Saturday, December 23, 2017

Happy Birthday to my mother, December 23

As we approach Christmas, this special holiday for most of us in this country, we think of family and friends who are "near to us, dear to us," and especially those who are no longer with us.
Lois Robison as a young girl
Today, December 23, is the birthday of my mother, Lois Robison Council, who was born in 1904 in Decatur County, Georgia. 

My memories of Christmas are filled with thoughts and love for my mother. We always had a Christmas tree although some of them were worse than a Charlie Brown tree, a small long leaf pine cut from the woods on our farm. We had no lights on the first tree I remember because we had no electricity on our farm. In 1947, The Rural Electric Administration brought electricity to homes in rural areas and made a huge difference in our lives.

In some ways it was similar to the Internet today. Many people in our mountains in Appalachia still can't get Internet service. They feel left out of what is happening in the rest of the world, I imagine.

But our Christmas tree with no lights was colorful because my sister and I made colored rings with paper and strung them together on our little tree. On Christmas morning two pretty little baby dolls lay in boxes open under that tree. I still remember that feeling of surprise and wonder.

On the radio we listened to Christmas Carols -- Silent Night, Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem, and we learned the story of Jesus from Mother who had been brought up in the Methodist Church and from our Sunday School teacher, Mary.

Once we had electricity in our home, we had red and green lights on our trees that made those baby dolls shine under the tinsel. 

Christmas was always a time for family to gather and have a big meal at Mother's table. She cooked and cooked and when the nine of us sat down we had a delicious meal, no matter whether we had little money in the early days or were financially stable in later years. Mother created a marvelous meal. 

In the forties when times were hard, she cooked a hen from her flock and made cornbread dressing and gravy. With her superb biscuits and vegetables from the summer garden that she had canned, we had a meal fit for a king.

As time went on, our holiday meals became a bit different except for the cornbread dressing and gravy and biscuits. I don't remember the year that Mother was encouraged to make oyster dressing to go with our large turkey that was big enough to feed the seven of her kids and now their spouses. Around the big table stories were told and laughter filled every corner of that house. The sisters-in-law brought their own dishes to add to the table. The four brothers and my sister, June, now had children and another table was set up for the kids. 

One of the traditions in our family was the celebration of Mother's birthday on the 23rd of December. Her sister, Mildred, two years younger, had the same birth date, so they exchanged gifts at our house. As the years passed the birthday celebration was often held on Christmas Eve and many of Mother's family came to our house. Today a Christmas Party is held in December by members of my family and descendants of Mother's sister and brothers come. I have moved away and seldom attend the party now. But I think of my mother and her sweet sister this time of year and remember how much they loved each other and how much family meant to them.

My mother, Lois, and her sister, Mildred, December birthday girls in late 1970s. Mother passed away in 1980. 

My beautiful mother before she married Coy Lee Council. I often thought how fortunate he was to have her and how fortunate I am to have had them as my parents.

To you, my readers, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and I wish for you a blessed and healthy new year.


Elephant's Child said...

Such precious memories. And such stunning looking women.
Happy holidays and a happy and healthy New Year is a delightful hope - which I gratefully accept and return.

Bill Ramsey said...

Glenda, Your memories are so clear and compelling. I shared them broadly because I believe that in the rush of the holidays it is far to easy to forget that that those who went ahead of us did everything they could to make Christmas special. Sacrifice was the norm and none of them expected a hero medal for doing what they did. Thank you for starting my day with this lovingly written piece.

Tipper said...

Such a beautiful poignant post Glenda!! I really enjoyed it. I hope your Christmas was extra Merry this year.


Glenda Council Beall said...

Thank you, Elephants Child. The pictures of my mother are precious to me. She was so lovely, and I have heard that she was loved by all who knew her.

Glenda Council Beall said...

Bill Ramsey, Thank you for commenting and sharing my story about Christmas and Mother. I am glad you liked it.

Glenda Council Beall said...

Hi Tipper,
So good to have you drop by and comment on my post. I am glad you enjoyed it. I hope you and your dear family have the best possible new year. I am so glad the girls are doing well with their singing. I hope to go and hear them this spring.