A time for remembering , that’s Christmas behind………
When I was four, I asked Santa to bring me a pone of cornbread and a shot gun —- AND HE DID !
Back story : enlightened parents in those days were determined that their children would eat only what was good for them and that did not include cornbread ! My daddy was an avid (and excellent ) quail hunter ; hence, the shotgun.
So, there lay the lack of cornbread in my early childhood . Apparently, cornbread offered little nutrition, extra calories, and could conceivably become a choking hazard. So, cornbread was high on the list of ” must haves ” for a very young me .
The shotgun was an indication of my desire to be like my daddy, who was the proud owner of a shotgun and hunting dogs. His quail hunting was a constant in our lifestyle and he not only relished the outings, but our entire family enjoyed the bounty.
So, in my stocking were a tiny pone of cornbread and a toy shotgun. And then when I was about 12, my daddy gave me a “real” shotgun, which I still treasure …….and cornbread is a staple when eating vegetables, for sure.
And then there are the sad Christmases, which most of us have experienced at one time or another.
Byron’s daddy, ” Pa Charlie “, was killed in a farming accident on Christmas Eve , 1960. He and his tractor were digging post holes for new fencing , and , as best could be determined, the auger caught on some kudzu. He attempted to untangle the mess and was pulled into the auger. Bless Dr. Robert Sullivan who said, ” It was like a heart attack; he died instantly. ”
Byron and I were at the Haley House, and I was cutting oranges for the ambrosia when the call came from his mother, who said that her husband had not come in at dark. So Byron and his brother, Dwain, met on the farm and searched. As soon as word spread ,the community turned out and all searched. Perhaps one of the saddest remembrances is that when the brothers would come in from the cold ( it was sleeting ), they would say, ” We hear him calling . ” The hope of the heart .
It was 1960 and Byron and I had just married in April. I remember struggling with his grief. We were so young and I had never experienced anything like that. I felt—-and likely was—-totally inadequate.
After Byron and I had been married for 4 or 5 years and were living in Winder, we knew that it was time to host his family’s Christmas. Now this only child saw having some 30 or 40 Toneys at one time in her house as a real challenge Fun but challenging ! But I prevailed, and all went well.
However, the highlight of the day was Byron’s saintly mother, ” Janna ” and the eggnog ! Now Byron is a master at making an exquisite eggnog, and he had it ready to serve when the family started arriving.
Janna loved eggnog at Christmas time and purchased it at, what was then, Lavonia’s only super market, Foodland. She kept it in the fridge and poured herself a glass straight from the container——- nothing added, not even nutmeg.
She was delighted when Byron offered her a glass——and downed it pretty quickly. When asked if she’d like a second, her response was immediate and on point.
After sipping on the second glass, she said to Byron, ” This is so-o-o-o good. What I buy in Lavonia is not nearly this good !!!!! ”
He , of course, never revealed his recipe . Knowing what a lifetime, faithful tee-totaler she was, he respected her long-held beliefs , not even teasing her about the differences in eggnogs. All was well, and no harm was done. However, she continued ’til her death to try to find an eggnog that was as good as Byron’s…………………
As to the rest of the family , there was no eggnog left in our house that Christmas Day !!!
Other Christmases were special, too. Our two children came along, and nothing tops the fun of seeing 4, 5, and 6 year-olds discover what Santa has brought ! The Haley House Christmases were a work of art : prayers and music and gifts and fun and traditions galore. And all the other family time : Mother and Daddy, the Henry Long Christmas Eve, get-togethers with friends , our children’s spouses , and on and on. Each one is unique; each one makes memories ; each one connects on some level.
And for 28 years our home, at 11:00 am on Christmas Day, has joyfully welcomed the grands : Isaac, then Haley Sue, then the boy twosomes, and , last, but not least, the girl twins, some 28 months later. And add to that five new grands through marriages and one in the wings !
Tiny Tim had it right.
Through joys and sorrows, mountains and valleys, successes and disappointments, for me and mine, ” GOD HAS BLESSED US EVERYONE . ”
Thank you so much for reading and responding. Memories are precious, aren’t they ? I remember your parents and seeing you grow up. Now it’s fun to read about your loved ones. Happy new year.
Diane “ you did it again”! Great article👏👏👏
Thank you, Sue. I always appreciate your opinion. Hope this year is better for you and yours than some in the past. Love ya !
I loved this one! Took me back in time! And Tiny Tim said it so well!! We are all so blessed
Yes , indeed we are. And too often, too many of us ( including me ) get bogged down in the negatives. I’m trying each morning when I wake—–before I even get out of bed——–to remind myself that ” This is the day the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad in it. “
He will make all things new!
Happy, happy new year to you and those grand boys. I say again………..every age has its merit. And indeed, God is good all the time. Love you !
And then there was the one Christmas that Toney Martin and Steven Toney ..who both loved eggnog decided to partake. Lots of giggling from those two boys. Didn’t think a thing about it until Tim Toney came up to me and whispered….you do remember that eggnog is spiked…..
Nothing like a Toney ” christening ” at Christmas ! And both boys have turned out well. Fun memories for all of us.
Happy new year to you and Mike———and take good care of him during his recuperation.
Beautifully written as always. Sweet. Sad. I remember my father crying when he told us about the accident. Bless you all.
Thank you for remembering. Byron’s daddy was known for his generosity from his very large gardens, leaving bags of vegetables on the side of the road for people to take home and enjoy. Happy new year to you and yours.
Funny, poignant, and sweet memories you have written
about, and as always I enjoyed reading.
Hugs, Love and Happy 2023 to you and Byron ❤️
Many memories leap from my heart to my fingers ! Have enjoyed penning some of them.
Hope this new year us just perfect for you. See you before too long, I hope.
I searched the dairy section in the local market for eggnog and it wasn’t there. I will have to wait until next year and possibly shop earlier for this seasonal treat. I enjoyed reading your memories of Christmas traditions past and present. I remembered to “chalk” our front door and pray for the new year 2023.
Thank you———-and we didn’t have eggnog this year either. Not sure why.
Hope you and Marie have a great 2023 !
This was sooo good! Thank you!
I thought you might appreciate it. Lots of fun memories of times past with the Toneys.