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iYILLE ' MOUNT AMEEK
DECEMBER 24. 1951
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lrth Carolina Christmas
Years Ago necalled
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i the cou""' , .... . "-..iiiM-iLtinstmas trees in the homes, and
exueeted that New
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files be reflected in yoitf ;
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rw ytr with joy . -V (y J ty
EAGLE'S 5c & 10c STORE
"Lib" Leatherwood, Mgr.
mas. Is perfectly delightful. It thrills i
me more and more each year that
I live through it.
j My first Christmas in Dixie, now
1 over 40 years ago, was spent in the
1 country in Carolina. I missed the
1 -light's and the music to be heard
i in large city churches (before the
Hunk the days of radio) and I missed the
On Christmas Day and
throughout alt the
(lays of the coming New Year
may the blessings of
Peace, Good Will and
Happiness be with
you and your
my church, but there was a lelsure-
liness. a friendliness, a warmth of
hosoitalitv which was lovolv and
long to be remembered. There was
no tinsel, few bought, gifts but
neighbors exchanged what they
had. and is there any better gift
than some country sausage, some
old ham, or a home made cake or
some home made pickles? May be
some watermelon rind preserves
flavored with ginger. Everybody
was prepared and expected guests
to walk in at any time from Christ
mas Eve to New Year's Day.
The preparation for the great
holidays began about the 18th of
December The crops were made
and laid by. part of the tobacco
sold, and it is time to take holiday
and get ready to cat and drink and
be merry. So about a week before
hand the hogs were killed, weather
permitting, the sausage made, the
lard dried up and the fresh meat
salted away except that which was
to be divided among the neighbors,
Next it was time to clean the
house and sweep th yards, get
enough Wood chopped to last a
week and to begin to cook enough
food to last the octave, for although
the colored girl, Called "The cook
was willing to help with the prep
arations, very few could come back
to prepare any meals after Christ
mas Eve. It was the same with the
wood choppers. "Cooks" worked tor
five dollars a month In those days,
and the price paid lor cutting wood
was 10 cents an hour.
One of my greatest thrills then
was to be able to walk a short dis
tance into the woods and gather
holly and baylcaves, running cedar
and other greens to my heart's con'
tent. Mistletoe was hard to get for
it grows in the tops of dead oaks,
and one has to climb for it. I used
to make wreaths of holly and cedar
and send to my Yankee kin. They
were much appreciated, but now
the gathering of holly Is restrict
cd bv law, else it would have been
extinct long ago.
Two customs, then prevalent, I
could not understand. One was the
use of fireworks, which most chll-
.4 drciUivougbt they :shui4d. haYCJil
Christmas, and the otner was inc
idea that Christmas was the one
time in the year, when a man was
privileged to get drunk.
"You arc getting Christmas mix
ed up with the Fourth of July," 1
used to say, for that is the day
Yankees did both of these things.!
Now fireworks are largely, of the.
past, and I am glad, for it seemed
incongruous to use, them ' on the
holiest day of the year, celebrating
the Birth of Our Savior.
I wish I had space to. describe
that hog killing, as I remember It.
It began as soon as It was. light ,Jn
the morning by building a huge fire
and drawing many tubs of water
from the well. Large rocks . were
heated in the fire, then thrown Into
the scalding tub, making the water
hot enough to scald the hair from
I had been used to seeing New
England women clean house in the
.spring and fall. They did It very
thoroughly, washing an wooa worn,
with soap and household ammonia,
polishing windows etc., but this
cleaning house for Christmas was
new to me and amounted almost
to a ritual among my southern
neighbors. They did it very well.
This was the time htey purchased
new curtains and a new chair or
so, cleaned windows, and scrubbed
floors with sand and lye until they
I were almost white.
1 missed the snow very much.
and Could hardjy fit Santa Claus
with .his sleigh and reindeer into
the picture of a green Christmas.
I believe the airplane is his mod
ern mode of travel which fits into
Seldom did: snow prevent the
yards from coming in for their
share of the preparations. They
were swept with a "brush broom"
made-, of green dogwood branches.
All refuse, such as leaves and twigs
and acorns were swept into piles
and burned. The "brush broom"
was iTt-far greater favor than any
kind uf rake. Although laborious.
the results were very satisfactory
and yards were clean indeed.
The hogs were killed, the sausage
made, and the lard put away, the
house was clean and the yards were
swept and the wood was chopped.
idea to me. Ever try pickles and
cake together? ll is a good com
bination. The Southern housewife excels
all others in the making of fruit
The greens were put over the pic! cake. It is rich, expensive and deli-
ture frames and on the mantels a ; clous. It Is usually made right af
day or two before Christmas Eve,
so they would dry as little as pos
sible before the week was gone.
Now it is time to begin the prep
aration of the goodies. Right after
the hog killing,. .cucumbers were
taken out of the brine and put a
soak to be made into pickles for
the table. This was done by putting
them into a brass kettle to restore
their green color, then adding vino-
gar and sugar and spices and bring
ing them to a boil. Then they Were
packed into jars ready lor use.
They were usually served with
Christmas cake which was a now
tor Thanksgiving and put into an
earthen crock or closed tin box so
that it will keep moist, and a few
drops of home made wine is some
times poured over it from ..time to
As, .many other cakes as, one
coudi afford were made and wrap
ped in cloths and kept in a cool
place. The best cakes I ever tasted
were made bv a neighbor, rich lay
er cakes into which went from a
half to a pound of butter each.
She made coconut and devil s food
and pound cake and yellow cakes
and while cakes with a variety of
fillings and icings. She always gave Ian oven full for the holiday!, r4
me a plate lull of her cake and it j eat them cold or candied. Tker
was much appreciated ! would be so full of sugar that it
Besides frcti p'ave ribs and a would run out into the stovf. ...
fresh ham. everv body tried to save ; ( Memories
or buy a large old ham for the noli- ... , .' . . , ah,mt
that first Christmas in my own
house was that I was all at sea, a
davs. Most families raised
bought a turkey as well.
Chess pies were new to me. These
pies arc made with butler and sug
ar and egg yolks and flavored with
lemon or vanilla or perhaps' some
coconut, and theii poured onto a
thin short crust. Ambrosia is an
other holiday delight peculiar to
the South, made with oranges and
sugar and grated fresh coconut.
Sweet potato pies were also pre
pared 1 do not recall many mince
I had never tasted a yam and
thought thev were soggy at first.
Those countrv people used to bake
bride of a few weeks, about what
was expected of me by Way of
Christmas preparations. The cook
had to do what was done, and what
a time I had learning to make those
good hot buttermilk biscuits. , I
would either get too much or too
little soda in them and make thtm
either too stiff or too soft, I do re
member that my husband kept ask
ing me how many chickens or h
I wanted killed. 1 did not know,
and I did not know what to do with
the four or five he brought in. Just
(Continued on Pate 2)
To All Of You
We extend to everyone our warmest wishes for a
very .Merry Christmas and a New Year of good
health, prosperity and the happiness of
many lasting friendships.
JEFFERSON STANDARD LIFE INSURANCE CO.
S. E. CONNATSER
Always at Christmas time, there comes that special
delight in extending to our many friends the greetings
of the Season. This year," more so than ever before
ippreciate the good will and close friendship that
exists between our patrons and ourselves. It is with
this fine relationship in mind that we wish you the
Sliest measure 'of Yulctide cheer and happiness and-rprosperpusanheai
Manufacturers of Rayon Yarns
First For Defense - Always For Fine Fabrics
ENKA, NORTH CAROLINA ,