Today as the beautiful fall leaves begin to fly of the trees, we see the beginning of a busy season in Kentucky. After all, we only have three months to get ready. We all have to work so there is not a lot of free time to make plans.
The house has to be cleaned, inside and outside. The lawn mowed and those beautiful leaves raked and mulched. The windows must be washed before the snow flies and all outside furniture and grills must be stored. The children’ play things, swings, slides, sandboxes and bikes, all have their place to hide from the cold and snowy weather.
Next, comes the decorating. We must display all our beautiful things of fall and winter. October brings out the pumpkins, haystacks and those scary ghosts, goblins and headless people sitting in your favorite chair on the front porch. Come November we add turkeys, black cats and any thing orange. Then it is December and everyone gets in the holiday spirit. (Not necessarily the Christmas spirit anymore). The scenes of the season are everywhere, homes, yards, offices, and parks and of course the mall and all the places that want to sell you something. (Anything).
During the 40s and 50’s we were also preparing for the season. It took us all working together at home to get ready for the coming winter. The summer crops were mostly taken care of by October.
The remaining vegetables and fruit were being picked, cleaned and either canned, dried, pickled or stored in a dry place for winter use. The meat was harvested and stored in the smokehouse. We didn’t have a grocery store on the corner or cash to buy things we could grow or make at home. We also cleaned. The barn, hen house, pig sties, outside toilet and smokehouse received a good scrubbing. We also cleaned the house every day as was the usual routine.
The only decorations I saw at Halloween were occasionally overturned outhouses and raw eggs splashed around.
On Thanksgiving Day we gave thanks to God for our beautiful country and remembered those who helped make us a free nation. We thanked God for the bountiful harvest and the continued health of our family and neighbors.
My mother could make any meal special. We never had the big traditional Thanksgiving dinner but the table was sure to be loaded with good nourishing food. Maybe we would have chicken and pork chops and if my Dad had his way we had mutton. Mom made delicious pies and cakes. Our favorite was dried apple pies and homemade custard pie.
The happiest season of the whole year was Christmas. When I think back to my Christmases of the past, I know that by today’s standards we were very poor and didn’t have a lot to celebrate. Oh! but we did. We were taught from a very young age what Christmas is all about.
We knew that Jesus is Gods son and that he came to earth as a baby, born in a manger in a far away place and that it is his birthday that we are celebrating on Christmas day. We had a Christmas tree, cut from our hillside and decorated with home made decorations. We did our Christmas play at school and all the people on the creek came.
Christmas morning we found something from Santa under the tree. There were not many toys. Most of the time it was something we needed, plus candy and nuts.
These are the things I remember about the Christmases of my childhood. How do I remember? They have been written on my heart for nearly 74 years.
I know the world is different today. We now live in a hectic and sometime dangerous world. It helps to take the time to remember the one who gave his best, so we can have the best, not just at Christmas, but every season of the year and all the seasons’ of our life.
It is still a wonderful world and God gave us all we need to be happy. Enjoy the things around you. We still live in the most wonderful country in the world.