I can’t believe it’s 2 days before Christmas!! Where did December go? Where did 2021 go??
As a kid growing up on a farm with two older brothers, a dog or two, several cats, milk cows, sheep, a couple of ponies, and a go cart, I didn’t know we were dirt poor. I don’t think any of us boys did really. Being the youngest I was the last to learn how to drive a tractor, milk a cow, and drive that go-cart (which nearly got me killed once, but that’s another story). I could mow the yard with an old gas push mower, and I never told anyone that thing scared me to death!
That old farm house was two-story, and the only way the heat could get upstairs was up the stairwell. There was one bigger bedroom and a smaller bedroom. Our oldest brother got his “own bedroom” and my other brother and I were in the bigger room. In the winter the upstairs was cold, for sure, but not freezing; that’s just the way it was.
We had about 250 acres, with pasture for the dairy cows (all 8 or 10 of them), a few sheep, some hogs, horses, and some row crops, which I think was usually corn or beans, and some hay fields. There was some timber (“the woods”) where me and my brothers and the neighbor kids would roam in and play in, and no one ever worried about getting lost (or worse, kidnapped!). Our parents worried more about us getting hurt and it was a 20 minute drive to the nearest doctor / hospital. If someone ever called an ambulance (no 911 service then!) then you knew it was bad – really bad.
We had lived on another place about half to 3/4 miles away, and I don’t recall living there that much; the place I called “home” was the farm. And of course we had a garden, as did most people. Mom canned corn, green beans, and in season we had fresh tomatoes, potatoes, peas, corn on the cob; seems like we might have had a watermelon or two, and certainly pickles. Milk and eggs were plentiful (except one time when I went into the hen house and broke a bunch of eggs; I don’t remember that whipping from Dad, but Mom said it even scared her).
A couple of the main food “groups” I remember was pancakes and cornbread. I remember Mom making dinner on a wood-burning kitchen stove (yeah, I’m old!!), and there wasn’t any better cornbread that ever came out of an oven. A tall glass of fresh milk, cornbread crumbled into it, with a teaspoon of sugar stirred in, was gooooood! And there was bacon and beef (Dad was one of the best country butchers around).
We went to a little country church about 1 mile or so away from our farm. And Christmas time was special. I don’t know who really purchased them, but I remember getting an orange and some candy (maybe some peanut brittle). We never had a better treat! And then at home on Christmas morning, we often had a big orange in our stocking.
We went to that church every time the doors opened. Most of the men – and the deacons – were veterans of WWII. Hard-working, sincere, loyal, all having lived through and survived the war. They didn’t talk about it, but they lived out the lessons they learned from it, and they believed in God and America and the only other thing important to them: Their families and their neighbors.
Christmas for some isn’t always made of good memories. Living in a sinful world, heartbreak and heartache is just part of it. But this Christmas, I pray that you can remember the good times, the good things that have happened in this season.
Most of all, I pray that you are able to experience the joy and peace that was brought to this earth with the birth of a Child Who is the very Essence of Christmas.
And His name will be called Jesus; He will be the Savior of all who believe in Him.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11)