Thursday, December 20, 2012
City Personals Mary Clay Brooks
Dennis Carlisle was not only a visionary in bringing Carlisle’s Big Star to Holly Springs, he was also a deeply loved member of our community. He always threw a hand up to wave and a smile from ear to ear when riding the streets of town in his red convertible in the warm months. Walking in the Big Star, he greeted everyone with a friendly smile, always taking time from his busy schedule to have a conversation with his customers. Mr. Carlisle was a sweet soul and leaves a legacy that will forevermore carry on his tradition of friendly service with a smile. My deepest sympathy goes out to his family, especially his adoring wife, Martha.
Big happy birthday wishes go out to Annie Taylor, who was brought into this world Monday. Her proud parents, Sarah and Jason Taylor, prayed a long time for a beautiful, healthy baby and that is what they now have! Congratulations to them all, as well as Libba, Steven, Gus and Leo Smith, who were also greatly anticipating Annie’s glorious arrival!
Tragedy struck Sandy Hook Elementary school Friday with the senseless shooting of 20 elementary students and six faculty members. It was a sad day for our country - making me, as many others, hug my children a little tighter. I cannot help but admire the fortitude and grace of the parents who have been interviewed after their children were killed in the worst school shooting our country has ever seen. The ones I have seen have not mentioned gun control, unlike the media who have bombarded the news with a debate of banning guns or forming stricter gun laws. To me, this is a time to help a community heal, as much as anyone could possibly after a tragedy of this magnitude. It should not be something that turns the focus off of the children and adults who lost their lives Friday. Years after the shooting at Columbine, can you name any of the victims? Are the only names that come to mind those of the shooters? Please take time to remember those from Sandy Hook Elementary this Christmas. Hug your children a little tighter, appreciate your teachers a smidgen more and thank your principals, headmasters and counselors. Be thankful you have them in your lives, as 26 families do not have their loved ones this holiday season. Charlotte Bacon, Rachel D’Avino, Olivia Engel, Dylan Hockley, Dawn Lafferty, Jesse Lewis, Ana Marquez-Greene, Grace McDonnell, Anne Marie Murphy, Emilie Parker, Noah Pozner, Jessica Rekos, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto, Daniel Barden, Josephine Gay, Madeleine Hsu, Catherine Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, James Mattiolli, Jack Pinto, Caroline Previdi, Avielle Richman, Benjamin Wheeler and Allison Wyatt.
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Christmases long ago in Holly Springs
Christmas in Holly Springs used to be different when I grew up than it is today. The square had its busiest season the week before Christmas. Nobody did any shopping until Christmas week. My Uncle Grover was born in 1881. I asked him about Christmas when he was little. He said on Christmas Day each of the children (there were 13) received a shiny dime and an orange (a rare commodity only to be had at Christmas-time as it had to be imported.)
My daddy had a grocery store where Jennie’s Flowers & Gifts is now. He had barrels of raisins, still on stems to be bought by the pound. He had hard candy to be sold at a penny, a nickel, or a dime. I remember being on the square on Christmas Eve waiting for him to close so we could go home. It wasn’t very cold and I was swinging on the round pole in front of the store when Miss Burton and chauffeur parked right in front of the store. The chauffeur went in to pick up Miss Burton’s telephone order. Then I discovered I could jump on that big car’s bumper and make the car bounce, when all of a sudden I discovered Miss Burton was inside the car tapping hard on the inside of the windshield with her cane, telling me to quit bouncing her car. Not only that, she told my mother who scolded me, saying I should have known better.
It wasn’t my memory, but the only church Christmas memory that I have about 1890, was the Methodist church had a real live big Christmas tree with lighted candles on the branches. The tree caught fire from the candles. It nearly caught the church on fire so that must have been the last of the lighted candles celebration.
There were no parades and not many decorations. Mrs. Knott had the first tree I ever saw that had white lights on it and it was breathtakingly beautiful. It was on “Knott Hill” behind Mr. Knott’s grocery on that short little block of Chesterman between Van Dorn and College. The lights were regular 100-watt white bulbs on a string. Up until then, all Christmas lights were colored.
In 1940, my dear mother had been deathly ill with cancer and wasn’t able to put up a tree at home. I asked Daddy if he would help me put up a tree in the living room. He did, but my mother had given all the decorations away and we had none. My friends and I made the decorations out of pine cones and magnolia burs. We decorated them with gold paint and glitter. We made snow of ivory flakes and whipped it into “snow” and the tree was gorgeous without any decorations.
When I was growing up most houses were heated with fireplaces. A few of the fireplaces had grates that had been put in there for burning coal instead of wood. Fireplaces were great for the family to gather in a semi-circle. The whole family visited around the fireplace, children, grandparents, company, in order to be warm; and very interesting conversations went on in these gatherings, some to be remembered forever.
Also Christmas was celebrated with a shooting of Roman candles, firecrackers and sparklers. We handed the bitty ones a sparkler and said, “Don’t hold it too close!” Ira said one year in Red Banks, his bachelor uncle Elijah lived with them and one of his jobs was to keep the fire going and supplied. He took coals outside and laid them on the walk so firecrackers could be lit. Ira and his brothers played a joke on Uncle Elijah and hid a chain of firecrackers in the coals, then they ran out the door. All of a sudden, ‘Bang, bang, crack, crackle, pop!’ and nearly scared the uncle to death. I know today Ira is perfect and I can’t imagine him ever doing such a trick. He said it was his brother’s idea, but Ira was the older brother.
Remember, make Christmas wonderful. It just comes once a year. Make it great. Don’t forget the reason for the season.
P.S. Museum will be open through Friday, December 21. We have different and unusual gifts to sell. We have some fabulous new dishes with the museum embossed on them – come see – they’re wonderful.
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