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.

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