A Childhood Christmas Memory

Dear Reader:

As most of you who “tuned” in yesterday realized…I am having computer problems. I have an old computer with new problems especially dealing with  anti-virus programs… that are no long compatible with this old Windows version on my computer.

I feel a new computer is just around the corner…. I do dread it…this old computer feels like an appendage to me physically and emotionally…it also means security…I know one way to pull all my programs and that is the only way I know…one way in and one way out. 🙂

After braving a few new anti-virus programs on my own yesterday out of desperation…most of which don’t work on my older version of Windows…I must have ‘hit’ something right! 🙂

…When I tried to get back in to my WordPress blog account…it finally went from slow backwards gray movements to rapid green movements…and bingo I was back. A true Christmas Miracle! (for now) 🙂

So, be forewarned… if for any reason, the blog doesn’t appear…it is not me who has come down with a virus… but some old computer ‘virus’ causing the problems. Just know I will do whatever it takes to get back as quickly as possible to write my daily blogs…if this happens again. Thank you for your patience ahead of time.

But right now…today…we are back on!

My last StoryWorth question asked about a childhood Christmas memory that stood out for me. It took awhile…but then I remembered it…the Christmas of the Ice Storm.

I was probably around nine or ten years old. Mother had packed all our presents and “Santa” surprises along with our suitcases…no small task… to go to Laurens to Grandmother Wilson’s farm house for Christmas.

Grandmother didn’t have central heat and a massive cold front came in, along with us, that Christmas Eve. It was bitter…inside and out. We all wore blankets and quilts…  for the first time ever…we set up a table in the living room closest to the fire that evening instead of eating in the kitchen…for warmth. Even our Christmas stockings were cold to the touch.

Mother and I had so many blankets and quilts on our bed that we could hardly breathe…but it was still cold. During the night I could hear the winds howling and wondering how Santa was going to get his sleigh around on this blustery night?

But all of that was forgotten that early Christmas morning…when I woke up to my first “White” Christmas!

*As a child I didn’t know the difference between an ice storm and a snow storm…at least until I later tried to build a snowman…all I knew was that it was beautiful. Even old cotton balls, still on the vines, had frozen.


We children were beside ourselves, screaming in glee and happiness. However the adults were looking at each other wondering how they were going to pull this Christmas off…because the ice had pulled down the electric lines during the storm and we had no electricity.

Uncle Herschel came to the rescue with his two mules and a large wagon-sleigh. It was filled to the brim with stacks of wood, more blankets, quilts, and pots of food. He also brought iron metal sticks to make a tri-pod in the fireplace to cook on and set up several tri-pods in the back yard.

I remember I had just finished reading a children’s civil war book and had seen pictures of the soldiers’ camp fires with those similar tri-pods cooking their dinner. I felt like a Civil War soldier…it made me so happy.

One childhood memory from that day stands out and that was watching Grandmother Wilson stir grits in a big pot hanging down from the tri-pod in the living room fireplace. Best grits I ever ate! *(Until Brookie’s….Brooke makes some “mean” grits…I’m here to tell yah!)

While the whole community of male farmers were trying to help the electric company out with restoring wires…the women were combining food together among the different families…cooking all of them on… in and outdoor tri-pods….best meal I ever had!

There was much laughter and fellowship…the meaning of Christmas was very much alive and bubbling… like the stews in the iron-cast pots over fires.

Once we children realized that we couldn’t make a snowman out of ice we discovered we could go sledding instead. Grandmother gave us old huge cookie sheets and we found old wooden sleds in the barn.

We spent that whole afternoon going up and down the little country road that connected Grandmother’s farm house to Uncle Herschel’s country store. What amazing memories.

And that night we all ate left-overs…played with some new toys we had gotten for Christmas by candlelight and sang Christmas hymns together. Best Christmas ever!

So until tomorrow…

It was this frosty Christmas scene (outside my yard) Christmas morning that took me back to the title picture memory of another fence with ice instead of frost…and then that brought back the famous long- ago ice storm that produced the most memorable Christmas ever!

That is why making memories is so important ….so one day my grandchildren will remember the Christmases, for better or worse, that stand out as the most memorable…not just the same old cookie cutter Christmas. The best ones are usually the ones where everything goes wrong.…to make the  “right” remembrances.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Happy Happy Birthday to Tommy today….the 29th of December! I returned home with Walsh on Christmas Day and Tommy on New Year’s Eve….we like “living” Christmas presents around here…including kick-off “gifts” to a new Year. 🙂

I love you Tommy…and hope you have a wonderful birthday today! See you soon! Love, Mom

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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2 Responses to A Childhood Christmas Memory

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    So glad you are back…I wondered if I missed the blog yesterday …beautiful memory and as you said the human spirit of pulling together is the best gift ever…Happy Birthday Tommy…


  2. Becky Dingle says:

    Thank you Gin-g. If this new year is ‘out with the old and in with the new”….I think I am going to have to chunk my beloved desk computer. 🙂


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