12/10/13 Day 4 – Christmas Presents
I’m up to Day #4 of my Christmas Thoughts. Today, I’m thinking about Christmas presents, actually, I’m thinking more about the packages themselves than the contents!
Let’s begin by channeling our inner-most “Willie Nelson” …. Sing Along With Me
“Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue
Wrap your presents to your darling from you
Pretty pencils to write I love you
Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue
Crowded streets, busy feet hustle by you
Downtown shoppers Christmas is night
There he sits all alone on the sidewalk
Hoping that you won't pass him by”
Oh, what a great song! It’s been done by so many great artists over the years, but NONE quite like Willie! Just hearing that song makes you picture these great gifts sitting under a Christmas Tree or Packages under someone’s arms hustling and bustling up and down
I’m not sure how one person can take a very nice gift or box, beautiful wrapping paper and gorgeous ribbons and bows and turn it into something that looks like it was taken out of the Augusta County Landfill? I must be, by far, the worst wrapper in the world. (No, I’m not talking about that kind of Rapper!) In the past, when we’d have Christmas family get-togethers, everyone would open gifts from me first, because otherwise, they might get mistaken for trash or already opened gifts and shoved in that trash bad circulating the living room.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I have NO “artistic” or “crafty” talent what-so-ever! I’ve known this all my life. Back in elementary school, I couldn’t draw a stick figure. Then, a few years back, Little Brother
BUT, picture Christmas without the wrapped gifts. Without the gifts, a beautiful Christmas Tree looks like a Charlie Brown tree. Where would Santa be without that bag of packages? Clark Griswald’s Aunt Bethany wouldn’t be able to wrap up her cat or jello with cat food, AND would that great song “Pretty Paper” make any sense at all if it wasn’t for Christmas gifts?
Now, I’ve tried “bagging it” over the past few years. You know, buying those gift bags, and slipping your gifts into there, but it’s just not the same! They may look messy when I’m done with them, but I think I’ll continue to “attempt” to wrap up the gifts I buy for my loved ones. One of my favorite parts about Christmas is seeing the anticipation and excitement in a child’s eyes when they’re unwrapping those gifts. It’s not necessarily the package or even what’s in the package that’s special. It’s the fact that you care enough to remember someone during the holiday season! And always remember, “It’s The Thought That Counts!”
12/9/13 Day 3 – Christmas In Mayberry
As I think about Christmas and some of my favorite memories and traditions, a lot of movies, TV Shows and songs come to mind, and I’m sure before I’m done with this series of articles, I’ll write about a number of them. I think one reason I enjoyed these so much, is that we’d, usually, sit down as a family and watch these programs. Growing up, I was the fifth of six kids in my family, and it wasn’t often we’d have “family time.” Back then, it didn’t mean that much to me, but now, looking back, it was ultra special!
Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve been a huge fan of “The Andy Griffith Show.” (Just thinking about it makes you want to whistle the theme song, doesn’t it?) Believe it or not, the show was on for 8 seasons and 249 episodes, and through all those years, they only had one Christmas episode. It was simply titled, “A Christmas Story,” and originally aired on December 19, 1960.
If you’ve not seen it, the whole episode involves Ben Weaver, the Scrooge-like owner of “Weaver’s Department Store” in Mayberry. He has Andy & Barney arrest Sam Muggins for making moonshine (cutting into his “spirits” business) on Christmas Eve. They feel bad and move their Christmas Party to the courthouse, so Sam and his family can celebrate, as well.
Ben, having no one or nowhere to go on Christmas tries his best to get thrown in jail, but, Andy, having a huge heart keeps coming up with excuses not to arrest a man on Christmas. Finally, Andy catches on, arrests Ben and they have a big Christmas celebration (with Barney playing Santa Claus) at the jail.
I’ve seen this episode probably 1000 times over the years, but nearly 53 years after its first airing; it means more to me now than when I first saw it. I can’t think of Christmas without thinking of Barney, with his face sticking out, beard and mustache tucked way under his chin saying, “Ho, Ho, Ho Merry Christmas.” I always laugh when I hear Andy say “A Little Tree for a Little Room,” when he gives Sam a little Christmas tree for his cell. And, I always get a tear or two in my eyes when Andy and Ellie (the “Lady Druggist”) sing “Away in a Manger.” One of the greatest memories I have was watching this episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” with my Little Brother
I can relate a little to Ol’ Ben, since both of my parents have passed on and in the hustle and bustle of this crazy world, Christmas just isn’t the same as it was when I was a kid. As mean as he could be, all Ben wanted was to spend a little time with somebody. Sometimes the greatest gift you can give someone is time! It doesn’t cost anything, but it can mean more to them (and probably to you as well) than winning the lottery. This holiday season, think about giving the gift of time!
... WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH... WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON.
* PRECIPITATION TYPE... POTENTIAL FOR HEAVY SNOW. THE PRECIPITATION MAY START AS A PERIOD OF SLEET... ESPECIALLY SOUTH OF INTERSTATE 66 IN VIRGINIA... THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA... AND U.S. ROUTE 50 IN MARYLAND.
* ACCUMULATIONS... POTENTIAL FOR FIVE INCHES OR MORE OF SNOW.
* TIMING... NEAR DAWN TUESDAY THROUGH EARLY TUESDAY AFTERNOON... INCLUDING THE TUESDAY MORNING RUSH HOUR.
* TEMPERATURES... UPPER 20S AND LOWER 30S.
* WINDS... NORTH 5 TO 10 MPH.
* IMPACTS... HAZARDOUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS ARE PROBABLE DUE TO ACCUMULATING SNOW... WHICH WILL CAUSE ADVERSE TRAVELING CONDITIONS. THE SNOW WILL LIKELY IMPACT THE MORNING RUSH TUESDAY WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR ACCUMULATION RATES OF 1-2 INCHES PER HOUR FOR A TWO-TO-FOUR HOUR PERIOD FROM DAYBREAK TO MID-TO-LATE MORNING.
A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW... SLEET... OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.
Some parts of the Valley are in the dark because of power outages.
Dominion Power Company
- Rockingham County: 265 customer without power.
- Augusta County: 2 customers without power.
Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative
- Augusta County: 366 customers without power.
- Shenandoah County: 4 customers without power.
- Rockingham County: 1 customer without power.
- Page county: 1 customer without power
...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY MORNING THROUGH MONDAY MORNING... THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY MORNING THROUGH MONDAY MORNING. * PRECIPITATION TYPE...SNOW AND SLEET WILL CHANGE OVER TO ALL FREEZING RAIN SUNDAY AFTERNOON AND LASTING THROUGH MONDAY MORNING BEFORE CHANGING TO RAIN MONDAY AFTERNOON. * ACCUMULATIONS...2 TO 4 INCHES OF SNOW AND SLEET AND A QUARTER INCH OR MORE OF ICE ACCUMULATION. ACCUMULATIONS UP TO A HALF INCH POSSIBLE AT ELEVATIONS BELOW 1500 FEET. * TIMING...SNOW AND SLEET ARE EXPECTED TO BEGIN IN THE CENTRAL FOOTHILLS AND SHENANDOAH VALLEY SUNDAY MORNING AND SPREAD NORTHWARD ACROSS NORTHERN VIRGINIA...THE EASTERN PANHANDLE OF WEST VIRGINIA AND THE POTOMAC HIGHLANDS BY LATE SUNDAY MORNING. A CHANGEOVER TO FREEZING RAIN IS EXPECTED MIDDAY SUNDAY AND CONTINUING INTO THE NIGHT BEFORE CHANGING OVER TO RAIN MONDAY MORNING. ELEVATIONS ABOVE 1500 FEET WILL CHANGEOVER TO ALL RAIN SUNDAY EVENING. * TEMPERATURES...IN THE MID TO UPPER 20S TO NEAR 30. * WINDS...LIGHT NORTHERLY WINDS. * IMPACTS...HAZARDOUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS ARE PROBABLE DUE TO SLICK ROADS AND ICY CONDITIONS ESPECIALLY ALONG INTERSTATE 81 AND IN VALLEY LOCATIONS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW...SLEET...OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.
12/5/13 Day 2 – Egg Nog
I was struggling to decide what Christmas thought or memory to write about today, then, all of a sudden, while wandering through Wal-Mart, it nearly jumped out of the dairy case right at me. E-G-G-N-O-G!
What would Christmas be without eggnog? Now, keep in mind, I don’t drink liquor at all, so I’m talking about the “sweetened dairy-based beverage traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, and whipped eggs.” But feel free to let your imagination run wild, as to how you like your eggnog.
I researched to see where eggnog originally came from, and it seems that no one is for sure. I found 3 different answers, in the last few minutes. I found that it originated in
I think my sister, Gay, introduced me to eggnog when I was just a youngster. Even though I’m not much of a milk drinker, and I was very skeptical to try it, I loved it at first taste. While at the store earlier, I realized that eggnog has changed over the years, they now have fat free, pumpkin flavored, caramel flavored, and even Non-dairy eggnog. So far, in my life, I’ve never had homemade or flavored eggnogs, just straight from the carton. You know, I cannot drink or even see eggnog in a store without thinking of Cousin Eddie (from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.) Remember Eddie and Clark drinking their eggnog from those Moose Head Mugs?
Maybe it’s not a tradition or brings back sentimental memories, but I know that every year at Christmas time, I always look forward to being able to indulge in a glass or two of eggnog. Which brings up the question…. If the stuff is so darn good, why isn’t it readily available year-round? Just like those Little Debbie brand Cherry Cordial Cakes… OH MY GOODNESS! I won’t even get started on how much I love those!
Well, it seems like only yesterday, we were talking “turkey” and giving thanks…. Now, we’re smack dab in the middle of the Christmas Season. I thought that, with 15 work days remaining until Christmas, I’d share some of my “favorite” things about Christmas and the Christmas season. The Statler Brothers recorded a great song years ago called, “Christmas To Me.” This one and my future writings will describe what Christmas is to me!
12/4/13 Day 1 – Christmas Cards
I know that I don’t look much like it, but I’m a Christmas Card-A-Holic! I absolutely love Christmas Cards. I love writing, them, sending them, receiving them, and reading them… even that trip to the Post Office to buy those high priced stamps for them. Well, maybe that’s stretching it a little bit!
I think that the reason I enjoy them so much is the memories they bring back. When I was little (maybe I should say “young,” I haven’t ever really been “little”), I used to sit down every year, shortly after Thanksgiving and help my mom write our Christmas Cards. I had nice handwriting, so, normally she’d write most of the cards and I’d address them. I can still picture it, like it was yesterday, normally there would be a Christmas movie or TV special on as we’d sit at the dining room table, drinking coffee and deciding who to send cards to…. Aunt’s, Uncles, Cousins, Brothers, Sisters, friends, co-workers, and quite often there was a name or two on our “list” that neither of us could remember who they were. I’d ask my mom, and she’d say “I don’t know who they are, but let’s send them a card anyway, it’s Christmas!” (That’s the kind of lady my mom was!)
When we’d receive a card in the mail, we’d open it, look at the picture, and read the inside of the card. Then, we’d grab that roll of scotch tape and hang that card in the doorways of our house.
After Christmas, my mom was always very anxious to get the tree “undecorated” and taken down and everything put away, except for the Christmas Cards, and she’d always say, “I may leave those there for another day or two.”
I was going through some stuff at home the other day and came across a big box of Christmas Cards. I think we’ve saved every card we’ve ever received. Some from relatives who have gone on to their Reward, some from friends I haven’t heard from in years and even a lot of the kids I’ve worked with as Co-Hosts or Weather Students, who now are in college, some married with their own children. Every one of those cards have very special meaning to me.
It seems like now-a-days, the tradition of sending Christmas Cards is dwindling. Every year we get fewer and fewer, and it may be the expense of buying and sending them, or the fact that we’re all so busy anymore. But as long as I’m alive and able to do it, I’ll be spending an evening (or a few) writing out some Christmas Cards to send to the people who mean the most to me. And, when I get one, I always read it, and now, hang it up in my radio studio, so everyone can enjoy.
And, every time that I write or receive a card, it makes me think of my dear, sweet mother and those special memories we made each year writing cards, and taking time to show others how much we care and think about them. (God, I miss her, especially at Christmas Time!)