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Around October, I start mixing my recipe for the holidays.
I begin with Christmas music, and if I don’t have a good portion of Bing Crosby, mixed with Rosemary Clooney and dashes of Frank Sinatra, Burl Ives and Johnny Mathis, I become Grinch-afied. A smidge of the Davis sisters, Skeeter and Betty Jack, singing “Christmas Boogie,” is just icing on the cake. Most of these artists were popular in the 40’s, before I was born, but I listened to Skeeter, as a love-sick teen in my West Virginia home, in the 60’s.
Then I watch two or three versions of Dickens’ “Christmas Carol.” I follow with “The Bishop’s Wife,” starring Loretta Young, David Niven and, my all-time favorite handsome hunk, Cary Grant.
As the pressure of holiday havoc intensifies with baking, cleaning, shopping and wrapping, I try to guard my heart, as modern Christmas mayhem begins to steal my joy, in this most joyous season. That’s when I turn to my Bible, where I should have begun, and read the Christmas story to restore my CHRIST-mas perspective.
I put my tree up early (but, not before Thanksgiving is over), and as I unwrap each ornament, it’s like becoming reacquainted with old friends. Some carry hints of pine and spices, from Christmases past. All hold sweetness mingled with sadness over the fleeting years that lasted like moments, when my curly-headed children were under my roof, all snug in their beds waiting for Santa—times gone forever.
I’m a sentimental sap and I usually reflect on the past from Thanksgiving until New Year’s day. But today, I’m thinking more about where I am, than where I’ve been, and I am blessed to be in Grant County, Kentucky.
Here in ‘my old Kentucky home,’ I’ve developed relationships that have enriched my life, and I have been humbled to be trusted with the stories of people like Agnes Beach (The Doll Lady), Mildred Ferguson, Caroline Ransdell, Cecil Jackson, Dorothy Kennedy, Julian Wills and Mildred McClanahan (a.k.a. Loki Langsdale.) People who exemplify what ‘life well-lived’ looks like. And I’ve wondered: Who’s going to fill their shoes?
Then my thoughts turn to the high school students that I’ve interviewed, like Cody Durr, Miles Faulkner, Amanda Phillips, Mackenzie Cloe and other Youth Performance Award winners, most of whom were already mentors to younger kids, while they were still in high school. I consider the Grant County High School JROTC students, who exude discipline and patriotism, addressing adults with “yes, ma’am—thank you, sir.”
And fears for the future vanquish.
Through my columns, I’ve shared some sorrows, as well as a whit of wit and whimsy, and you, the readers of the Grant County News, have responded with phone calls, letters, e-mails and encouragement, when we meet at church, McDonalds or Wal-mart.
So as I wax nostalgic, and count my blessings—I am reminded of Psalm 68:19, which says: “Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation.” And I don’t have to look far to realize how blessed I am—with faith, family, friends and you, my Grant County neighbors, who have many demands on your time. Thank you. Thank you for reading, and thank you for your kind words and dear hearts.
(Linda Lawrence is the editorial assistant at the Grant County News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)