‘O Happy Day!’

Dear Reader:

Yesterday was the happiest of days…I got my car back!!!

I never thought I would be so happy to see the “Green Vue” again….I just went over and hugged it! I, literally, was filled with JOY!

(*After all, it is my Christmas present this year…and a surprise gift at that. (Not one  I wanted… but, still, I am just so grateful to have “wheels” again and not “bumming” rides from friends, neighbors, and family. Two and a half weeks is a long time! Between the Thanksgiving holidays and the shop being closed; then the search for the elusive problem…a lot of time passed.)

I made up for it yesterday. I started running all the errands that I had  put off for lack of mobility. I thanked my car and said a prayer at every stop sign and stop light yesterday…just so thrilled to have a secure vehicle to drive.

 

My first stop was Home Depot to get some poinsettias. For me Christmas is one large beautiful poinsettia…just like this one…which I am taking out to the barrel as soon as the sun starts going down. Mum out…poinsettia in!

 

 

 

 

While at Home Depot I spotted this double-bloom poinsettia. I have never seen anything like it…I thought the blooms were fake they were so full!!

 

 

 

There are other reasons I had poinsettias on my mind and why I made them my first priority after driving my car off the car shop/ parking lot…Anne Peterson just finished a watercolor of a pretty picturesque poinsettia. The painting was on a postcard invitation to her house for our annual church Christmas luncheon-gathering.

Then I discovered Anne submitted this same painting (that our public library -George Seago Library- is conducting until January 1) for an art contest. So all of you who live in the Summerville area, please add one more item on your check-off list…Let’s show our support for Anne! Go vote! Each person can only vote one time. There is also a sign-in/comment book located by the ballot box where you can leave a warm message for  her.

*As you enter the library take the first left and there is a room off the library where all the contestants/artists’ works are located. Take time to view them all…we have such wonderful artistic talent in our town!

It is the first painting on the back wall. The name of the painting is: “Flower of the Holy Night” after Tomie Dipaola’s  children’s book about the Legend of the Poinsettia. 

 

*I told Anne that this story was one of the first stories I told when I first began telling the Christmas Eve story over two and a half decades ago. It is a beautiful story of a little girl who has nothing to give the Christ-Child so she picks up a handful of weeds and wraps a string around them like a bouquet.

She is sad that she can only give weeds but she remembers the wise words Pedro  told her: “Even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes.” Suddenly the weeds burst into a glorious red color…more beautiful than anyone had ever seen. It became the “miracle” the townspeople remembered for years after that special Christmas Eve. They gave it the name ” Flower of the Holy Night.”

I would be remiss, as a history teacher, if I didn’t link our marvelous state with this popular state Christmas plant…and is it ever a good connection!

 

     The Legend and History of the Poinsettia

(Phoenix Flower Shops)

The plant we know today as the poinsettia has a long and interesting history. Native to Central America, the plant flourished in an area of Southern Mexico known as Taxco del Alarcon. The Aztecs used the plant decorative purposes but also put the plant to practical use. They extracted a purplish dye for use in textiles and cosmetics from the plant’s bracts. The milky white sap, today called latex, was made into a preparation to treat fevers.

The poinsettia may have remained a regional plant for many years had it not been for the efforts of Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779-1851). The son of a French physician, Poinsett was appointed as the first United States Ambassador to Mexico (1825-1829) by President Madison. He attended medical school himself, but his real love in the scientific field was botany. (Mr. Poinsett later founded the institution which we know today as the Smithsonian Institution).

Poinsett maintained his own hothouses on his Greenville, South Carolina plantations, and while visiting the Taxco area in 1828, he became enchanted by the brilliant red blooms he saw there. He immediately sent some of the plants back to South Carolina, where he began propagating the plants and sending them to friends and botanical gardens. They quickly spread from friend to friend to friend. 

Congress honors Joel Poinsett by declaring December 12th as National Poinsettia Day which commemorates the date of his death in 1851. The day is meant to honor Poinsett and encourage people to enjoy the beauty of the popular holiday plant.

*(Statue in Greenville, SC)

So until tomorrow…no gift is too humble for the Christ-Child if our heart arrives first.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

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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 ‘O Happy Day!’

  1. bcparkison says:

    I am so proud you have your wheels rolling again. The flowers are grand and Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without them.

    Like

  2. Jo Dufford says:

    I love the poinsettia plants. I always appreciated the S. C. connection to them. They bring so much beauty this time of year, until I second the first response, “It would be hard to imagine Christmas without them.” In fact, I find joy in everything about this season: church services, music, lights, decorations, friends, family, food, giving of gifts, sending cards, etc, but the most joy of all is knowing that we have a Savior and are free to celebrate His birth.

    Like

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