December 21, 1983
Wow, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Really. I would have thought with all the doom and gloom about the end of the world as we know it we would be "canceling Christmas" this year. I guess being a preacher-in-training I should have known that the meaning of the season isn't wrapped up in fancy paper under an artificial tree in the living room. Anyway, with Debbie and I both working full time - and that in health care (I can't think of a more secure field right now!) - our employers have been able to pay us well in credits good at K-Mart, Bi-Lo, and even Wal-Mart. I read about Wal-Mart a few years back when the first stores came to Greenville. Some guy in Arkansas of all places started out in the dime store business thirty years ago. He took the first part of his name - "Walton" - to come up with a competitor to K-Mart. The article said he likes to deal in American goods when he can. Well, I guess that will be the "new way" around here, huh? A guy named "Walton" from the Ozarks, kind of like "John-boy" and the rest on family on Walton's mountain.
Funny, but that show began at Christmas time back when I was in high school! And then lasted up through last year's three TV movies. Sort of like us today, but with a mountain, I guess. They were in the Great Depression, a time when a lot of people didn't have running water and electricity -- but they made it through some how! Sad, in a way, also, because that was all about a family all living close together -- not separated by hundreds of miles like we are now. And there's not going to be a family reunion like there has always been in the past either. Yeah, Chuck will be coming over from BJ for the weekend -- Christmas on Sunday -- happens about every five or six years, but still seems a bit strange.
Well, I'm wrapping some simple stuff tonight after the children are in bed. I set up the car headlight in the kitchen so we could use the table after dark -- going to be a long night tonight, this being the first day of winter. Strangely, though, it's not too cold. We don't open the doors to the front of the house very often, and that includes the kitchen. Keeps the heat in the bedrooms. However, we're thinking of getting a wood-burning stove to put on the back porch (where it would be safer). I don't think the rental agency would like us putting it in the kitchen -- we'd have put in special tile and figure a way to get a chimney (maybe out the window?). It would be nice to have some kind of oven -- the only bread we have is made in a frying pan!
Speaking of cooking -- the rations this week included hot cocoa mix! No milk needed. I'm betting that stuff is rare enough these days! We even have the kind with tiny dried marshmallows in it. No eggnog, though. But hot apple cider, with a little cinnamon while it lasts, will be available (the local apples had a good season this year). If things are as bad as they say they are this may be the last Christmas that has these luxuries. I'm going to enjoy the memories of Christmases past and not worry too much about Christmas to come. And I am going make this a Christmas to remember - in spite of everything!
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