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COUNTRY RAMBLIN'S by Tamara Hillman
December 2006
  country home

When I was a child, I remember the excitement I felt as the first snows of winter began, and how we tried to catch those lovely white flakes on our tongue as they slowly drifted down from gray, overcast skies.

The days of December were short but we tried to crowd every minute as chock full of winter games and fun into them as possible. And if we could get enough kids together, we sometimes would have a late night toboggan and sled riding party after dinner. We neighborhood kids would burn a couple of old tires at the bottom of a long sloping hill to give light to sliders, and also warm our cold fingers and snowy backs. By eleven p.m. we'd finally disperse, following trails back to the glowing, yellow lights of our respective homes that were in sight of the hill where we played.
We ice skated on the river when temperatures dropped well below freezing. Waters beneath the ice moved slowly giving the surface a smooth sheen when snow was cleared away. What fun we had playing whiplash, and trying to do spins and dances on ice. Falling was never painful because we were bundled in so many warm, woolen layers with snowsuits zipped snuggly over top, we only rolled softly upon landing.

December also brought the excitement of the Christmas holidays coming smack-dab in the midst of this coldest of winter months. I remember how happy that made us all no matter what our station in life. It was sheer joy just being caught up in busy fun and decorations for the holiday. And oh, the Christmas music was wonderful! We knew every word to all the old favorites and sang right along when they came on the radio.

christmas treeOn a Saturday morning a few weeks before the BIG DAY, Dad and us kids would go looking for just the right tree in the woods behind our place. Then, we'd cut it down and bring it into the house to be decorated in tinsel and multi-colored paper rings of garland we kids fashioned at school. We strung popcorn and berries too for the tree, and the star on top was usually made of cardboard covered in tin foil. (Yes, we had tin foil when I was a youngster.)

We kids were all in the children's church choir, and also participated in school plays that usually had a nativity scene reenactment and Christian hymns such as 'Silent Night,' 'Oh Holy Night,' and 'Joy to the World.'(This was before GOD was banned from public schools.) These plays and Christmas carols had a special meaning even to kids not raised in a Christian home. (I know this because my siblings and I weren't.) But growing up in a small country town, we were exposed to traditional lifestyles of the time—including church. We actually went on horse-drawn hayrides, caroling through the streets of town and adjoining neighborhoods. We drank hot chocolate, and ate sandwiches and cookies wherever they were offered. It was good clean fun, and camaraderie.

We opened our gifts Christmas Eve. Since believing in Santa Claus was prohibited in our house, we didn't have to wait for the jolly, fat man to slide down the chimney, and leave our presents under the tree Christmas morning. We didn't have a lot of material processions, but the few brightly wrapped gifts that were tagged to each of us were just as exciting then as the over abundance of things children receive today. We counted the days, waited, squeezed our presents, and tried to guess each one just as generations of kids before us had done, (and do to this day, I presume.)

I still get goose-bumps at the mere thought of Christmas, and all the memories and joy that went into this special celebration of Jesus' birth. And now the meaning has even more credence because I know the true meaning of Christmas…
angel and jesus
Here are a couple of my favorite Christmas poems I've written in recent years.

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"White Christmas" was playing,
Bing sang soft and mellow,
as we waltzed 'round the room,
I was such a proud fellow

The rug was rolled back,
and chairs set aside
as on top of my shoes
tiny feet could then glide

'Round our tree we did go
as those bright colored lights
spilled thru' frosted windows
onto snow in the night

We continued to dance,
we twirled and we bowed
as I promised myself
and my partner out loud

I would never forget
those moments divine,
or think it quite silly
with passage of time

For I knew, darling daughter,
you'd grow and take wing,
celebrating your Christmas
in the flurry it brings

But once in a while
will you stop for a rest,
think of your dad,
and how I love you best

Remember our dancing
as time slips away,
those long ago waltzes
we shared Christmas Day…


Remember, folks are watching for fruits of the spirit in you!
Fruit of the Spirit
Granny Tam

snowflake mail

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