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

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Music of Christmas

I love Christmas music. For many years, I have begun listening to all my favorite albums and artists on November 14, for my birthday gift to myself!  I love all the carols and traditional music as well as newer artists and music. Some of the oldest and dearest are ones I have played on the piano and have the sheet music. This one could be one of the first copies of Irving Berlin's White Christmas!  It is tattered and worn and fragile, but I still love opening it and playing the chords and melody from its yellowed pages.  So this year, I sit down and play again. Sometimes Nora hears and joins me on the bench and plays her own version.  And this year, once again, I will watch the movie and sing along with White Christmas and Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep!  Merry Christmas!  

Friday, December 20, 2013

To Mary Ann From Daddy


On December 18, John William Howard Teal, my father, was born to Thomas Jefferson (1877- 1958) and Ida Mayfield Teal (1870 -1958)  Ida must have considered her first child a gift for her own birthday on Christmas day a week later.  Three more children, another son and two daughters were quickly added to the family because Ida was in her late thirties when she married.  Times were hard for poor farmers, so Howard, his sisters Edna and Lela, and the youngest, a brother named Woodrow worked hard along with their parents on farms, one in an area called Mt. Enterprise in Cherokee county, finally settling in the community of Bullard, Smith County, Texas, where they farmed and had a small weathered clapboard house. I remember visiting my Teal grandparents.  Papa Teal, 7 years younger than Ida, was a round white haired man with a red face.  He was hard of hearing so he seemed very loud and gruff.  Ida was a tiny woman with white hair worn in a tight bun.

Daddy was loving and attentive to his parents, especially his mother, calling her "Mama."  Many people have told me he was one of the kindest men they every knew.  He was also kind and caring to our Mother and to my sister and me. He did have a temper but rarely lost it.  Since he only had a 7th grade education, he worked very hard to earn a living. He was working at Cameron's cafeteria in Tyler, TX when he and Mother married.  They both continued to work there for some time. During World War II, they moved to New Orleans, LA so he could work as a welder in the shipyards. After they came back to Texas, he worked in the Bon Ton Cafe in Jacksonville, and eventually owned a restaurant with his brother. Later he owned and operated the Bus Station Cafe across from the Liberty Hotel in Jacksonville.  My first job was in that cafe. I was twelve years old, and pleased to greet customers and take their orders.

Although they didn't live on the farm, my parents purchased land from my maternal grandparents where Daddy kept a small herd of cattle, had a garden with a fruit orchard and grew some crops.

Daddy made a profession of faith and was baptized in the cotton gin pond in Bullard before he and Mother married.  He was a faithful member of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville and rarely missed a church service where he could be found on the same pew two rows from the back every Sunday.  He loved his grandsons and they loved going with him to feed the cows.

I never doubted that he adored me and I adored him.  He was proud of my good grades and the fact that I went to college.  He has been dead for over thirty years but I still miss him.  It is part of Christmas for me to honor his birthday.  He was not big on gift giving, but every Christmas he put chocolate covered cherries under the Christmas tree for me from him.  Today, I bought a box of Queen Anne Chocolate Covered Cherries and put the unwrapped box under the tree with all the wrapped gifts.  Thank you, Daddy - you are still a gift to me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Again!

                                   
                       Howard Teal and his first grandson, Sean Parker, Christmas 1968


This picture speaks to me of Christmas past and Christmas present, even Christmas yet to come.  My Daddy is holding our first son. How proud he was!  Sean loved his Papa, and already loved books. They are delighting each other with the reading of The Night Before Christmas.  Can't you hear "...up the chimney he rose?"  With this book, as in most, arriving at the last page meant "again, read it again!"

So, as I bring in the boxes of decorations and begin pulling out all the old familiar ornaments and set up the manger scenes, I am brimming with both tears and smiles, thinking how good it is to do it again.  I set up our advent wreath and candles and fill the big basket with all the children's Christmas books read and reread so many times.  I stack my Christmas piano music and practice the arrangements of White Christmas and Silent Night that I have played for so many years now.  I  am thankful that I did most purchases for gifts before Thanksgiving, so that shopping is not on my to do list, and I can spend  more time re-calibrating during Advent.  I listen to my favorite Christmas CD, James Galway's Christmas Carol.  On the way to Bethlehem, again.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

There's No Business like Snow Business


Our granddaughters who live in North Texas had a White Christmas! Maddie made snow angels and snow balls. Santa had to leave the wooden playhouse in pieces because he had trouble putting them together in the heavy snowfall. No snow for us in South Texas, but I did watch White Christmas! Our family here gathered for the day, enjoying cooking and eating and gifting and singing around the piano, with a number of telephone conversations with the snow angels and their angel parents.