosta the night, we were both sleepy, so pa put out his pipe and pushed back in his chair. He did. I laid on the couch an looked at the tree. There weren’t no presents under it, which I reckoned were all right, cause ceptin’ for the tree, it didn’t seem like Christmas. It didn’t.
Ol’ Blue heard it first an’ woke me’n pa. He were kinda growlin’ at the door. He were. It weren’t no warnin’ growl. It were more like an’ excitin’ one. It were.
Me’n pa looked out the window and saw two pick-ups and a car pullin’ up in the yard. We did. It were some womenfolk from down at the church. It were. There were Dorothea Mains an’ her boy, Harold. Ma’d cooked for them when Dorothea’s husband, Julian, were in the hospital with a ruptured appendix. She did.
Well, them folks come in with all the food me’n pa could want. They did. They said they knowed it were gonna be a sad Christmas for us an’ they wanted to make it as happy as possible. They did. An’ before they left they’d reminded me’n pa of a bunch of the nice things ma’d done for ‘em over the years. They did.
Now it were just me’n Blue. Pa were gone too. He never took to church much. But I still remember that Christmas. I do.. An’ I reckon them folks what brought us Christmas dinner helped pa to see what ma saw in the meaning of Christmas. Especially the meaning of Jesus’ love in the world. I do.
CONCERNS: Gary Overstreet is now at home after therapy. Betty Foy continues therapy at Brandon Oaks. Melanie Gentry (Alisa Flora’s sister) is still having problems with vision and balance. Marjorie Wilson, (cancer) Joni Beach’s mother and father, the Voss’s, as well as her aunt Pat Voss and a niece Jody Cole. Jim Hunter, Wayne Phlegar, David Albert and Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas. Remember also Sandy Blanchard and those caring for her as see deals with cancer and sight loss. Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary (MS) Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Jenni Cullum and her friend, Sean, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.

Monday: Hebrews 4:14-5:10
Tuesday: Matthew 5:17-48
Wednesday: Genesis 1:1-31
Thursday: II Samuel 12:1-15
Friday: Ephesians 6:10-20
Saturday: Psalm 104:1-35
Monday: John 17:1-26
Tuesday: Revelation 19:1-16
Wednesday: Luke 16:19-31
Thursday: Matthew 9:1-13
Friday: I Corinthians 10:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 106:1-48

We had a wonderful and fun time at this year’s Christmas party. Judy McWhorter lead the team of Erma Williams and Holly Wagner in decorating and Judy prepared the main course of roasted pork loin. Thanks to everyone who came and made the evening complete. It was especially nice to see Stacy and David Maharrey here for the party and to celebrate Jeff Forsyth’s graduation.
The occasion included the awarding of a handmade quilt made by Judy McWhorter, to Jo and Keith Wagner. It will hang in the annex until after the holiday season. The title is “Elegant”.
The Wednesday evening soup supper and Bible study will not meet again until January 6 due to those who will be away and the bussiness of the season. We are in I Timothy and will continue on through the letters of Paul.
Today (Sunday 12/ 20) is Super Sunday. If you missed the Christmas party you can still enjoy the tasty pork loin that was served. The leftovers were frozen and will grace the table for today’s fellowship meal. Plan to join us.
There will be a simple service here on Christmas Eve. As in the past, we will sing the songs and listen to the story of Jesus’ birth from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
It has also been a tradition for those who choose, to go out to eat together following the service.
Available steering committee members are asked to meet in the library after the Super Sunday meal. The budget for next year needs to be addressed.
The Poinsettias in the windows will stay until after the first of the year. On January 10th they will be up for adoption.
Thanks to all those who worked and cooked at the Ronald McDonald House this year. Plan to be part of it next year.

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