Wednesday, December 30, 2020

HOUSE MOUNTAIN #175: Hiking Theology (published 12-30-2020)


House Mountain hike #175 (my eleventh hike there this year) is in the record! (This was also my 39th hike on “My Mountain” with “bionic” joints.) The hike was earlier today.

My ol' truck and I had attempted to get to House Mountain, about seven miles away, on Christmas Day, when six inches of snow was still on the ground. That day, the weather was mostly cloudy. The high was 28 degrees Fahrenheit. I had hopes! We tried three different routes, but the snow and ice on the roads stopped us. We could have gone another, longer and easier, route, but Hogskin Road would have been impossible, most likely. Beaten, but not defeated, we returned home.

Photographs and Comments

Today, anticipating a muddy and too warm hike, I decided to hike the two loop trails only, with the possibility that I could climb the ridge, if I decided to do so. I had on a T-shirt and short sleeve shirt only. (Well, I had on jeans, shoes, and ball cap also, in case you were wondering. Yes, I also wore underwear and socks!)

That's what they had decided to name the lower level parking lot. I had to park my truck in that parking area, since the upper and main parking area was full. It is Wednesday! The weather and mud are not great! Why are so many hiking today?

The above photograph is looking east, from where I had hiked. It is an easy little trail. You can turn left or right, on the loop, which is behind me. I turned right, to go up. (We all need to turn right, to go up.)

After I had hiked right and up, I arrived here. The above photograph is looking northeast. I had reached the main, or upper, parking area. They call the east, or lower, loop trail “Right Sawmill Trail.” I think that, decades ago, a sawmill used to be in the area. The trail name continues the heritage.

Seconds after I had taken the “Right Sawmill Trail” photograph, I turned left, to look southwest. This is a partial view of the upper parking area. The man, in the image, was kicking mud off his shoes. The information board, on the lower left side, has my photograph of the mountain, from a middle bluff, that I had taken years ago, in the snow. My name, “Marion Ferrell,” is on the photograph.

I had walked farther southwest, a few yards, past the information board, which is behind me now, to take the above photograph. The view still look southwest. They call this upper west loop trail the “Left Sawmill Loop.”

The above trail sign is the one that I touch, to check my time on my watch, as I start hiking up the west trail, to the west bluff. It is nine tenths of a mile up, with six switchbacks, after you get past the lower switchbacks. The trail will challenge you. I touch my rock, on the west bluff, to check my time hiking up, by my watch. I can now hike up, in 30 to 34 minutes. My average “pre-bionic joints” time was 24 to 26 minutes. My right foot and knee still slow me down – for now.

Today, I just “hiked” the two little loop trails. I will explain.

After I had finished the “Left Sawmill Loop,” I turned left, heading northwest. I had to see how muddy it might be! I had not gone up the trail too far yet. I am still at the base of the mountain. The above image is good enough to show the mud. I have stepped across the rocks many times, with and without “bionic” joints, to keep climbing up, through the other muddy spots that I know well. Today, I decided that I would not “enjoy another muddy hike.” I have taken several of them.

I had walked back, past the information board, in the upper parking area. (I always touch my photograph, on the information board.) I hiked back down to my truck, in the lower parking area. The above photograph shows my truck prominently. Twelve other vehicles were parked. My truck was number thirteen! Realizing that, my truck told me to get him out of there! He didn't want to be number thirteen!


My stubborn will was determined to get House Mountain hike #175 done, before the end of 2020. I did it. I knew that I would.

Yesterday, at my annual physical, my good doctor and friend had stated what I already knew. He remarked that my strong will had motivated my recovery to this point. I knew it already. We enjoyed a laugh. I had inspired my good doctor and friend.

Beaten, but not defeated, by life, we go Home eventually – if we have lived according to the grace that we received through Christ Jesus. In everlasting life, Home will be wonderful! That is what my House Mountain hike #175, today, brings to my mind. I hope that this article benefits you in the same way. Hiking theology does work.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020


Howdy, y'all! At 3:30 PM (on the dot), as I begin to write, I see that my readership totals are: today 256 readers (so far), yesterday 342 readers, and this month 8,197 (so far, as we wind down a year).

12/26/2020, Saturday: My truck and I, after hauling trash, tried to get to House Mountain, for my hike #175. The ice on the roads that we tried stopped us. We did have four days of winter, from 12/23 afternoon through 12/27/2020.

Instead, I played with Molly, our doggy, in the snow covered yard. We had six inches of snow by Christmas Day. I'd taken the above photograph, on Christmas, at 9:07 AM. The view, from our back deck, looks southwest.

Molly doesn't care for catching snow balls in the air. She doesn't care for attacking a snow man. She used to enjoy that in her “childhood” years. At age five now, she did enjoy her usual “exercise” toys! The half-gallon plastic milk jug is still her favorite! I called my youngest brother. His family and he are still snowed in.

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman had permission from the “mask mafia” to visit her father's older sister – about five easier miles away. Her aunt, cousin, niece, and she were present, wearing masks, of course. The 12/25/2020 gift exchange took place a day late. Afterward, the one-day-late Christmas “live video conference” happened. She had stated, after the Thanksgiving “video conference,” that this would not happen at Christmas. It did. The “mask mafia” won. I avoided it.

12/27/2020, Sunday: Mom “went to see Jesus,” on 12/27/2000. That was twenty years ago. I remembered. I opened my yet unpublished book, “Light at the End of the Tunnel.” I re-read what I have been writing, off and on, since 8/22/2002. I wrote more. I remembered. I hope that I publish my book soon.

12/28/2020, Monday: Mom's yearlong suffering, before she went “to see Jesus,” started on 12/28/1999. I have written about it on this website before. My book has my written, but yet unpublished, words. I remembered.

Molly, at age five, had her annual doctor appointment, at 9 AM. Molly had her usual annual injections and check up. Her doctor said that she is going great! After, we walked around in the “dog park” outside her doctor's office. She took a big dump, near a tree! Good girl, Molly! We returned home.

I wrote on my book more. The weather was cloudy and turning warmer.

12/29/2020, Tuesday: This is my second day of personal leave from work. I am off work tomorrow also. We are off New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. I have my work “brain” (i.e., computer) here. On 1/4/2021, Monday, I will use my “brain” to work at home. Before my “temporary retirement,” which started on 12/24/2020 and ends on 1/3/2021, I had no indication of any other plan.

Molly had her annual check up yesterday. She is first. I am next. Today, I had my annual physical, at 8:15 AM. My fine primary care doctor told me that I'm doing great, despite my “bionic” joints. When he checked my heart, he told me that I have a heart like a cross country runner. It beats slowly but hard on each beat. I reminded him that, at my initial visit, years ago, he had told me that I have an athletic heart and that I would live forever. I had told him, years ago, that I hoped not! We both enjoyed a fine laugh! Of course, we both wore our masks. Our masks did not mask the fact that my fine doctor and I are friends. I hope that his wife and he will hike House Mountain again. I met them once. It was their first and only hike. I hope that he calls and takes me up on my offer!

Our refrigerator needed help. A repairman had arrived just after I had gone to see my doctor. I arrived home, just as he had finished. Our refrigerator just needed a little work, to unclog a water line. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman had been at home, before my return, so she took care of business.

I wrote on my book more. I almost went on hike #175 today. It has been sunny and too warm. The mud is drying. I will wait until tomorrow or Thursday. The mud, from the winter we had (12/23 – 27/2020) needs to dry more. I expect that the rain won't come until late Thursday.

I think that I will write on my book more. I will create a topic section called “Light at the End of the Tunnel” for my website as well.

This was just a little update today. Thank y'all for reading. We're winding down 2020. I do not think that 2021 will be much better. The Corona Myopia Psychosis will continue another year, as the propagandists spur it on. 2022 may be a better year. I am not a prophet or the son of a prophet, but that is my prediction. I hope that I am wrong. Either way, this once great nation is bound and determined to be driven, by the propagandists and socialists, into destruction. In a few decades, this once great nation may be restored, but not in my lifetime. I wish you God's blessings, in the New Year, and day by day.

Oh, before I get off here, what do you think? Is Outskirts Press a good enough company that I could use to self-publish my book? There are many options. The cost of my book will only be so that I can break even. I don't want to earn any money. I only want to get my words in print, for folks here now and for future Ferrell and other generations.

By the way, at 4:37 PM, my readership total today (so far) has gone from 256 to 270. That's 14 more readers in an hour and 37 minutes. Thanks, y'all, for “stopping by with coffee,” to read a while!

Friday, December 25, 2020



I see a white canvas, on a white Christmas. I will darken this canvas. The canvas outside remains white, as evening brings on the night.

The origin of the term Christmas relates to Christ's Mass. The divine, eternal plan of salvation was realized, when the eternal Word became flesh, born of a virgin, to live His perfect life, to be crucified and die, to be resurrected from the dead, and to ascend to Heaven. We, who are ready, await the return of our Lord and Savior, when He comes to take us Home. We may go Home, before He returns.

The secular and temporal trappings of Christmas are minor, in the context of eternity. The snow looks clean and pretty. We are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.

Christmas Eve Rain to Snow

Yesterday, the weather, until about 3:45 PM, wasn't very pleasant. It was rain, rain, go away. The snow took over. The ground became white quickly. We were enjoying Christmas Eve snow, which began, in the late afternoon. The snow continued today.

The last photograph record that I have, of snow on Christmas day, was in 2010. The snow could have started on that Christmas Eve. Searching this website finds the article and photographs, about my snowy 75th hike, on House Mountain. The 12/26/2010 article includes fifteen snow photographs, which I'd taken, during the hike, earlier that day.

In 2019, Christmas Eve was different. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I visited my youngest brother and his family. It was a warm, springlike day. We had fun at a nearby park. They played basketball. (My “bionic” right foot didn't want to join them.) Instead, I “hiked a ridge,” in a T-shirt, as the following photograph shows.

Christmas Eve, 2019, was “evidence” of “global climate change,” as the propagandists try to force on any, who are gullible enough to believe them.

So, what does Christmas Eve, 2020, prove? The climate does change. It has been doing so, for thousands of years. (I affirm and can prove the creationist view, of a young earth.) There is more proof of Father Frost (the Russian term for the guy, who brings presents on Christmas) than of so-called man-made climate change!

Yes, I know. I could not help but toss in a political point, against the propagandists, who won't go away.

Christmas Snow

The climate change propagandists could not “snow” us, on this Christmas. We have snow! This morning, about 7:30 AM, I measured, in two locations, in the front yard. Both measured six inches of snow. This was not a little two or three inch snow. This is a good snow!

The sun came and went, as the clouds varied, through the day. About 3:45 PM, the clouds took over, and more snow started falling! (Snow had been falling, at times, all day long.) At 4:52 PM, the typing of this sentence, it is snowing, about like it did this time yesterday!

From about 9 AM to 10 AM, this morning, I took the four photographs, below, using our Kodak camera (not my Samsung cell phone camera).

The above is from our back deck, looking southwest.

The above is from the edge of the driveway, looking southeast. Can you see Molly's paw prints, which are different than mine? Molly had some fun in the snow too! Our '08 Honda Civic and '06 Nissan Frontier are both in “the barn” (i.e., garage). Yes, our garage isn't cluttered with junk. Vehicles are in the garage, where they are supposed to be.

The above is looking southeast, from the deck.

The final photograph, above, is looking more south than southwest, from the deck.

I hope that we don't have to wait ten years, to have another snow on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Santa Claus gets tired of landing his reindeer sleigh, on dry or rainy roofs. Snow makes a smoother and quieter landing. I know. He told me, once I was old enough. I still believe. Santa Claus is real. He exists. I know him. He sends me an e-mail every now and then.


This Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have been better than 1982 (Papaw Wood), 1999 (Mom), 2000 (Mom), 2002 (Dad), and 2007 (Dad). This year has not been as much fun, as many previous years were (in childhood, as a young adult, and so forth). The rain to snow and the “Mask Mafia” hindered or quarantined the usual family gatherings. On balance, however, the good memories outweigh the bad ones. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman did talk, with the “Mask Mafia,” a few times today. (There were no online conferences!) Recently or today, I've talked, by phone, with my three brothers, my “adopted sister,” in Missouri, and one niece. (Are you reading this, Shanna?) We all, well enough, are "Livin' la Vida 'Rona" (with apology to Ricky Martin, 1999).

I thought about driving to and hiking House Mountain today. I was wise. My new ol' truck and I could negotiate most of the roads. Hogskin Road, however, was probably too treacherous. Also, with six or even more inches of snow, on the mountain, I could have stepped wrong and injured myself or, at least, my pride. In 174 hikes, so far, I have fallen only one time, back in my “pre-bionic” days. I know the switchback well. I was alone, on my way down, in the snow. My right foot planted on a rock that I though was covered only with snow. I had taken a careful step. Ice was under the snow. I slipped. My backside landed first, before the back of my head hit the rock behind me. I injured my pride only. If my head had hit first, well, I'd have gone Home. Others would have either come to get my carcass or left it there, for the buzzards!

What is "Livin' la Vida 'Rona," you ask? Well, I overcome my Corona Myopia Psychosis, by enjoying my sarcastic humor! (We all have Corona Myopia Psychosis. Denial is a symptom.) I'm just trying to live the wild, new cold virus life, y'all! The propaganda machine is set, to keep running, like a runny nose, for at least another year. I predict that, in 2022, this new cold virus will be in our rear view mirrors – as it is in mine, as much as I can get rid of it, in my mind.

Well, at 5:44 PM, the time of the typing of this sentence, I think that I'll publish this article, sixteen minutes before supper. I hope that you all had a Merry Christmas, even if a tragic event is happening or has happened recently. I know. I have known tragedy and loss, around several Christmas seasons. In time, if we have accepted the gift of Christ, then we will be together, at Home, with Jesus and many loved ones, who are, even now, filled with everlasting Christmas joy.

Sunday, December 20, 2020


Initial Introduction

On 12/16/2020, a rainy Wednesday, at 3 PM on the dot, I had begun to write. I will continue to write topically. Sermons are either topical or textual. I remember. I hope that you were staying dry and that you will enjoy my topical “life, such as it is,” update.

By the way I have set up my website, so that you may sign up for e-mail messages, when I post an article. I will not know who you are. I will not know your e-mail address. It's completely safe -- better than “Farcebook” on identity protection. I signed myself up to receive e-mails for my own articles! I can’t see, on my own website, that I signed myself up! I just get an e-mail (one only so far, for the 12/13/2020 article), when I post an article!

Since my 11/22/2020 article, within the context of my 12/13/2020 article, the following has been “life, such as it is,” to this date. Warm up a cup of coffee, and read a while!

12/20/2020 Introduction Continued

On 12/19/2020, Saturday, I had continued. On 12/16/2020, I had written my initial section, below, about Mom. On that date, I had been forestalled, by my efforts to repair our microwave. A technician had arrived. The 2003 microwave is toast (pun intended). We'll get another microwave. Otherwise, our Sharp “Half Pint" microwave that we’ve had since the 1980’s is in the kitchen. It had been in the basement, in protected storage. It still works. We can still “zap" stuff!

On a cloudy Sunday afternoon, I will finish and publish this article, finally. “Life, such as it is," is interesting at times.

Mom (11/24/1932 – 12/27/2000)

If you search “Mom," you will find several articles that I've written about Mom. She would have been 88 years old, on 11/24/2020, if she’d lived. On that Tuesday, I was working, at the office, instead of at home, in the insanity of my schedule. I remembered.

On 12/28/1999, Mom, as we found out later, did not have the flu. The cerebellar hemorrhage -- caused by her arteriovenous malformation, a birth defect -- had leaked, not ruptured completely, which would have killed her. I’ve written about the details in the past.

On 12/27/2000, Mom “went to see Jesus," as she had stated, before she passed. I’ve written about the details in previous articles. On 12/24/2000, I was with Mom at Holston Valley Medical Center. I had signed the papers, to bring Mom home to die, with hospice care. (That was the hardest task in my life.) Before the ambulance, which I followed, came to transport Mom home, she had stated to me (on that late Christmas Eve afternoon, as darkness was falling), “You all must let me go. I want to go see Jesus.”

Last Christmas, 2019, we had the 20-year Christmas tree. I wrote about it, with a photograph. This year, we do not have a Christmas tree.

Mom, I love and miss you bunches. I’ll see you again, at Home.

Thanksgiving: "Mask Mafia" Compliant

My youngest brother and his family stayed home. They developed their appetites, by clearing and burning leaves. That's a chore. I've helped my youngest brother a few times in the past. Their many trees produce many leaves.

My next to youngest brother did come here to eat Thanksgiving supper (6 PM) with us. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman was happy that we had a guest.

Her family, living three miles away, were “Mask Mafia" compliant. They enforced compliance on my long-suffering wife. I “enjoyed” listening to them “video conference” most of the afternoon. I interjected a pithy comment at times. That was not much fun.

I should have gone hiking! Mrs. Appalachian Irishman should have gone also!

My youngest brother and his family drove down from my home town, to visit us, on Saturday, 11/28/2020. The "Mask Mafia" could not stop Ferrells from standing against Corona Myopia Psychosis, even if we were sitting mostly, while talking and enjoying seeing each other face-to-face, with no masks (either physical or otherwise)!

New Desktop Computer

In March 2005, we got our desktop computer, from the Computer Depot LLC, my now former "computer guy." The total cost was $1,112.17. They had been my “computer guy,” as needed, for upgrades and one repair. The desktop has been a faithful servant. It still works. The 2 GB RAM, however, is too slow for the demands of Windows 10. I had called, with e-mail follow up, to my former "computer guy." I had assumed that we'd do business again. I awaited a call or e-mail reply, with their details. Crickets chirped. I left voice mail, with my interest in doing business, if I could get an e-mail or phone reply. Crickets still chirped. I fired my former "computer guy."

Data Tech 11 became my new "computer guy!" On 11/27/2020, Friday, after the initial phone conversation and e-mail follow up, I bought and brought home our new desktop computer, with 16 GB RAM. The total cost was $678.83. The new desktop is great! The only trouble that I had was fighting "Microcrap," as I transfered files and programs from our old desktop to our new desktop. I won the technology war! My computer guy could have done it, but I wanted to.

I recommend highly Data Tech 11 to anyone who has computer related needs. Check out the website! They offer other types of services also. On 12/7/2020, Pearl Harbor Day, I mailed a postal letter to the owner, Michael Jesenick, with my highest praise and recommendation. I hope that he uses my letter to promote his business, as I encouraged him to do.


On a cloudy Sunday afternoon, 11/29/2020, I visited the homeplace. I did my usual tasks. I called our across the road neigbors and spoke with them a while. They were taking it easy indoors. The next two photographs are from the homeplace.

The homeplace is doing well enough. My new ol' truck still likes to get into a photograph!

Granny Ferrell (11/30/1892 - 6/11/1971)

Molly Gertrude Archer Ferrell, Granny Ferrell, had a heavenly birthday, on 11/30/2020. I worked at home that day, in the insanity of my work schedule. I remembered.

Granny, I love you. I remember. I’ll see you again, at Home.

Bionic Breakthrough?

By the way, winter began on 12/1/2020. I know. I am right. On 12/4/2020, Friday (a work at office day, based on the bureaucratic whatever schedule), my "bionic" right foot step began to feel almost like my normal left foot step! The right step is not exact yet, but I have been feeling profound improvement, beginning that day! Since 6/16/2016, when I took my first three steps with the rolling walker, I have seen gradual improvement. 12/4/2020 was a significant "step." I amost cried! (As a man, I knew better.) The last time that I cried was in early 2000, face on the floor, at the apartment, begging God to restore Mom to good health.

My "bionic" left shoulder and right knee are showing signs of good improvement also. Of course, the "crossover reactions," as they are called, are also "talking" to me. I deal with it all. I am going forward, slowly, every so slowly, in my ten-year recovery process, which started on 3/29/2016.

12/12/2020 Saturday Chores

I do the usual chores on Saturdays. 12/12/2020, Saturday, added three extras. My last new cold virus compliant haircut was on 10/24/2020, seven weeks previously, instead of the usual four. I needed a haircut. My fine barber, at Tony's Best Clips, Facebook, gave me another fine haircut. We had a great conversation also.

Next, my new ol' truck got a handwashing at Synergy Auto Wash, Halls. The rain held off well enough. $13.00 is a great price for a hand washed exterior plus tire clean. (I always give a good tip.)

Finally, he got an oil change at Halls Express Lube. (He was happy.) Since the 8/22/2020 oil change, we'd racked up only 1,835 miles, but it had been almost four months since that oil change. The oil change location is a mask free zone. No employee or customer has contracted the new cold virus there. The old oil came out almost as clean as the new oil.

My “Adoptive” Sister

My “adoptive” sister, in Missouri, sent me an e-mail, on 12/14/2020 (a work-at-home day). Her daughter's birthday was that date. (Why didn't I remember?)

First, I called my “adoptive” sister. We enjoyed catching up by phone. (Yes, I was wearing a mask, to not transmit any asymptomatic new cold virus germs that I may have to her.) I talked with her age 90 mother also.

Then, I called her daughter. She's getting a bit of age on her now, but she is holding up very well! That was another fine conversation. It had been a while!

My Brothers

My next to youngest brother calls about every other weekend. He had called last weekend. He's getting along well enough.

I thought that I'd get House Mountain hike #175 yesterday, 12/19/2020, after hauling trash. My youngest brother called, just as I was about to take a shower. We had a long conversation. His family and he are enduring Corona Myopia Psychosis well enough.

As I was about to drive off to haul trash, my next-to-eldest brother called. (I'm the eldest.) He left voice mail. I returned home, after trash hauling, to call him, instead of going hiking. He has a new caregiver who is from Russia! He passed his phone to her. We started in Russian. We switched to English. We finished in Russian. She passed the phone back to my brother. That was fun! He called it his Christmas gift to me!


Well, it took me five days, from 12/16-20, to get this article published. "Life, such as it is," does happen.

The Christmas gift to the world was the immaculate conception of Jesus. He was born of a virgin. He became a man. He lived and died as a man. He was resurrected as Jesus the Christ. The Word had become flesh. He lives, still eternally. He awaits all who have accepted his free gift, who are living in honor of it.

Our 2019 Christmas tree was the 20-year tree, marking the Christmas tree that Dad and I got for our apartment, while Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and Mom shopped. There is no 2020 Christmas tree. Mom became ill, on 12/28/1999. She "went to see Jesus" on 12/27/2000. We didn't have a Christmas tree in 2000. We will not this year.

I trust that you all have accepted the Christmas Gift. If not, send me an e-mail! I'll help you accept it! My e-mail is in my profile.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

HERITAGE: SANTA IN 1970 (published 12-13-2020)


On 12/12/2020, a rainy late Saturday afternoon, at 5:14 PM, I had begun to write the following.

Well, good evenin’, y'all! Three weeks have past since my last articles, on 11/22/2020. My goal is to publish an article weekly. “Life, such as it is,” however, does happen. Depending on the rain, I may write and publish more tomorrow. Otherwise, House Mountain hike #175 will call me, tomorrow afternoon!

On 12/10/2020, a friend posted a photograph from 1970. She was sitting on Santa’s lap, in a department store photograph. It was in the context of her childhood memories. The times were happier and simpler. The photograph and her comments inspired me to write. I have been writing in my mind, off and on, since 12/10/2020. I now take pen in hand to bring my mental writing to paper.

My friend stated, in the caption to her photograph, that is was a different time certainly. My initial comment stated, “Heritage reminds us of pleasant days, in hope of a better than now future. I may write on the topic, by your inspiration.” We continued to share pleasant comments on the topic. The following is a continuation of her inspiration to my writing.

On 12/13/2020, 2:42 PM, I continue to write. (Last evening’s 6 PM supper and Molly doggy inside postponed this article.) The weather turned from cloudy to sunny early enough today, for House Mountain hike #175. It would have been muddy, so I decided to catch up on writing. I’ll get hike #175 later this month. I have at least two more articles in mind but not on paper yet.

Side Point Humor

As a humorous side point, I did a “Gaggle" search for “1970 department store photograph of an age 10 boy on Santa's lap." I was age 10, at Christmas in 1970. The search didn't show any particularly interesting photographs. It did show the one below!

“Fine” job, "Gaggle!" I see a cow "out standing" in her field. That's an “outstanding” search selection! That looks like a “1970 department store photograph of an age 10 boy on Santa's lap!” (I thought that y’all would enjoy my “punny” humor!)

Christmas Heritage

My friend expressed vivid words that matched her photograph. She was reminiscing her childhood Christmas in 1970. At Christmas, we remember Christmas times of years ago, or decades ago, if we are old enough.

I remember Christmas in 1970 fairly well. Three of us boys were born. I was age 10. Next to eldest brother was age seven. Next to youngest brother was age one. Youngest brother would be born about three years later. Mom (11/24/1932 – 12/27/2000) and Dad (9/17/1927 – 1/25/2008) were younger.

Papaw Ferrell (born 4/13/1880) had passed away, about a month before, on 11/21/1970, at age 90. Granny Ferrell (born 11/30/1892) was still alive. She passed on 6/11/1971, so 1970 was her last Christmas. Dad had taken my next to eldest brother and me, to visit Granny Ferrell on Christmas Eve in 1970. She was living alone, in the furnished basement apartment, at the home of one of Dad’s sisters and family. Granny Ferrell always had fresh, homemade cake for us! I hugged her neck, as always.

We lived at the “‘ol' Livesay place,” in east Hawkins County. We would have three more Christmas times there. We moved into the “home place,” also in Hawkins County, in the summer of 1974.

About two weeks before Christmas, I had hiked about on the Livesay farm and ridge lands, to find a good Christmas tree, to bring home for decoration. We still have some of the original decorations that Mom kept through the years.

Granny Wood (6/16/1901 – 8/12/1991) and Papaw Wood (9/4/1901 – 3/14/1983) had driven up from their Bean Station home, on Christmas Eve, to spend the night and be with us for Christmas Day, as they always did then.

On Christmas Eve, Papaw and I, along with everyone, enjoyed the eggnog. We enjoyed listening to his stories, on various family topics. Granny was always bright-eyed in joy. She helped Mom with all the Christmas fixins. We enjoyed the simple time of family and heritage. We three boys went to bed early, of course. Papaw Wood once said, maybe on that Christmas Eve, that we might hear sleigh bells, if we didn’t get to sleep early enough.

On Christmas Day, maybe that year, I could have sworn, and told Papaw Wood, that I knew that I had heard sleigh bells the night before! I still think that I did!

I don’t remember the gifts that my brothers and I received, from Santa and from family. I do remember the Christmas joy of getting up early, smelling the breakfast aroma from the kitchen, and seeing what Santa had brought! After the gift opening and sharing wonder, we enjoyed family conversation and the busy dinner (12 PM) preparations. I always “snuck” some turkey!

Depending on the weather, my next to eldest brother and I may have spent some time outside, with our dogs (Bandit and Blacky, at the time). Our dogs enjoyed the leftovers, the few that Mom saved for them.

Granny and Papaw always left about mid afternoon, “before the sun started going down too much,” as Papaw would say. He didn’t like to drive into the setting sun, as most of us don’t.


Christmas time comes and goes, often with good memories and sometimes with bad memories (as in 1982, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2007). The heritage continues -- or at least it should.

On Christmas Eve, 2019 -- before Corona Myopia Psychosis and Vote Early, Vote Often, drove this once great nation to its knees -- Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I enjoyed a warm (not due to man-made global climate change) Christmas Eve, at my youngest brother’s home, in Hawkins County.

He, his wife, their two daughters, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman, and I had a fine Christmas Eve dinner (12 PM). Afterward, we enjoyed the warm weather, in a nearby park. My youngest brother and family were behind the shelter. My youngest brother is visible. Mrs. Appalachian Irishman took the above photograph. I was “hiking on the monkey bars!”

Despite “these challenging times” and the so-called “new normal,” my friend -- who inspired this article, by her 12/10/2020 photograph and comments -- and I, along with many others, in the “we won't be silent much longer” majority, continue to stand for Appalachian family heritage! We will not back down! Will you join us – if you haven’t done so already? Stand!

Don’t try to drive into the setting sun, y’all!

Okay, at 5:45 PM, I’ll stop, before supper, at 6 PM. I’ll have another couple of articles in a few days. Wait for them! You are welcome to sign up to receive emails, once I publish an article, if you wish.