CHRISTMAS GREETINGS AND MEMORIES - From Our Readers

(12/24/2001)

Here is a poem I wrote in dedication to my Mom and Dad, Chester and Alma Starcher, who have both gone home to be with the Lord. They always made Christmas so special because being together with their family on holidays was the most important thing to them.

CHRISTMAS REMEMBRANCE

There's a special place the heart can go, that seems miles and miles away. and recalls to mind with tears and joy, memories of yesterday.

Of Christmas joys in seasons past, and happy days of old. and holidays spent with Mom and Dad oh, too many to be told.

How hard they'd work to deck our home, with lights so bright and clear. They shone for miles and lit the night, and filled folks hearts with cheer.

Mom would wrap the gifts and bake and cook, it made her happy as could be. And you'd find my Dad, fast asleep, right by the Christmas tree.

Oh, to have the time to tell each tale, would take days and weeks and years. But within our souls we relive them all, in fondness and with tears.

But time can't take or steal away, nor gold a purchase make, remembrance's that lie locked behind, our heart's memory gate...Submitted by Eva Mae Chapman

***

My 10 year old daughter wrote a Christmas story. She told me to tell you that a friend of hers (she wouldn't tell me who) is not very happy and that she (my daughter) wrote this story for her....Thank you, Thresa Liles

DEAR SANTA

A short story by Niki Liles

Dear Santa, I only want one thing for Christmas. I want my family to get along. My brothers and sister fight. Mom and Dad do too. Sometimes no one talks for hours at a time. So Santa, I want you too make my family get along.

XOXO
Katrina Clash

“Wow!”, said Santa, as he read the letter. “This is the only letter that hasn't asked for toys.” Santa walked into the kitchen and showed the letter to Mrs. Claus. As she read the letter her eyes swelled up with tears.

The next morning Santa readied his reindeer and helped his elves load the sleigh. He was ready. By 11 o’clock he was making his last stop...the Clashes. He parked the sleigh and jumped down the chimney. He delivered the presents (even if they didn't ask for them). Then he remembered the letter, so he put his finger on the side of his nose until he felt a funny feeling in his toes and said, “May this family have the joy of Christmas in their hearts.”

The next morning Katrina woke up to smiling faces and “Merry Christmases”. As she opened her presents she thought, “Wow! It really worked.” THE END.

***

On December 1, 1987, Tom became very ill and was admitted to St. Joseph Hospital in Parkersburg. The doctors were very concerned due to his history. In 1970 he had underwent open heart surgery at Cleveland Clinic to replace two valves which were damaged due to rheumatic fever as a child and bacterial endocarditis as an adult. Prior to the surgery Tom had spent eleven weeks in Cleveland, being treated with experimental drugs (now commonly used, Keflex). So seventeen years later this illness was a mystery. The doctors warned me that he would not survive without a miracle. My chore was to tell our two sons, John, 13 and Joey, 6, that the daddy that they adored might not be home for Christmas and that Christmas might be delayed for us unless that miracle happened.

On December 16, the doctors gave up all hope and decided to transfer Tom to Cleveland for evaluation. In the middle of a huge snow storm with me traveling with Tom in the back of a small truck style, four wheel drive ambulance, two drivers and a paramedic we headed to Cleveland. He remained critically ill, although within two hours of arrival, the Clinic doctors diagnosed Tom with adult onset rheumatic fever, one of twenty eight cases in the nation.

After a few days, I came home, There was nothing more that I could do for Tom and we both agreed that John and Joey needed me at home. As I was driving home that Sunday night, it was miserable, rainy, cold and foggy, Both outside the car and inside my heart there was a damp misery. We still did not know if Tom would live, and I practiced all the way home what I would say to the boys. This was not the time for happiness and cheer. I watched the twinkling lights on houses as I drove by knowing that our house stood without any decorations and certainly no cheer.

When I picked up the boys at our friend's home, Joey asked if we could put up our Christmas tree. With quiet tears, I tried to tell him I was tired, cold, and maybe we could do it after school the next day. He kept insisting that we had to put up a tree. Finally his brother who was sensitive to what I was feeling, told him to be quiet and bitterly said "We are not going to have a tree this year, dad is not going to be with us and so there won't be any Christmas." At that point we were in the house and I sat in the middle of our hall crying with both boys on my lap sobbing. Joey looked up at me and said "Mom, I prayed for daddy to get better, if we put up a tree he will come home to see it! We have to have Christmas.!!" So at 8:30 on that cold, rainy, miserable night we set out to find a tree. The only place I knew that had trees was towards Arnoldsburg, so we drove there. The first house where we usually bought a tree had none in the yard. I was about to pull away when the owner came to the door and told us to try Paul Bush, he had trees. After getting directions we went to see Mr. Bush. It was 9 PM by that time and I was not any more convinced than before that we would find a tree, but I couldn't say no to Joey or John, who by this time was showing a little more enthusiasm.

We stopped at the Bush home but it was dark and I could not see any trees in his yard. Mr. Bush had seen the lights of the car and came to the door as I was trying to explain to Joey that we would have to wait. Joey jumped out of the car, ran to Mr. Bush and said "Mister, my daddy is very sick, we need a tree so that he can get better and come home." I apologized and told him we would come back on Monday, but he looked down at Joey and said " No, this boy needs his tree tonight. We will have to go cut one."

So we went to the field, climbed a mountain, slipping and sliding all the way. At one point my shoe got sucked off in the mud, but with tears falling as heavy as the rain we cut the first tree we could hold on to. I don't remember if we paid Mr. Bush for that tree but he has always been in our prayers and thoughts at Christmas.

We came home and tried to put the tree in the stand, I had never done this before, so it was the first time we had any fun or laughed in many days. John sawed the bottom while Joey and I held the tree. We brought the tree in the house and I thought it was the ugliest tree I had ever seen, but I kept those thoughts to myself. We tied it to the wall (it wouldn't stand in the tree stand by itself) and went to bed. According to Joey the decorations could wait, it was the tree that was important.

We made arrangements to go to Cleveland on Christmas eve. Santa visited us early, so we loaded up the car with packages and after picking up Grandma Justice, we headed North. After getting settled in the hotel close to the hospital, John and I went to see Tom. He was barely able to talk due to weakness. While we were there, Joey and his grandma saw red lights landing on the hospital and he was sure it was Santa. ( Helicopters look a lot like Santa to a six year old).

On December 30, the doctors thought it might do Tom good to come home for a while. They told us he would be weak for a long time, but the hospital was depressing for him. So with the help of Pastor Brent And Nancy Franco, John and Roanna Stump and some great state troopers in Ohio, Tom came home again, in a snow storm.

Joey was ecstatic, his daddy came home to see the tree. He reminded John and I many times that "prayers and trees do bring miracles." Although Tom only got to stay for two nights before returning to Cleveland, he did get home for "Christmas".

In 1990 he had surgery to replace the valves which had worn out and he continues to do well. He is still a wonderful husband, loving father, a strong example to his sons and others of Jesus' love and testimony to the healing power of God through a child's prayer and faith at Christmas time.

God Bless you all, have a great Christmas, I know we will... Sherry Justice

***

Just wanted to wish all our Friends and Family a Very Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year. Remember who and what this season is about. Most of all give the best gift of all and it doesn't cost a cent. Give that person whom you meet a SMILE, you just might get one in return. Merry Christmas to All... The J.P. Morrison Family

***

TO WV "ALMOST HEAVEN" AND WHAT IT GAVE TO ALL US SEVEN

The "Powells, The "Houchins" The "Allens"
We all lived there
And how I can still remember my grandparents there

So for all who remain in the hills down there
You're not forgotten by the Buckeyes up here

Things may have changed from way back then
But the memories remain of my next of kin

So Merry Christmas and the Hur Herald too
For you really don't know or have a clue

How many hearts you fill with joy
So many memories with all your stories

God Bless America our beautiful land

And WV will remain my biggest fan

Janet (Powell) Savich, Akron, Ohio


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