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Showing posts with label Christmas Carols. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas Carols. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Ky Terrell

Ky and Clyde Terrell, circa early 1950's

I recently saw a FaceBook post referring to the son of my friend Barbara Nichols. We called her Bobbie, a college friend who got her degree in nursing at the same time I did. She married, as I did, before we graduated. But she was pregnant during our senior year with their first child, a son they decided to name after my own matrnal grandfather. She heard me talk about Papa Terrell's name, shortened for understandable reasons. I believe he was named for my great grandmother's father, Hezekiah Wilson. It is easy to think how a tiny baby boy born in 1885 and named Hezekiah Peyton Terrell would come to be called "Ky" for the rest of his life!  When I noticed the post about Ky Nichols, I thought of my grandfather as I often do and realized I have never written a post that was just about him. I loved him dearly and knew that feeling was mutual.

My mother often told stories of how proud he was when I was born, his first grandchild. The earliest stories included ones of his getting down on the floor and letting me ride him like a horse even though he had been "laid up" with a bad back before we came. He was toothless and loved the angel food cake and divinity without nuts Grandma made for him. He was an avid baseball fan, leaning over his small radio to listen to the games.I remember his laugh, hearty and loud, and his cheerful spirit in spite of heartbreak and hardships like loosing his oldest son at age 13 to a hunting accident, making do during the depression, failing health including a stroke, and suffering along with his other sons during mental health crises. He was a farmer and at one time owned a small general store with his son Travis. My memory does not include his owning a car. He thumbed a ride at the bottom of the hill they lived on near Bullard to go to town for Grandma's small list of supplies. 

When he died in 1965, Joe and I were in Oregon. Before computers and cell phones, a long distance call in which Mother told me caused me to weep for not being able to say goodbye to him, for not being there for my grandmother and mother, and for knowing I could not make it to the funeral. We were preparing to move back to Texas within a week. Plane tickets were too expensive to consider. The trip from Corvallis, Oregon to Texas would take days. When we did get there, I remember Mother and Grandma were in the kitchen of the house where I grew up on Sunset Avenue in Jacksonville. And I remember that as I embraced my grandmother and sobbed, she was the one who comforted me.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Winter


Nora and Joe and I lit the first Advent candle the day after Oliver was born. We have been marking the days by hanging the tiny figures on our vintage Advent calendar. We have baked Candy Cane Cookies, joyed in the twinkle lights of the Christmas trees, and tried out a few carols. Solstice has come and gone, darkness leaning now toward the light - Advent reflections are in everything. Even in our part of the South Texas Gulf Coast we have had a share of cold weather. Winter is here, although the picture is one from years past. Our Peace sign in the front courtyard is out for Christmastime, but the blessing is for always.

  • “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” ― Edith Sitwell

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Collage

If one picture is worth a thousand words, this is a very long (and happy) post!  More comments about our Christmas Day next week, but for now, please enjoy our gathering and celebrating!























Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Together

The happiest times on my calendar right now are the days I care for my granddaughter Nora! Every third week is "our" week.  At 3 months, there are certain constants: feedings, diapering, and naps. I love the tending that requires. And I love the joy of the in between times - the cuddling, conversation and cooing, the rocking and singing and togetherness that refills her and comforts her and is important to her as well as those first 3 essentials.

She doesn't mind my crackly voice singing "A, You're Adorable."  We make it through that song every diaper change. If there is an entire clothing change, we sometimes get through several songs from The Sound of Music!  She talks to me with her eyes to say thank you, and flashes a coquettish grin when I brush her hair.

Yesterday we walked outside to catch a raindrop and she smelled a basil leaf when I made my lunch. She likes dots and patterns so I choose the blouse I will wear for her. We play peek a boo and pat a cake and chant nursery rhymes. When I rock her to sleep, I sing many of the same old hyms that my mother and grandmother sang to me. We have discovered that Christmas carols are wonderful lullabies!

Our other granddaughters are a joy to me and teach me just like she does that there is so much to look forward to. They help me remember some favorite lines from a poem by Mary Oliver:      "Pay attention.
   Be astonished.
    Tell about it."
 - all so much more fun when we do it together!

Friday, January 11, 2013

In recent years, I have seldom put away our Christmas decorations before Epiphany, which has now come and gone.  I even leave a couple of little trees up and add red tissue paper hearts so they become Valentine trees.  This year, I was late getting to the rest of "all things Christmasy".  As I stripped the big tree in our family room, I held each dear old ornament for a second and savored the stories they tell. My camera helped.  We don't limit the tree adorning to things we have bought for that purpose; these items hanging near each other here are a good example.  The glass ball in the center hung on our family tree when I was growing up, so it has graced decades of trees.  Many of those trees stood at the window of the small living room at 1128 Sunset Ave. in Jacksonville, Texas where my parents moved in 1944, and was still in use for many years after I grew up and left home to start my own family.  Daddy died in 1982, shortly after their 50th wedding anniversary.  Mother eventually stopped putting up a big tree and passed some of the tree decorations on to me, so they have traveled far and outlasted any number of trees! This ball and its peers hold dear memories of my childhood and my parents, but it also speaks endurance to me!

On the left is a small torn piece of paper with a tiny handmade Christmas tree.  It arrived one year as a card from dear friends.  I love it perched on a branch as it reminds me of friendship and how much it means to make something for a friend.

On the right, the small cross-stitched banner is my own handwork.  I love the little carolers.  I love more their song.  So, as I go back and forth to the garage with my boxes packed with Christmas heirlooms, they leave behind their message.  Joy to the World, the Lord has come!

Friday, December 21, 2012



Carol of the Birds

I am strangely attracted to a Christmas carol rarely sung -
 treasure of music, words with sweet mystery,
 quiet, wondering melody
Questioning feathered twitters.

“Whence comes this rush of wings afar,
Following straight the Noel star?
Birds from the woods in wondrous flight,
Bethlehem seek this Holy Night.
Tell us, ye birds, why come ye here,
Into this stable, poor and drear?
Hastening we seek the newborn King
And all our sweetest music bring.”

Stirring some ancient warmth within me
I play the notes and sing each verse,
 decorate a small Christmas tree
with vines, berries, woodland birds.

Greenfinch, Philomel sing
Re, mi, fa, sol in accents sweet
from woodland edges, farmland hedges
Noel, Christ on earth with man to dwell

Someone singing this tune for 400 years,
before that, once an older one now lost?
Could it be I am pulled by what I cannot remember?
Song and my great grandmother both born in southern France

She died when I was a baby.
Did she sing it, rocking me
in the old wooden rocker in which I rock my own grandchild?
Noel.