The “Centerpiece of Christmas”…Friends and Family

photo 1 (100)  Dear Reader:

Every year, without fail, Christmas arrives with Honey bringing me the centerpiece “Apple Tree.” The smell from the apples and pineapple bring (for me) the scent of Christmas…the longer the centerpiece stays in place…the more the apples and pineapple ferment until the most delicious aroma permeates the dining room and “Happy Room.”

Today, whenever we think of fruit and greenery together…we think of Colonial Williamsburg. Brooke and I, my cousin Bobby and brother David visited there one year for a few days after Christmas and it was just beautiful. However, the history behind the pineapple actually goes back to the days of the explorers.

Columbus and his crew “discovered” the pineapple in Guadeloupe in 1493 on their second (less famous) voyage to the New World. They called it the piña, due to its resemblance to a pine cone, and brought the “exotic” fruit back to Spain.

It took awhile but England and a few other European countries figured out how to grow it and soon it became a sign of hospitality. Captains of ships going to and from Central America, upon their return home, would often spike the pineapple and display it on their front porch as a way of letting the town know that the Captain was home.

Soon the hospitality extended to carving the symbol of the pineapple on bedposts to show their guests that they were receiving the nicest room and bed in the home in honor of their stay.

Today there is a town by the name of “Pineapple” in Alabama. It was originally named “Friendship” but another hamlet had beaten them to that name…so it was changed to Pine Apple… (this area was filled with pine and apple trees.) It has eventually evolved into one word.

(Signs of this universal symbol of hospitality are seen painted on the front doors of homes and the town’s welcome sign, carved in fanciful Christmas decorations, atop gate-posts and roof-tops, carved into bedposts and head-boards, and found in a variety of table centerpieces).

I have come to realize, however, that even if I could manage to stick the apples in the nails correctly (Mike built the platform) and get the pineapple on and the greenery in place…it wouldn’t be the same without Honey. Christmas doesn’t come until Honey arrives bearing friendship…which is the essence of Christmas.

photo 3 (61)  Every year I tell Honey to please let the Apple Tree be the gift…it is all I need…but if you know Honey…Santa Claus pales beside her. Yesterday she also brought ginger snaps, canned tomatoes/soups, and this Christmas butterfly for the Christmas garden.

photo  I know God chose Honey to be my guardian angel…and did I ever luck up….she is simply amazing! She is the “center piece” of Christmas for me.

So until tomorrow….the only real center piece we need at Christmas is God… who is LOVE….symbolized for us  through friends and family. There will never be a centerpiece more beautiful than this love.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Last night the family met at John and Mandy’s to exchange presents with Walsh, Mollie, and Rutledge since they will be flying to Washington, DC to spend Christmas at Mollie’s sister’s (Chelsey) home and all the family. Merry Christmas  Temples!

The theme for us last night should definitely have been the “Night of Caps” because we saw all shapes and sizes of them….starting with Rutledge’s new sporty cap and scarf….to be shared with his cousins.

photo 1photo 3 (63)photo 2 (91)  Even Jake wanted to give it a try.

I had bought two woolen caps for Eva Cate and Rutledge from Ireland…but getting them to both look at the camera wearing them was harder than going to Ireland….so we decided to just go for random photos…worked better.

photo 1photo 2 (92)

Tigger got his antlers on….photo 3 (64)

Rutledge tried on Eva Cate’s tiara….and Jake told mommy he wanted to announce the family Christmas present.

photo 1photo 3 (65)

A swimming pool! I think they are going to be very popular this summer!

photo 5 (36)


Walsh made the barbecue for the party and it was delicious…I found myself going back to get some more without the bun….it was too good to spoil it with bread. Then our birthday boys had a cake….Kringle Dingle (Walsh) Dec 23 and Deduction Dingle (Tommy) Dec. 29. They had a little help from Eva Cate blowing out the candle.

photo 4 (50)photo 2 (93) Kaitlyn got this t-shirt done for Tommy for his birthday…Tommy adores Rudy and always calls him his “Baby Boy.”

The center piece of birthdays and Christmases gatherings: family!

Merry Christmas from all the Dingle/Turner Family!

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About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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3 Responses to The “Centerpiece of Christmas”…Friends and Family

  1. Cindy says:

    Merry Christmas dear Becky. Love all your family pictures.


  2. Gin-gEdwards says:

    You are right…Honey is such a special, special person. I love the Pineapple/Apple centerpiece. And, the pictures were delightful. Now I know where you were. I called to drop by yesterday, but missed you. Will try again later today.


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