CHRISTMAS TIME AGAIN
When Christmas time came long ago, and snow began to fall
Around our little cabin home, but room enough for all.
The fireplace filled with burning logs that sent the smoke so high
To meet the snowflakes as they fell from winter’s laden sky.
The cookin’ in the kitchen that smelled so spicy-sweet,
Ma made a stack of apple pies and cakes for us to eat.
Pa always had hog killin’ time; the sausage Mama made,
And a bowl of souse with vinegar, red pepper and with sage.
Back bones and ribs in our iron pot, and tenderloin to fry,
It makes us hungry just to think these times have passed us by,
Most all of us are on a diet; we can’t eat this or that,
No pickles, no fried ‘taters, no sausage and no fat.
You young’ens eat the food you like before you’re old like me,
And I will eat what I’m allowed with “sassy-frassy” tea.
We can still read our Bible, though it hasn’t changed a bit,
Since our Dad read it long ago when the oil lamp was lit.
We have the old songs we can sing that Mother used to sing,
About the birthday of a child, but now a conquering King.
No more a tiny manger babe when angels announced His birth,
God gave to us His only Son, the greatest gift on earth.
By Eva Samples King
My late Aunt Eva was the poet of Harmony Hills, as she called her neighborhood, and was also an accomplished writer. Her legacy to us is an assortment of poetry that testifies to a lifetime of living in the hills of Clay County.
Christmas was a frugal but joyous affair down in the little cabin perched on the banks of Big Laurel Creek. With eleven children, Grandma and Grandpa Samples must have struggled to keep food on the table, let alone provide an elaborate Christmas season.
Mom often told me of how excited they were during the weeks preceding the actual day, and how thrilled they were to find the orange, apple, a little bag of hard candy and some Brazil nuts in their stockings. Ma made “sweet cakes” of molasses and these were added to their stockings.
I think of the mountain of toys that many children receive now at Christmas, and how unappreciative they are at times. It seems to me that the more they get, the less thankful they are. Somewhere along the line, we must have let the real meaning of the season get swallowed up in a mass chorus of “gimme-gimme.”
There is a growing trend now of families giving out to others. Instead of elaborate gifts to one another, they are reaching out to people less fortunate. Not just in monetary gifts, but in lending a helping hand by running errands, transporting others to the grocery store or doctor appointments.
When God gave His Son, it was a gift to the whole world—to all who would accept Him. We prove our love to God by giving to others. It is easy to give money (if you have it) but to give of your time and help is a real sacrifice. There is no greater blessing.
We have had some more responses to the request for song lyrics. We want to thank Nadine Ward of Craigsville, Frank Kinder of Scott Depot, and Claude Ball of Ripley for taking the time to answer these requests.
Also, we received a recipe from Janet Tucker for the boiled apple dumplings requested by J. D. Beam. It sounds delicious, although I haven’t tried it yet.
AMISH BOILED APPLE DUMPLINGS
2 cups self-rising flour
½ cup apple juice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup diced apples
2 (46 fluid oz.) cans apple juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
In a medium bowl, combine flour, ½ cup apple juice and ½ teaspoon cinnamon, stirring until smooth. Stir in diced apple. Pour all the apple juice into a 4-quart pot with a tight fitting lid. Bring to boil over medium heat. Drop diced apple mixture by soup-spoonfuls into boiling juice. Cover and let boil 20 minutes. Do not remove lid during cooking. After 20 minutes, remove dumplings from pan; set aside. Stir cornstarch into a little water, add to remaining apple juice in pot and cook until thickened. Serve over dumplings.
Makes 8 dumplings.
We received a poem some time ago from Mrs. Chester Lester of Iaeger, and a few days ago the same poem was sent by Billy Pettry of Mt. Hope and Judy Bonds. It is one that will make you think.
THE COLD WITHIN
Six humans trapped by happenstance
In dark and bitter cold.
Each one possessed a stick of wood,
Or so the story’s told.
Their dying fire in need of logs,
The first woman held hers back.
For on the faces around the fire,
She noticed one was black.
The next man looking ‘cross the way.
Saw one not of his church,
And couldn’t bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch.
The third one sat in tattered clothes
He gave his coat a hitch.
Why should his log be put to use,
To warm the idle rich?
The rich man just sat back and thought
Of the wealth he had in store.
And how to keep what he had earned
From the lazy, shiftless poor.
The black man’s face bespoke revenge
As the fire passed from sight,
For all he saw in his stick of wood
Was a chance to spite the white.
The last man of this forlorn group
Did naught except for gain
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.
The logs held tight in death’s still hands
Was proof of human sin.
They didn’t die from the cold without,
They died from—THE COLD WITHIN.
We really appreciate the folks who take the time to answer these requests. These old songs bring back precious memories to many older people who heard them when they were young.
Memories are a gift from God (and I am one of the older people) that bring our loved ones to us again.
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