Another year has come and is nearly gone. Fortunately for many of us, this is when families make it a point to come together. Our family did that on Saturday, December 10. Thanks to Renick and Tina for opening their home to the family and thanks to Cynthia for helping me to organize the day. Instead of the usual Christmas dinner menu, we decided to simplify and have red chili and white chili and grilled cheese sandwiches. There were lots of appetizers and side dishes Tina's amazing dessert. Everyone contributed regardless of how far they had to drive. It was a wonderful day. The only ones not present were Steve and Moncy from California. Thanks to technology we were able to Face Time them for part of our day. We all gathered in the living room and took a family photograph, which included Stevie and Moncy who were with us on Face Time on my ipad.
Landree just turned three and understands enough to appreciate being connected to her California relatives. She especially enjoyed seeing the California kitty.
Baby Babu got to say hello to Stevie and Moncy. She came to Tina in a Chinese Gift Exchange a few years ago and has since been a part of the family. Aunt Cynthia makes sure she has an updated wardrobe.
I wanted to bring some tradition into the day. My grandmother, who passed away in 1965, used to read the Christmas Story from the Bible when we got together at her house on Christmas Eve night. We did this in 2012, which was our first Christmas after Mom died. I asked Marsha's husband, Mike, to perform the reading from Mom's Bible.
While getting ready for this day, I discovered Mom's Bible holds some newspaper clippings she had inserted so I thought it would be interesting to share these with the family. Some of you reading this blog will appreciate these clippings.
Our cousin, Kathy Alfred Williams, was sworn in as a volunteer for CASA. Mom knew she would do great things. (Kathy, what year was that?)
One of Mom's dearest friends was Shirley Riley. The Bible holds the newspaper recording of their 55th wedding anniversary. (Linda, what year was that?)
Rob Loving was someone we grew up with. He was very sweet. I am sure many of you remember him. Born in 1951, he passed away in 2009. His obituary lives in Mom's Bible.
Susan Parker Potter is another person that many of you will remember. Susan graduated from Alleghany County High School in 1979. She was Miss Virginia in 1984.Susan passed away in 2013. I think this clipping appeared in the paper a couple of years before her death.
You history buffs from Alleghany County will enjoy this photo published in the paper in 2010. The caption reads: "This photograph was taken over 50 year ago in Covington of five practicing physicians." Among the physicians is Dr. Ellis who not only delivered all 6 of us, but he also delivered our mother. When I showed this clipping, Timmy commented he was great because you could get a physical and not even show up at the office. My sisters and I laughed remembering how we slipped out of church one Sunday morning and walked up to his office to get our ears pierced and then slipped into the back pew right before the service ended. I don't recall how Mom discovered what we had done...when she got the bill??
I found it so interesting that Mom chose these clippings to keep in her Bible. She read from this Bible everyday so she knew they were there and she kept them there. There are a few other items that live in Mom's Bible. I did not show them all, but there was one last clipping I had to share with the family.
Lastly, I read to the family something I read to them Christmas 2012. I gave Mom one of those books that asks questions so you can record events in your life that you probably would not think to tell people and people would not think to ask. I gave the book to her Christmas 1997. The inscription reads: "Mom, This is your gift to me. I look forward to getting it back and learning more about you." The book became mine and I read it for the first time when she passed away March 2012. I compiled notes from that book and read those notes to my family at Christmas that year. Four years later, I thought it was time to read this again. Those who had her for a teacher will chuckle at this one: "She never pretended to be sick as an excuse to stay home from school because she did not know you could do such a thing."
Thanks to Tina who held my ipad during all of this so Stevie and Moncy could be part of these readings.
After all this, we ate dinner and enjoyed being together. We took individual family photos before we parted.
Marsha and her family.
Newlyweds Kristen and Dave get their own photo this year.
Timmy and Sara.
Cynthia with her son, Erick, and his family.
Renick and his family. Our first year without Bradley who is a student at JMU and had an exam on this day. We missed you Bradley.
Paula and Boone.
Thanks to my family for a wonderful family Christmas night.