Sunday, December 25, 2016

Rudd Christmas Farm...A Southern Ohio Memory



***Enjoy this classic holiday post***

A holiday tradition that many people in southern Ohio enjoyed throughout the years was a visit to see the lights. Actually, it was called Rudd's Christmas Farm and it featured almost a million lights by the time it closed in 1999. The light display was nestled in the hills of southern Ohio near the Shawnee National Forest in a town called Blue Creek.

I knew Blue Creek because that's where my Granny and Uncle Tommy lived. Each year after Thanksgiving Mr. Rudd would flip the switch and the twinkling lights would fill the nighttime sky with a dazzling display of electric sunshine. If you were looking for plastic Santa Clauses or mechanized Frosty the Snowmans then this light display wasn't for you. Rudd's Christmas Farm celebrated the true meaning of Christmas, which was the birth of Jesus. Some years he would have live animals on display and a manger scene was usually set up in the barn.

We usually went to see the lights on Christmas night. We had spent the day at Granny's house--eating and running down all of the batteries in our new toys. As darkness began to close in it was time to load up in her truck and drive over to see this year's display. I don't know how we managed but we always seemed to fit 23 people in Granny's truck, plus a wheelchair.

The drive to see the lights was an adventure by itself. It was a couple miles back a curvy road with a large stream on one side and a big drop off down into a gully on the other. Throw in some icy weather and a couple tour buses and you got yourself a happening situation.

Once we unloaded and made our way through the display it was time to meet Mr. Rudd. Both Mr. Rudd and my Granny had extremely large families. He didn't know who you specifically belonged to, but he knew you were one of Margaret's kids' kids. Greetings were exchanged and Christmas carols were sang with full-bellied gusto. It was a good time.

I guess the event that stands out the most about my visits to Rudd's Christmas Farm was the year he did something special for my family. Due to horrible weather and a death in the family we were unable to view the lights on Christmas night. We had several family members that didn't make it to Granny's house until well up into January. Granny placed a phone call and asked if Mr. Rudd might turn on the lights for a few minutes so we could witness the majesty of his display. Not a problem, he told my grandmother, come on over.

Now, that's the true meaning of Christmas.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Gianetta

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve Traditions


Some of my fondest memories around the holidays occurred on Christmas Eve. It wasn’t the actual event that was so much fun but the preparations up to that special day.

My Dad would always help in the decorating of the living room. There are certain decorations that had to go in a specific spot each year. We always had red and green crepe paper chains that ran across the ceiling of the living room. We would take branches from the bottom of the Christmas tree and place them on the mantel above the fireplace. We had a fabulously colored gold and shiny tinsel looking thing that hung from one of the doorways.

My job on Christmas Eve was to always set out the different food-laden bowls in the living room. We always had a bowl with various nuts, mainly walnuts. We had a specific bowl for the fruit, mainly navel oranges that we ordered from the FFA each year. And you can’t forget about the cheese plate. (Which was my favorite.)

Both sets of my grandparents would come to my house each year for Christmas Eve dinner. My dad’s mom and my step-grandfather, both affectionately known as Mamaw and Papaw, as well as my mom’s mother and her brother, also known affectionately as Granny and Uncle Tommy. You needed to make sure you called Mamaw “mamaw” and Granny “granny”, or they’d let you know about it.

We would have a very big meal and then get to open our presents from our grandparents. I always knew what I was getting. Mamaw gave up buying us presents when we were really young. Instead, we were given money to go buy ourselves a present, which you had to wrap and then open in front of Mamaw.

Granny had so many grandchildren that all she could afford was usually a dollar bill and a pair of socks. I didn’t mind because I always knew that I would get a new pair of dress socks for Christmas.

Christmas Eve also meant something else too. That night the furnace got turned up to almost 80. Both grandparents were extremely cold-natured and we would have the fireplace going full blast and the furnace wide open. I loved it! I swear that was the coldest house I have ever lived in. The furnace had two vents—one into the living room and the other into mom and dad’s bedroom. There was an exhaust pipe that ran up through the ceiling and on out to the outside. The pipe was right beside my bed and I would hug it (it was warm) before I burrowed into my bed covered with about 15 quilts and blankets.

It seemed we were in bed relatively early and we tried to stay awake so we could monitor the comings and goings of the busy bees downstairs as they readied the living room for Christmas morning. I’m not sure what time they got to bed but everything was always perfect.

Our Christmas Eve dinners were always a lot of fun and something that we looked forward to. Sadly, several of the key players are no longer with us and they are deeply missed. We have a new tradition for Christmas Eve that we started after we lost Dad. I’m not sure why, but now we always go out for Chinese food.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Thing About Birthdays So Close To The Holidays



I was holiday shopping recently and got behind a group of people that included a grandma, daughter and several grandkids. The mall was so packed it was hard to get past them as they paused to window shop so I just fell along behind them as  they lingered near several stores that catered toward a younger clientele. The stores that seemed to capture their attention the most was the Disney Store and the Build-a-Bear Workshop.

When the family stopped first at the Disney Store the children went absolutely bananas. "Oh, Granny, can we get a princess dress? Oh, Mommy, can we get a movie? Pleasssseee. It's almost my birthday. Pleeeeeeazzzze."

The daughter looked toward her mother who just shook her head and gave her an 'I don't know' look. "No, honey. Not today. It's almost Christmas and you're going to get lots of presents from Santa and your Aunt Susan and Aunt Alice."

I watched the children frown slightly as they processed this information so they stopped looking and continued on through the mall. What was surprising was that the kids accepted what their mother had told them and hadn't pitched a royal fit.

When we arrived at the Build-a-Bear Workshop the excitement started all over again. "Granny! Mommy! Can we make a bear? I just love teddy bears, don't you?
Oh, please! Cam we make one, please? My birthday is in TWO days. Pleeeaaase."

Mother and daughter exchanged another look and this time the grandmother said, "Sweetie, you're gonna get lots of presents for Christmas."

"I know, but they won't be for my birthday," one said with a pronounced frown.

At that moment, an older gentleman walked up and everybody just squealed, "Grandpa!"

"What's going on?" Grandpa asked.

Granny and daughter informed him about the shopping they had done and wondered where he had been. "I've been sitting on that bench over there with all the other old guys," he said with a chuckle. "I saw y'all over at the bear shop and wandered what you was fussing about?"

"Well, the kids were wanting some things for their birthday," said the daughter.

"What's wrong with that?" he asked.

"Dad, they are going to get tons of presents for Christmas. They do every year and we have this same conversation every year."

"That's a load of crap. It seems to me that it isn't the kids' faults that they were born so close to Christmas. Go ahead, get 'em what they want and I'll pay for it."

My thoughts exactly!

(I just hope you have a grandpa to pay for it.)

Friday, December 16, 2016

Holiday Conversations


Since Thanksgiving was so late this year my family and many others, I'm sure, have been playing catch up for the past several weeks. The following is actual dialogue between my family members on various subjects.

MA Fat Woman: "You got your tree yet"?
Mom: "No, it's too early yet".
MA Fat Woman: "It's December 21. How much later are you going to wait?"
Mom: "It's been raining. I can't very well get a tree in the rain, can I? Besides, I called a guy and he said he would deliver it to me".
MAFW: "I didn't know that Christmas tree farms delivered?"
Mom: "Listen here young lady! Don't you get smart with me".

Sister: "What did you get Mom for Christmas?"
MAFW: "Nothing yet. She already has everything she could possibly want or need. What did you get her?"

Brother: "What does Mom want for Christmas?"
Sister: "I don't know. MAFW was supposed to do some hinting around and find out".

MAFW: "What would you like for Christmas this year?"
Mom: "Well, I've been through so many Christmases that I already have everything that I could possibly need".

Brother: "Did you find out what Mom wanted for Christmas?"
MAFW: "She said she had been through so many Christmases that she had everything that she could possibly want or need".
Brother: "That's helpful"!
Sister: "Ask her again".

MAFW: "Have you bought the turkey yet"?
Mom: "I don't think I want turkey this year. I might want to get a ham".
MAFW: "Why do you want ham?"
Mom: "I just want to try something a little different this year".

MAFW: "Mom wants to have ham for Christmas this year. She wants to try something different".
Brother & Sister: "Is she sick? What's going on? You're supposed to find out what she wants for Christmas and now you tell us she wants ham instead of turkey. Do we need to come earlier than expected?"

MAFW: Mom, Brother & Sister want to know if they need to come sooner for Christmas"?
Mom: "Lord, heavens what for"?
MAFW: "To see if you need any help getting the tree and buying the ham".
Mom: "You kids need to worry about your own problems, not mine. I've already got the tree up and decorated and I bought a turkey and a ham. See you on Christmas Eve"!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

O' Christmas Tree


I’ve been going to the same Christmas tree farm for the last fifty years. We're not related but I’ve been such a regular customer that the proprietor of said farm lets me drive the John Deere tractor and wagon to haul my tree in after I have made my selection.  For all of you city dwellers that think a Christmas tree farm is something set up on a vacant lot somewhere with a string of lights and overpriced Charlie Brown cedar bushes you’re wrong.

An authentic tree farm is where the trees are still in the ground and you take an axe and cut down the tree of your choice.  Now, before the tree-huggers start pelting me with bits of holiday fruitcake about the damage that I am causing the environment by chopping down a tree, let it be said that I recycle my tree every year.  I take my used tree and drop it in my friend’s lake to give the fish some added protective habitat.  I’m been doing that for about five years and I haven’t caught a fish out of that lake since.  I usually lose my line several times, probably on one of those dang trees.

When I went to get my tree this year I thought I was at the mall.  The owner of the farm saw me pull in and waved me over to the John Deere.  “Can’t talk now,” he said.  “This place is jumping.”

He was right.  I counted at least 4 pickups, 3 minivans, 2 SUVs, and a brightly colored red mustang.

I get the same kind of tree every year.  My favorite has always been a white pine.  There are several rules when choosing a tree.  You have to walk through the entire field, up and down the rows, checking out each tree.  I never choose one in the middle.  It’s either all the way down at the other end of the field or it’s the very first one I see.  In years past, I would take the handsaw and cut it down myself.  Something has happened over the years, if I get down on the ground I can’t get back up.  No problem, the owner will cut it for me, load it into the wagon, and then let me drive it back to the car.

The field was crowded with folks searching for just the perfect tree.  A lot of people had already been there; the selection of white pines wasn’t as good as in past years.  I had narrowed my choice down to 3 different trees and was trying to decide.  I was on the opposite side of the field when an older lady and gentleman sidled up to one of the trees that I was considering.  Before I could take one step in that direction, that old man had dropped to his knees and started cutting down my tree.  I turned to look toward the other tree that I had been considering and it was gone too.  I guess I was going to take the one closest to my car, the very first tree that I had looked at.  I started to walk away from my chosen one when I heard something from behind me.  It was a little boy that was standing excitedly beside my tree exclaiming that that was the tree he wanted.

He didn’t get it.  I caught the eye of the owner of the farm and he walked over and asked if I had made my selection.  I pointed to my Christmas tree and he chopped it down.  The little boy was standing there as his parents walked up to a freshly cut tree stump.  They looked at me and I looked at them and then we all looked at the owner of the Christmas tree farm who said this:  “Sorry folks, you’re too late; my niece has been watching this tree grow for the past five years.”

He looked at me, gave me a wink, and proceeded to carry my new Christmas tree over to my car.  Sometimes, it helps to know the owner.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 12

On my twelfth day of dieting my body said to me:

12 disappointing weigh-ins

11 times the kitties have told me to pick up her  book

10 minutes of walking

9 times I've cheated

8 glasses of water

7 slimy salads

6 sugar-free Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Thank goodness, that's over!  There's always next year!

Now, let's eat!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 11

11 times the kitties have told you to buy the book



10 minutes of walking

9 times I've cheated

8 glasses of water

7 slimey salads

6 sugarfree Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 10

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Hey! This thing is almost over.  Have you picked up my book yet? If you have, then I say, "way to go." If not, I say, "What are you waiting for?"


On my tenth day of dieting my body said to me:

10 minutes of walking

9 times I've cheated

8 glasses of water

7 slimy salads

6 sugar free Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 9




On my ninth day of dieting my body said to me:

9 times I've cheated (ate at Red Lobster)

8 glasses of water

7 slimy salads

6 sugar free Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 8




Have you picked up a copy of my book yet? It makes a great gift!

On my eighth day of dieting my body said to me:

8 glasses of water

7 slimey salads

6 sugarfree Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 7




It's less than three weeks until Christmas and the goodies are everywhere. But stay strong, you're over halfway there.

On my seventh day of dieting my body said to me:

7 slimy salads

6 sugar free Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 6



On my sixth day of dieting my body said to me:

6 sugar-free Jello cups

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

HEY! It's Christmastime! Don't you need an extra gift for Uncle Fred or "the take the present and pass it game?" Give a copy of my latest book.  It makes a great gift.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 5





On my fifth day of dieting my body said to me:

YOU LOST 5 POUNDS (all water weight)

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 4




Looking for a unique gift? Check out my latest book. You'll be laughing for days!

On my fourth day of dieting my body said to me:

4 protein shakes

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

Boy, howdy! You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 3



My crazy neighbor, Miss Merlethem Shatz, caught me outside today as I was putting up my Christmas lights. She said she had been watching me through the window and I looked like I could use a snack. Now, I'm always up for a snack, but she brought me one of those yucky tasting low-carb bars that usually results in a mad dash to the bathroom upon consumption.

I'm nothing if not neighborly, so I ate it and...well...it works great in my song.

Don't forget to buy a copy of my book. It makes a great gift!


On my third day of dieting my body said to me:

3 low-carb bars

2 hunger pains...

...and a

You can do it! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 2



I did really well on my first day of dieting. I finished off the no-bake cookies. Now on to day 2...

Don't forget to pick up my latest book. It makes a great gift!

On the second day of dieting my body said to me:


2 hunger pains...

...and

You're gonna do great! Just think how much better you'll feel.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Twelve Days Of Dieting...Year VII...Day 1



It's December once again and you know what that means: It's time for the Twelve Days of Dieting!

Please join me as I continue my quest to become the MA not so Fat Woman. I'm sure you've heard the holiday classic The Twelve days of Christmas. Well, my version is The Twelve Days of Dieting.

Check back for added days and don't hesitate to sing along!

Don't forget to pick up my book; it makes a great gift.

On my first day of dieting my body said to me, "You can do it, just think how much better you'll feel..."

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