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« Ebert's Shoes | Main | Merry Christmas »

December 24, 2013


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Amazing story. Thank you for reminding us that Christmas comes to all, no matter their standing in this world.

Great Christmas stories, Tipper. Thanks for sharing them and for reminding all of us about what's really important this time of year. Merry Christmas to everyone.

Another wonderful story. Billy's mother reminds me of my mother who always put her children's needs or wants above her own. I know my mother did without things in order to give us what she could.
Merry Christmas Tipper to you and your family.
May God bless each of you in the coming year.
Thank you for all the work you do in sharing wonderful stories, thoughts and ideas.

Wonderful story! So touching to think of Billy's eyes filling up when asked what presents his Mother had received and he said she never had none. To think of a woman working so hard to see her children and husband had what they NEEDED while saving nothing for herself is how mamas use to be.

Doesn't seem to be many mamas like that anymore.

God bless.


Thank you Tipper for sharing my Christmas story. And thank you so much to everyone who read it. Your comments warmed my heart. Truly they were a gift today. I am so blessed.

Loved every story, brought back precious memories. MERRY CHRISTMAS Tipper To YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

Joy Newer

Thank you for sharing this story and sweet memories. They take me back to those cherished Christmas's many years ago. We woke up to an apple and orange if we were lucky and felt rich as a king. I just posted one a week or so ago on my blog about my Christmas memories. Love these stories. Merry Christmas Tipper to you and your family and all the Blind Pig Readers.

I just loved this Christmas Story
by Renea Winchester. So many of the
hardships endured by Family members
are a part of my memories too.

Merry Christmas everyone!...Ken

For many years Renea's Grandfather Frank and his brother Fred operated a country store at Lauada and then later at Jackson Line. Both locations became the center of the community. Local folks walked or drove there to purchase a few staples when they ran out.
"Like a convenience store." you say. Couldn’t be farther from the truth. People really went there to see and be seen. To swap stories, knives, hound dogs and guns. They went to catch up on the latest community news as The Smoky Mountain Times only came out once a week. Somebody could have died and been buried before you knew about. They went to entertain and be entertained. They brought their guitars, banjos, fiddles, harmonicas and jaw harps. They brought their voices and their ears.
There were benches outside along the store front. The “you move you lose” rule was always in effect. In the colder months there was an old wood heater inside circled by straight chairs. The rule was the same except the pickers got seats if they needed them. Spit cans were prevalent in both venues, kept under the seating if you were lucky enough to sit. From time to time an old codger might lift the lid on the old stove and spew forth a stream of rich brown juice right into the fire.
Why am I writing this? Because Renea didn’t, at least not yet!

Although I seldom comment, I read the Blind Pig each day. Some say that I live in paradise. Maybe so, but the stories of life in North Carolina speak to me. Here's wishing Tipper, her family and all the readers of Blind Pig a very Merry Christmas.

Such a strong story. I remember the same tree stand Billy speaks a7.

What a truly wonderful story and an inspiration for appreciating all that we now have. As a child, my early years were spent living in a project in New Jersey. These row homes were built to house ship yard workers during WWII. Later when I was 13, we moved into the country and had no running water or electricity until 1958. We did not have the material things, but we had 80 acres of woods to explore and Christmas was always a great family time. Few gifts, but the food was good and family games were fun.

What a touching reminder of days gone by - and so beautifully written! Thanks for this story on Christmas Eve.

and Renea...wonderful story.
Even though we would liked for Billys mother to have received a present wrapped in paper or in her stocking...I am sure she would wonder why in the world we would feel sorry for her! As a Mother I am sure her greatest gift was to see her children happy and to be able to give even a small gift to them and see their smiles on Christmas morning. Even though, she knew her boy, was not going to especially like those shorts...or the number would be showing on the back of her husbands shirt!
I keep remembering that it is better to give than receive and I think that all said and done, it is a much happier feeling, for my ownself anyway, to give than to receive! Just a all over good feelin'!

Like feeding your family, seems like Mama was the last one to sit down at the table! LOL

Thanks Tipper,
and Renea...
PS..Very cold here this morning,
It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

you are the second person to recommend this book -- I had one yesterday, too. I must read it. Happy Christmas Eve -- I'll bet you'll have music. xoxo

I really enjoyed reading this story of life way back. Christmas, I will admit, has become such a business profit. Many young people forget the true reason for Christmas. I, myself, have some fond memories of early Christmases in my childhood. We lived in a big city, but money was tight, so we were pleased with what we received. Merry Christmas to all!

Billy's "Hardscrabble Christmas" was much like my own--except that my father owned his own farm and we didn't have to move about from house to house. Every want was given special attention, but we soon learned that not every wish could be fulfilled. Sometimes even Santa Claus did not have the wherewith to fulfill every boy and girl's wish list. But we had wonderful Christmases despite our poverty (that we did not know we had!). On this Christmas Eve, may we prepare our hearts and exemplify the true spirit of Christmas!

The stories which have been shared the last few days are good reads. They share elements of my parents' stories, and a bit of my own life - - just goes to prove folks' experiences in this old world are more alike than different.

If you'd like another perspective on "hardscrabble", John Graves, a Texas writer, wrote 'Hardscrabble: Observations on a Patch of Land'. That's another good read.

Beautiful. I am familiar with that neck of the woods and have watched it change through the years.

Another great story, Tipper! I really enjoyed this. These stories that you are sharing around Christmas show how families manage to make Christmas special, even if they don't have abundant resources. My 90-year-old Dad remembers with fondness his childhood Christmases with oranges, English walnuts and hard candy in the stocking. I wonder how many kids who reach the age of 90 will be able to feel the same way about their XBoxes or iPhones.

Lovely story. Merry Christmas to Billy. Thanks for sharing his story Renea and Tipper.

Merry Christmas to all!

What touching memories of Christmas past. I remember the stories my parents told me of the Depression. Many great folks came from hard times.

Merry Christmas Tipper to you and your family.

When Billy said with tears in his eyes that he didn't remember Momma ever getting a present just about took me out.

Renea & Tipper: Thanks for the heart-felt post today. Billy's CHRISTMAS MEMORIES bring back to me our Christmas times in the Matheson Cove. I don't know how our family of eleven children ALL survived those harsh winters. I guess the faith and prays Mama and Daddy prayed 'to the MAN upstairs'helped us along the way.

Kindest regards,
Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
Author: "Fiddler of the Mountains" 2013 "The Matheson Cove" 2007

Thank you Billy and Renea for a great story! Do you think Billy would trade his Hardscrabble Christmases now? I think the hard times a family goes through during their lives is what makes their love strong! This was great; thanks so much for this. This type of story could dehydrate a fellow, if you know what I mean!

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