From The Arbor Experiencing Christmas
My folks were not "church goers" in my very early years, so I cant be sure when I learned why we celebrated Christmas, but my first memory of Christmas was perhaps when I was three or four years old. Our family was just Dad and Mom, my brother Fred, and me. Dad had been transferred, either that summer or the prior summer, from Pontotoc to Corinth to work as assistant manager for Kroger.
Dad came home on Christmas Eve after having gotten a little too far into the Christmas spirits than Mom approved. And, in fairness to Dad, even a sip of any form of Christmas spirits would have met with her disapproval. To me, Dad seemed a bit happier than usual, but to Mom he was inebriated. Mom went off the deep end, and words were exchanged between Dad and her. Mom ended up crying. I was far too young to know what was going on, but I remember being confused.
My brother and I had gifts under the tree the next morning, evidence that Santa Claus had visited during the night, but I remember nothing of the excitement or anticipation of that Christmas, and I really dont remember what sort of toy I got for being good most of the year.
I didnt start experiencing meaningful Christmases until we moved to Iuka when I was five years old. In the two and a half years we spent in Iuka, I remember helping hang icicles on Christmas Trees, giant sticks of peppermint that were shared before Christmas and long after Christmas Day, an electric train set Santa brought one year, a tricycle for me and a bicycle for my older brother, peanuts being parched in an iron skillet on top of the wood heater, and a host of non-Christmas memories.
Years would pass before I came to appreciate and understand that the best part of Christmas is found in giving. By then, I understood the reason we have Christmas in the first place, and while I take for granted that every person who will read this missive knows the meaning of Christmas, I still feel the need to express it as simply as I can.
A very loving God, the creator of all that we know to exist, looked upon our sinfulness, and knowing he could never allow sin to live with him, found a way to fix something we could not. His was a simple fix; he sent his son to die for our sins that we who believe in him might live eternally with him in Heaven. Gods son is the one we know as Jesus, and its Jesus birthday we celebrate as Christmas.
All the gift giving and receiving that goes on is how Christians show their thankfulness for Gods gift to us, even to all mankind. Weve commercialized Christmas almost beyond recognition, but if we take time to look beneath all the wrappings and trappings of our present Christmas celebrations, we find love, the same sort of love God extended to us slightly more than two thousand years ago. And, we who abide in that love find joy in gift giving and in giving of ourselves not just at Christmastime, but throughout the year.
Here at The Bodock Post, we wish each of you a very Merry Christmas!
God Bless us everyone!
~ By Wayne L. Carter
Greyhound Express By M.G. 'Russ' Russell, Contributor
Recently when I picked up the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, and after working for Greyhound Bus Lines for over forty-seven years before retiring in 2004, the first item that I noticed was a news release announcing the new "Greyhound Express" service. The article was speaking of a new passenger service which is called "Greyhound Express." This brought back memories of the companys package shipping service which for many years has been called Greyhound Package Express. But in the early days of my employment at the bus line, this service was referred to as "Greyhound Express."
Until I saw the article in the Memphis newspaper, I had forgotten about what turned into an unusual story concerning my younger brother and "Greyhound Express."
My brother, Danny Russell, was drafted into military service in 1967, and after training was sent to Vietnam in 1968. He was only 19 years old. After serving part of his Vietnam tour of duty he was reassigned to the motor pool where he became a bus driver. He drove a 42-passenger U.S. Army bus on routes where he would pick up people who were working at the Long Binh military base. At times he also drove the bus to the Tan Son Nhat air base in Saigon to pick up more military personnel. He said that the bus was large, had a destination sign on the front, and reminded him of a Greyhound bus, except that it was Army green.
I was working in Greyhounds package express department at the time, so he wrote to me and asked if I could send some Greyhound decals to him. The only decals that I could come up with were some that we used to place on the ends of our baggage carts for identification purposes. They read "Greyhound Express." I packed a couple of the decals and sent them to him.
Danny said that at the time he thought it would be "real cool" to drive a so-called Greyhound bus in Vietnam. When the "Greyhound Express" decals arrived, he taped one on each side of his bus.
Being from the state of Mississippi, he showed "Mississippi" on the destination sign on the front of the bus. So now Danny was driving what he called a Greyhound bus in Vietnam which was always headed home to Mississippi.
Even though he thought he had come up with a great idea, he only made one round trip driving his Greyhound Express. Then "the powers that be" as he referred to them, not thinking the idea was so great, made him take the Greyhound decals off the bus. But they did allow him to keep the Mississippi destination sign.
Another twist to the story was that my brother decided that since he had driven a large bus in Vietnam he wanted to become a Greyhound bus driver when he returned to the United States. He was only 19 years old at the time. Greyhound would hire no one as a bus driver who was under the age of 24 years.
After deciding that he wanted to be a Greyhound driver, Danny wrote to me and asked for the address of Greyhounds headquarters. He wrote to the company and asked if they would hire him when he returned home. He said that they did indeed answer his letter. The first thing they asked was how he came up with their name and address when he was, as they put it, "in faraway Vietnam." Then they told him of the age restriction, and that he should re-apply in about 5 years.
Danny said that he now finds the whole thing about the bus quite humorous. But that he could not understand at the time why that as a 19-year-old he could drive a 42-passenger bus loaded with people in a war zone, on roads that were nearly impassable, at speeds unheard of for a bus, and with mortar rounds whizzing overhead, but when and if he returned home he would not be old enough to buy a beer, vote, buy an automobile without our mother co-signing for him, or drive a bus down a four lane highway in the United States.
Did Danny ever become a Greyhound bus driver? No. But as the destination sign on the front of his bus said, he did make it back to Mississippi, went to college on the G. I. Bill, pursued a different occupation and raised a family.
As I write this article with tongue in check, I am thinking that though Danny never worked for the company, he may have been "in far-a-way Vietnam," the first driver of a "Greyhound Express" bus.
A Little BeforeChristmas By Ralph R. Jones, Editor
Some gifts just wont wait for Christmas. They sometimes come a few months before time. There was this little girl, lets just call her, Selah Grace Jones, for the heck of it. She jumped smack dab into the middle of our lives on September 6, 2011 at 8:00 AM. Oh, we were expecting her, and she was most obliging in her arrival, being on time and all that. She was big and healthy, 8lb. 6 oz., and 20 inches long, and just about the prettiest little girl you have ever seen or held. She must be a very healthy soul because everyone present, held her, handled her, and breathed germs on her, just shortly after her arrival. Oh, and by the way, her mom, Kim, was fine too.
Yes, our grandson Allen and his wife of three years, Kim, had a precious little baby girl. If you ever saw a tall, long legged, bald headed father walk around on clouds, he was one of them. He scarcely touched the floor for several days there. All he could talk about was Selah. With a first daughter that pretty, it is all just beginning for them. He is a handsome man and his wife is such a pretty lady, no doubt our little great granddarling will be a most beautiful young lady.
Allen experienced some problems at home early and came to live with us after the ninth grade through high school, college, and seminary. He was a good boy who had just been treated badly. He did not give us grief, we did get exasperated at his teenage behavior patterns sometimes, but nothing serious. He went to church with us and became engrossed with the activities there and participated in all of them. Our church, Bellevue Baptist, keeps a lot of things going on for the young people and he loved being a part of most everything there. One of my friends said of Allen, "He would live at the church if someone would just put in a cot for him to sleep on." That is a fair statement. We have a Christmas program called the "Singing Christmas Tree." Some of you may have attended it, if not, please come sometime, its worth your time. He enjoyed the singing and dancing part and took a very active part each year. As he got older he continued to help the younger kids as they worked in the "Tree."
He had excellent teachers and counselors there and we could tell from this and other activities that a "Full Time Christian Service" field might be in his future. While in school at Houston Levee High School, he often led out in Bible study groups and "Prayer at the Flag Pole." It was the same through college, he did well and soon he was entering Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, next door to our church. The more he studied the more he wanted to know and soon he was graduated and straight away found a position in a fellow Baptist church nearby at Germantown Baptist Church in their youth ministry. Under the direction of Keith Cochran, a former Bellevue member also, he helped organize and promote the youth department as few had done before. It is a first rate, growing, youth group.
A fine Christian young lady by the name of Kim White, stole our boy from us. Head over heels he fell in love with her and it was only a short time before they were married. No, she did not really steal him away; she came along side him and now we have another daughter-in-love to cherish. A finer couple you never saw, and now they are three.
What a wonderful young couple, and what a precious "early" Christmas gift for grandparents and great grandparents. Selah Grace we welcome you to our home and our lives this Christmas.
May God Bless You, Allen, Kim and Selah!
Bens Gift By Wayne L. Carter, Editor
In November 2008, Habitat for Humanity, International (HFHI) celebrated the build of its 300,000th house.
In, Maai Mahiu, Kenya on October 3, 2011, one week prior to the arrival of a team of eight individuals representing Pontotoc County Habitat for Humanity, HFHI dedicated the 500,000th house.
A group of volunteers from Paterson, NJ, had the honor of constructing the house that reached this milestone. Whether politics were involved or if simply by chance volunteers also started the 500,001st in Paterson, NJ, that same day.
Records are not available for me to name the numbers of the two houses we dedicated. But, our houses both lay within a rocks throw of the 500,000th house. I have roughly estimated that based on the current rate of builds our houses are numbers 503,000 and 503,001. And, while neither house is considered a milestone, Im pleased to have seen, first hand, the 500,000th house and met the lucky homeowner. But, my most lasting impression of the 500,000th house relates to the mason in charge of the build, Ben Maina.
I met Ben, on our first day of the builds that involved those of us representing Pontotoc County Habitat for Humanity. As our group toured the milestone house, we were introduced to a lot of different people, many with strange sounding names, and for some reason, Bens name didnt stick. Anyway, the mason in charge of the first house I worked on was named Joseph.
In the early afternoon of my first day of work, I heard someone call out my name. I glanced around the worksite but saw no one looking in my direction. I heard my name again, and this time I looked toward the house next to ours that was nearing completion. I saw a big smile and a friendly wave directed toward me. I returned the smile and wave but went back to whatever task I was doing at the time.
The following morning, I took a short work-break and walked next door to see how the work was progressing and was met by the friendly face I had seen the prior day. Calling my name aloud again, he hugged me warmly and shook my hand. Of course, I had to ask him his name.
"Im Ben," he beamed. "I met you yesterday at the Paterson house. I built it."
For some reason, Ben took a liking to me. I noticed when we shook hands that he didnt want to let go of my hand right away, and instead of just releasing his grip, he slid his palm up to grip my thumb in the fashion my African-American friends often do, and we continued to shake hands, and just when I thought we were done, we grasped palms again.
He explained, "This is how we shake hands in Kenya with someone we like."
I couldnt imagine what I had done to deserve being liked, but I told him I was honored by his friendly handshake.
Our hugging and handshaking had become part of our daily greeting by the end of our workweek. Ben was a gifted stone and mortar mason, who seemingly enjoyed his work. Not every house that had been built in the camp had Bens special touch, but the 500,000th one did, and the one he was building beside us did, also. After the windows and doors were set in the stone house, Ben would fashion decorative bands of mortar above the front door and around the front windows, giving a stucco effect to those areas.
Our hosts of Kenya Habitat for Humanity explained that the decorations were left to the discretion of the mason in charge of a particular house. It was obvious to me that Ben didnt mind giving more than was required of him.
I suppose it was Bens work ethic and friendliness that inspired me to present him with a small memento of recognition that I had received on the day Barbara and I participated in the missionary commissioning service at First Baptist Church, Pontotoc. The memento was a small yellow, glow-in-the-dark bracelet, embossed with lettering "Let Your Light Shine" and "Matt. 5:14-16."
Just prior to the house dedication ceremonies, I gave my bracelet to Ben, stating, "I want you to have this. See, it says, Let your light shine, and Ive seen you do this every day."
He slipped it onto his wrist and thanked me for my thoughtfulness.
Christmas came early, this year, for certain families in Kenya receiving new homes built by Habitat for Humanity. Ben Maina experienced the joy of giving in the work he did for the 500,000th HFHI house.
It was a joy for me to meet Ben, and it brought me joy to present him with my bracelet. Yes, Christmas came early for me, too, and in of all places, Kenya, Africa.
Decorations By Tim Burress, Contributor
Halloween has come and gone and its time to get ready for the Christmas season. The countless tubs of decorations that have been gathered over many years are to be brought from the storage building to the house. There are also eleven trees to be brought up as well. Several years ago, storing all the decorations and trees became an issue, so the building of a separate storage building just for decorations was erected.
Decorations are brought up in stages starting with the trees and outside decorations. The outside lights are put out the first warm Saturday of November. The trees are brought up starting with the ones in rooms that are in the inner part of the house. This is followed up with the trees that are closer to the doors and finally the ones that are outside on the porches. Setting up the trees is probably the easiest part of the process. Some are pre-lit and others have to be strung with lights. With the easy part done, now comes the fun. Each tree has a separate theme, so finding the appropriate box filled with decorations is sometimes a game.
Sometimes they just get labeled wrong. Ms. Janet, better known as "Ms. Christmas" smiles and laughs when I have brought some of the wrong boxes. She just slides them aside and walks down to the storage building and helps me find the right ones. It is nice to have an understanding wife. I dont really know how many boxes there are; I stopped counting at thirty.
The tree in the rose room is decorated with small porcelain dolls, pastel pink and silver balls and assorted crocheted snowflakes. We also place larger porcelain dolls in the tree and around the bottom of the tree to hide the base.
The tree in the office/playroom is for the kids and is known as the "Stuffed Animal" tree and is decorated with stuffed animals that have been passed down through the years along with others purchased at assorted yard sales and other consignment stores. For decorations around the base, we use old toys, such as a baby bed and doll bought at an estate sale, old teddy bears, an old doll of Ms. Janets that wears clothes that her Mom made for it, and a mixture of other assorted old toys that we have. We also have a Lego Christmas Village on display that J.T. made. The kids know that this is their tree and are allowed to remove and play with any of the decorations at any time. This has allowed us to teach them to leave the other trees alone, because they have one to call their own.
Moving on to the kitchen, we have the "Shiny Brite" tree in one corner decorated with shiny brite ornaments. These ornaments are reminiscent of days gone by from my childhood. It is one of my favorite trees. It also has ceramic Snowmen on it along with red and green plaid twisted ribbon that is intertwined with a red ribbon. Some of the ornaments are handmade and hand painted by Ms. Janet and the Grandkids. The lights are the large old timey lights. In the other corner is another brightly decorated tree with lots of ornaments covered in glitter and lots of brightly colored ribbon that has been intertwined with each other. We affectionally call this the red-green tree. The tops of both trees are filled with branch looking picks that are bright and sparkly.
In our bedroom one tree has a garland made of faux berries, redbirds, bird nests, birdhouses, and other ornaments made from grapevine. This is the one dubbed the "Nature Tree" and is always a favorite among our guests at Christmas time. The other tree in our bedroom is decorated with glass Christopher Radko and Old World Santa Claus and green ribbon with red polka dots. There are other brightly colored ornaments on this tree also. This tree sports the new LED lights that give it a different effect when lit.
The two small flocked trees in Ms. Janets bathroom are simply decorated with a burlap skirt, brightly colored twigs, and Old World Santa Claus. This room has pine cones, pine branches, Old World Santa Claus, and birdhouses.
The utility room or shall we call it the laundry room has a small tree that is decorated with angels, rust colored balls and rust colored ribbon wound all through it.
In the main hallway is the blue and silver tree, adorned with blue and silver ornaments, along with assorted doodads that resemble crystal fobs from antique chandeliers. The lights are the new larger leds and really make this tree pop.
The living room houses the star attraction with a fat, full tree that has over one hundred fifty snow baby ornaments. It also has ceramic icicles, gold balls, tons of dried hydrangea blooms, and dried rose blooms. This tree has many yards of gold ribbon twisted in and among its many branches, along with a topper made from gold colored stems. The other tree on the other side of the room has photos of family from the different Christmas down through the years. This tree is the family favorite.
I wont elaborate too much on the next tree which is in the main bathroom. It is actually a wall decoration which Ms. Janet made to hang on the wall to look like a tree. It is simply decorated with pine cones and twisted ribbon.
This comes up to twelve trees in the house, along with fresh branches and twigs cut from evergreen trees to give the house that festive look and fresh holiday smell. Pine cones are scattered and hung all through the rooms with cedar and pine branches, along with a multitude of wreaths made of grapevines, magnolia branches and leaves, and cedar branches. Crocheted snowflakes, large and small hang from the ceiling from every possible place. We try to incorporate as much live greenery as we can in the house by using it in wreaths, mixing it in with artificial garlands and sticking branches in the trees to fill in any bare spots.
The tree on the front porch gets decorated with large lights and homemade ornaments. The ornaments consist of paper towel tubes wrapped to look like peppermint sticks and different colored hard candy and packages wrapped in brightly colored paper, then clear wrap over that to add that extra zip.
The last tree, a small tree is on the side porch and is decorated with whatever we can find in the yard, such as berries made into a garland, grapevine and ribbon.
The rest of the decorations are wreaths on windows and doors and garlands brightly decorated around the doors.
Christmas at the Burress Home is a treat and it stays up from November to February and takes about the month of November to put up and about two weeks to take down and another week to pack it back in storage. It is hard work sometimes but worth every minute of it, especially when the Grandkids smile and say "Its beautiful Mamaw."
I hope everyone enjoys Christmas as much as I do. Its not about the gifts, but about family, friends, smiles, and most of all "The Lord Jesus Christ."
"Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night"
Habits And Traditions By Ralph R. Jones, Editor
ts hard to teach an old dog new tricks," and "Habits are hard to break," are both sayings we all remember. Both are true! They fall in the category of things we do unconsciously. You know; Mom did it this way, or Dad always said it that way; we often find ourselves doing exactly what they did, even though we swore we would never do that when we grew up.
Not long ago our oldest daughter, Karen, asked her mother if she still blew in the coffee cups. Although she would not admit it, most of the time she will take a perfectly clean cup, scalded and scrubbed in the dishwasher, and now residing upside down on clean shelf paper from the enclosed cabinet, and instinctively blow the "dust" from it.
She is not the only one who does such things. Peggy says I pour myself a cup of coffee, add cream and then stir it four times around to the right, then four times around to the left, before removing the spoon. Im sure Id never do that, she must be thinking of someone else.
Starting my car goes way back to when batteries were weak, at best, and every ounce of electricity was needed to "crank" the old flivver. Dad would never try to start the car with the lights, radio, or anything electrical turned on.
Im driving a different vehicle these days and you go out and click the "what-cha-may-call-it" to unlock the doors and all kind of things happen. The headlights, parking lights, inside overhead lights, dash lights, and probably some more that I have not noticed as yet, come on automatically. If you dont hold your mouth just right the stupid horn starts blowing to the chagrin of our neighbors. Needless to say, I have not got the technique down yet. Dad had a habit of shutting anything down that was not necessary. In his old pick-up, he inserted the key, made sure everything was "off," pulled the choke all the way out (in winter), and pumped the gas pedal three times, before he tried to start it. I had a similar pattern with my pervious truck, did the same thing the same way every day, no doubt a habit learned from Dad.
Habits are nationwide sometimes. Soldiers tell me that back during the war; the enemy would booby trap the right door of a set of double doors because they knew Americans always used the right hand door to enter.
Mother would not drink a sweet beverage with desert. I picked that habit up from her. At our house cornbread was eaten with vegetables, always. Restaurants today try to give you light bread or something they call biscuits with vegetables, yuck! You cant break that Habit!
Traditions seem to be habits that are enjoyed by families. There are strong traditions that we follow, especially at Holiday times. My grandmother always made an amalgamation cake for Christmas, in later years my Mom and her sister took up the practice. It just was not Christmas unless that cake appeared on the desert table.
You have heard me talk about the "Little Red Santa Claus" that graced our Christmas tree each year. He was lost for some years and it made me sad, but he has been found again, and now that tradition continues.
A tradition of going to church each Sunday was one kept by my family. We did our chores of milking, slopping the hogs, letting the chickens out, and whatever, on Sunday just as any other day, but possibly a tad earlier to get ready for Sunday School. There was no question of whether we would go or not; that was a given. Dad was the leader of this. He made sure we got there. He won "perfect attendance" pins every year for seven or eight years in a row. One of the church secretaries told me that if the town was frozen over and the services had been canceled the first thing they would do is call "Mr. Jones" and tell him the news. She said if she did not call him he would load his old pick-up truck with fire wood, put on chains, and hed be waiting in the parking lot for the others to arrive.
Work was a habit or tradition, I do not know which; we learned whether we wanted to or not. Moms and Dads required it, and although it might not be exactly what we had in mind, we did it and it became part of our being. I sure am glad I learned it as a youngster; it is not nearly as hard on me as some folks I know that never did learn that habit.
I wonder who our children are learning their habits and traditions from these days. Mom and Dad both work from early until late, and the children are alone many hours to fend for themselves. Now days, grown kids and their families live in California while Moms and Dads still reside back home on the farm. Do they carry on the traditions, and where do they pick up good habits? They certainly dont learn it from their village and hardly ever from a school. Im afraid if parents are not there to teach and enforce good habits and families are not there to carry on traditions, the children will be at a loss.
There is a habit/tradition that I learned from my parents, they from theirs; do wrong and youll be punished. We tried to instill that in our children. It is amazing what a good paddling can do to straighten up a wayward youngster. It gets the point across in a very effective manner and in a very short length of time. The entire process is over in just a moment or two. However, today with so much government intervention, you will be arrested if you are caught spanking your very own child.
Well, you say, I got to meddling there a little. Possibly so! But it needed to be said. You say I did not mention bad habits, well, seems they come along with the territory without any serious thought whether you want them or not.
Observe your good habits and traditions; throw out the bad! Even if you do blow the dust from a clean cup, or you put a worn out home-made ornament on the Christmas tree, or bake a special cake; it will remain a cherished tradition or habit for your children. But for goodness sakes, dont drink sweet coffee with your honey bun tomorrow morning.
A Puppy For Megan By Thomas Campbell, Contributor
There was crispness in the air. Autumn was here and the leaves were in full turn. The breeze was cool and free.
Driving down the highway you could see the breeze clearly, like the images2/Image3s artists conjure for childrens books. A breeze so often is transparent, only there because you feel it, but this time of year you could actually see it thanks to the dusty particulate in the newly harvested soybean, and corn fields. So, the breeze challenged us to a race as we rolled down the quiet country highway in south Pontotoc County, and the Dust Devil looked maybe to be winning until suddenly he ran out of gas and collapsed, out of breath just twenty yards from us near the road bed.
We were on a journey. We had been delivered a message. This missive was whispered into our ear by Father Christmas favorite elf, Saint Nicholas. Santa Claus dropped a hint to us that our oldest baby, Megan might like a puppy this Christmas. So, we were headed to a farm known for smaller, mixed breeds like Cocka-poos, Peke-a-poos, and the like. A smaller dog might be better as Megan had a baby brother now and we were not sure how he, as an infant, would react to a dog and likewise how a dog would react to him.
We did a little research. Big, bouncy Labradors and Dalmatians are fun, but they need lots of room to play and we certainly didnt have that. Yorkshire Terriers are precious, but every animal person we talked to from owners to veterinarians said Yorkies are fragile and a baby might be too rough with it. We looked at pictures of West Highlands and Maltese but we would have had to channel some kind of "Municipal Bond Issue" to pay for one of those, so we asked around and found out about this reasonable little puppy farm in Pontotoc.
As it turned out, this farm had certification from Santa himself. He knew the farm and was happy to find suppliers in warmer climates than the North Pole so the puppies could live comfortably until he could stop by and pick them up.
Megan was with us on this trip. We were careful not to slip up and reveal Santas secret. Far be it from us to ruin a five year-olds Christmas surprise. As far as she knew, we were just on a day trip to enjoy the fall colors, and we pulled into "Ponderosa Pups" puppy farm on a whim, as a special treat to let her see the puppies.
As a matter of fact, we were pulling in as a treat for her, but Santa wanted us to check ahead and see if she "connected" to any puppy in particular. Santa is very focused about making sure the child and the animal are right for each other. Youd expect no less from the man who is entrusted with sprinkling happiness and gifts to good little girls and boys the world over.
Tim Morris, the owner was as good as gold. He was patient and helpful and he led us through the kennel. We saw many sweet faces. They all were clean, & healthy. There were so many different flavors of puppy there; it seemed we might be on a futile quest. Megan was in "little girl nirvana!" Walking the aisles in the kennel run, shed just as soon have taken all the pups home right then, but we explained we were just there to visit, so she pouted a little.
Tim suggested we select three or four and let him bring them to his office and let her play with them and maybe shed not be so upset about leaving empty-handed. We chose several big balls of fluff in varying colors and he brought them in.
Youd laugh at me if I told you it was a magical moment...but let me tell you, it was. Megans squeals of joy at the funny little puppies as they rolled around on the floor with her were hilarious and we adults got as much entertainment out of it as she did!
After a half-hour of watching Meg play while we talked with Tim about what we might expect if Santa brought one of these puppies home, our little kindergartner climbed up on the sofa in Tims office. Three of the puppies continued to play together, but one followed my Sugar-doodle to the sofa and perched on her hind legs begging to go up with Meg.
We talked about size and weight and strength...we told him of the tales we heard about Yorkies and babies and we didnt want to have to bury a new pup. While he told us of how resilient the mixed-breeds are, he noticed the activity on the sofa. Pointing to the couch, we saw Megan rubbing the little white-with-black points Peke-a-poo curling up to sleep with her head on Megans lap. We knew we had found our new family member. Or...had she found us?
Tim said he would make sure she was ready when Santa came by Christmas Eve on his way to Tupelo. He had a good relationship with the sleigh-driver whose belly was impressively large, like my own.
Christmas morning, 1997 we woke and gathered around the tree. There was a lot of laughter, and some oo-ing and ahh-ing...but there was no puppy. Deana and I were worried that maybe Santa had decided that maybe we werent ready to take on the responsibility of a vulnerable little dog.
As the last of the wrapped packages were dispatched and the paper-gathering began, we heard a tiny yip from Megans bedroom. It got our attention, for sure. Then we heard a definite yap. We started looking around.
Following the sounds, we finally got to our daughters room and there, on her bed was a brightly wrapped box with air holes and a big, red bow on top. Megan tip-toed to it and as she reached down to touch the lid, POP! The lid sprang off and there, with her paws clinging to the top of the box was the sweet white-with-black points puff...tongue hanging and tail wagging!
Before the morning was over, we decided that the way she adopted our home and loved luxuriating in the attention Megan showed her, she was definitely a "Princess." She had her name...and we had a new Campbell in our home.
Writers Note: Tim Morris still owns and operates Ponderosa Pups on Ponderosa Drive in Pontotoc County, and still helps Santa make children smile.
Fruit And Old Coat By M.G. 'Russ' Russell, Contributor
I thought that I had been singled out as someone special. What really happened was that I had been totally forgotten. I had not thought about the apples, oranges, and hunting coat for many, many, years. Then just recently one of my Georgia first cousins reminded me of the story.
I seem to remember that I was in about the 8th grade in school. Even though by this time my father had purchased a new pick-up truck, and we did make a few trips to town, we were still pretty much isolated from the rest of the world on our farm which was about a hundred miles south of Memphis, and 10 miles from the nearest store. So it was still a big occasion when our city uncles, aunts, and cousins would come for a visit.
My grandparents, my mothers father and mother, lived just down the hill from us. Thats where the family would begin showing up for visits around Christmas time. Her family was a large one so there were many cousins.
I remember that Christmas very well because my mothers sister, Aunt Louise, and her husband, Uncle John Crupie, came in about a week before Christmas. They had been visiting his family in what we considered, way up north in Dyersburg, TN.
There was one thing that you could always look for when Aunt Louise came to visit. She seemed to always pay special attention to the children, and there was never a dull time when she was around.
That Christmas she and Uncle John had purchased a little gift for each of the children. After they arrived and began wrapping the gifts they realized they had forgotten one child, me! Uncle John usually had a good solution for most things so he came up with a great idea. They had been visiting his brother in Dyersburg, and for some reason that I cant remember, he gave an old hunting coat to Uncle John. They had also purchased a large bag of fruit which they were bringing to share with the family. The fruit was mostly apples and oranges.
Uncle John said, "We cant let him know that we forgot him, so we will just wrap the old hunting coat and make him think it is something special. We will also just give the bag of fruit to him, which he will no doubt share with the rest of the family."
Wrong! We seldom got any kind of fresh fruit in the winter, and I was so proud of that fruit that I took it home and hid it under my bed. No one ever saw that fruit again.
They probably never knew how much I liked that old worn-out hunting coat. You see, we also never had what one would call, "hunting clothing." We just wore what we had. The old coat was several sizes too large for me when they gave it to me, but I was still wearing it when I went into the military many years later.
I never knew the true story of the apples, oranges, and hunting coat until I was in the military and based at Fort Benning, Georgia. I rode the bus up to Atlanta to visit Aunt Louise and Uncle John one weekend. He told the story to me.
Considering the fact that I was not the special child, but actually the forgotten nephew, I remember that Christmas as one of the best.
Kenyan Concerns By Wayne L. Carter, Editor
A team of eight of us flew to Kenya in October to help Habitat for Humanity, Kenya build a house for a family that had been living in a tent for more than four years. Prior to leaving, each team member was asked certain basic questions: name, location, what are you excited about, what are you nervous about, what is it that you bring to the team? Our respective answers were compiled and published in a team newsletter to support our fundraising efforts.
Regarding what I was excited about, I expressed excitement for the opportunity to visit a completely different continent and observe a lifestyle different from that which I enjoy. As for my contribution(s) to the team, I felt I had certain construction and supervisory skills to lend to our building effort, but I was worried (nervous) about conditions involving personal hygiene (showering) and the availability of good toilet tissue.
Before one judges my worries too harshly, one should consider that Ive heard from friends who, through the years, have visited and/or worked in rather primitive conditions and somehow the thought of showering with cold water while other friends hold a curtain around me did not appeal to me. And, with respect to toilet tissue, I just hoped it was as important to Kenyans as it were to me.
Fortunately, my showers were of the indoor variety, though some places we stayed did not provide a shower curtain and hot water was almost non-existent. Of my first nine days in Kenya, I had zero hot showers, three lukewarm showers, and six cold showers. Im happy to report the remaining days of our stay in Kenya were ones in motels with warm, dare I say hot, water.
Likewise, I am happy to report that Kenyans use toilet tissue, and the quality found in the three different motels that lodged us is on par with that of American motels. I did not, however, wish to leave something as important as toilet tissue to chance, so Barbara and I each packed three rolls of favorite brands, though we scarcely needed them.
Perhaps, the most unusual toilet tissue either of us encountered was found at the Heritage Club Resort (a misnomer if ever there was one) in Naivasha, Kenya. In some respects it was like the occasional roll of tissue that isnt perforated well and elects to tear away at all the wrong places, but what struck me as most unusual about this motels tissue was its elasticity. Thats right; it stretched, almost like crepe paper.
I kept intending to video how far it could be stretched before tearing, but at those times when it occurred to me to do so, I was in no position to use a camera. Trust me; the tissue would stretch almost an inch before tearing away at a perforation or a point or points in between perforations. I joked to other team members that the elastic toilet tissue must be made from fibers of a rubber tree. Regardless from whence it came, its elasticity was linear only. It held no such stretch-ability if pulled crosswise.
Im fast approaching three score and ten years of age, but in all of my born-days, Ive never seen the likes of stretchable toilet tissue. I know its hard to believe, and had I not made the trip to Kenya I dont know if Id believe this story either.
Bubba Bodock Selected Humor
Blonde jokes are still around. We better enjoy them while we can, as we may very well loose the right to make fun of them, any day.
Diary of a Blonde Cook
Monday ~ It's fun to cook for Steve. Today I made angel food cake. The recipe
said beat 12 eggs separately. The neighbors were nice enough to loan me the
Friday ~ I found an easy recipe for cookies. It said put the ingredients
in a bowl and beat it.There must have been something wrong with this recipe.
When I got back, everything was the same as when I left.
Unverified Submissions to Dear Abby
Dear Abby ~A couple of women moved in across the hall from me. One is a
middle-aged gym teacher and the other is a social worker in her mid-twenties.
The two women go everywhere together, and I've never seen a man go into or
leave their apartment. Do you think they could be Lebanese?
Cuzin' Cornpone A Bodock Post Exclusive
Our loveable friend, Cuzin' Cornpone, appears only in The Bodock Post.
Our Mission Purpose - The Bodock Post
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