Tuesday, December 27, 2011

An Indiana Christmas. Apparently.

One of my daughters-in-law is from the state of Indiana, otherwise known as the "Hoosier State".

Unlike Lumpkin County, Georgia, where the word "hoosier" would always be followed by "daddy", no one can say why Indiana is known by this nickname or what the word even means.  What's a Hoosier?  I don't know, nor does anyone else.  I researched it on the Intraweb to no avail.

But I digress.

Friday (Christmas Eve Eve here in Georgia) a truck carrying at least 40,000 pounds of ice cream overturned  on an Interstate 69 on-ramp, releasing over twenty tons of Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Chocolate Chip, and whatever else Edy's Ice Cream makers make all over the road.

But that's not the real story.

Click on the link above and you'll see a picture of an Indiana Health Inspector inspecting the Interstate Sundae and declaring "Looks good to me...sell it."

I am not making this up.  Apparently most of the ice cream was "salvageable" and therefore, fit for sale and consumption.  Which makes me think of Jerry Clower.

He and I were eating breakfast one morning at a Shoney's restaurant.  For the uninitiated, Shoney's had a breakfast trough with enough food to choke a horse.  Bacon, eggs, grits, biscuits, and gravy on one end and an IV with straight cholesterol on the other.  Take your pick, the results would be the same.

Anyway, I got some "breakfast potatoes" at the "breakfast bar" and sat down to eat across from Jerry.  He looked at my plate and asked "Whatchu got theyah, Rayanday?"  When I told him they were "breakfast potatoes" he replied, "Son, I grew up poor, but I was never so poor I had to eat taters for breakfast."

And like he said, I grew up poor, but I was never so poor that I had to eat ice cream scraped from off of the highway.

But then, I'm not from Indiana.  Hoosier Daddy?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Thrown-Up Christmas List.

It's that time of year...

The War on Christmas has given way to Occupy Christmas.  Happening at malls all around the country.

It's been in the mid-60s here in the North Georgia Mountains.  This time last year it was in the mid-20s.  Global warming has arrived in the Blue Ridge.

We saw some friends last Sunday we hadn't seen in over thirty years.  The Queen is still the only person from her class who hasn't changed since college.  Still beautiful.

The South Florida contingent will be arriving for Christmas today.  There will be approximately 378 family members and two big-ass granddogs in a house on the lake for the holiday.  Should be interesting.

I love Dairy Queen.

We've been attending the Methodist church for the last few months.  I can't believe I said that, but there, I said it.

Dahlonega at Christmas.  There's nowhere else like it.  Transplanted furriners who loved our town for what it was, moved here, and then told us how it should be changed.

I really, really dislike Yankees.  When the great General Robert E. Lee referred to them as "those people" he was being kind.

I realized that if my two sons don't get busy there will soon be no Berrys to carry on the family name that aren't in jail or in hiding.

I really, really love Mustangs.  Except the Mustang II which was a dressed-up Pinto.

You really can't fix stupid.

I'm extremely thankful for all 2011 has brought to me and my family.  God has been gracious in His blessing, allowing us to reconnect with some old friends and keeping others away.

May 2012 bring more of the same.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Hard Candy Christmas

I'll be fine and dandy, it's like a hard candy Christmas
I'll barely make it through tomorrow, but I won't let sorrow bring me way down
--Dolly Parton, "Hard Candy Christmas" lyrics

I couldn't have been more than seven or eight years old.

I was sitting in the middle of our living room floor, surrounded by the wrapping paper of what was left of what once was a pile of presents under a big Christmas tree in the corner.

I asked Daddy, "What was the best Christmas present you ever got?"

I'll never forget his answer.  It haunts me this time every year.

"Son, a good Christmas for us was when we got an orange and a candy stick."

That was the answer.  The entire answer.  I never asked again.

Even at that age I felt ashamed at all the toys, books, and clothes I received, knowing that Daddy had never, ever had a Christmas like that.

We always went to Grandpa and Grandma Berry's on Christmas Day.  They lived up on Wahsega Road, about six miles outside Dahlonega.  The house is still there, Daddy's and Uncle Johnny's initials still etched in the chimney they helped erect in 1932.  Daddy was twelve, Uncle Johnny thirteen.

Grandma and Grandpa had a Christmas tree, too.  I can still see it next to the fireplace, the only source of heat for the entire house.  It was one they had cut from their land, lit with old bare-wired lights, trimmed with older glass ornaments.

They didn't have electricity until after World War II.  They never had indoor plumbing (i.e. a toilet).  Grandma's phone number was 4-3128 (didn't need the "86" before the "4" in the prefix until they got "dial phones").  Most of the time you just picked up the phone and asked for whomever you wanted to talk to.

It's amazing what you remember.

I never, ever lacked for anything.  Mama and Daddy made sure of that.

But sometimes I wonder how Grandma did it.

I bitch and moan if my cell signal's weak.  Grandma cooked on a wood-burning stove.

I whine if my television's satellite signal is interrupted by the weather.  Grandma milked her cows until the week before she passed away.

I drive to work every day.  I still remember Mama and Daddy talking about walking everywhere they went, as did most folks who lived up here during that time.

It's Christmas again, and if we spent as much time talking about the meaningful things in life rather than what we don't have, can't do, or wish we had, we'd be much better off.

I'll be fine and dandy.  Because Mama and Daddy had a lot of hard candy Christmases.