Gloria Ford: When I opened my mouth to talk, nothing came out
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call his name JESUS.”
When I was growing up in the North Santee section of Georgetown County and attending Mt. Zion Elementary School, Nov. 30 meant, ‘out with turkey, and in with Santa.’
Christmas time at our house always meant new linoleum rugs that were so pretty and shiny we couldn’t resist taking off our shoes and sliding up and down in our socks. We slid from one end of the room to the other. The rugs also caused the house to smell new, which brought attention to our new curtains.
Another favorite thing we children enjoyed was gathering around the old radio to hear Santa’s jolly ho-ho-ho- and to hear our names read over the air. Sometimes the static on the old radio was so bad we could hardly hear, but that did not stop our excitement.
Another favorite thing we enjoyed was seeing our father bringing the Christmas tree home on his shoulders with the axe in one hand, and a smile on his face. My father didn’t believe in going out and buying a tree when we were surrounded by the pines in the nearby woods. We always thought our tree was the prettiest when the lights were plugged into the old wall socket and reflected in the small picture window that could be well seen from the highway.
Christmas in New York
I enjoyed many Christmases in North Santee, but, I think my saddest Christmas was spent in New York of that particular year.
I had just begun to work at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company a few months earlier, and was told that I would not have sufficient time to travel to South Carolina for the holiday, and then be back in time for work in Manhattan.
I did my Christmas shopping for everyone back home with tears in my eyes. It was my first Christmas away from home, and I could not imagine what I was going to do. In comes a wonderful older lady named Della who happened to be alone that year too. She sort of took on the role of substitute mother, and I as substitute daughter, and we spent our Christmas day eating dinner at Horne and Hardhart’s restaurant. It was nice to make someone else feel as special as she made me. We became special friends.
Many Christmases went by after that one. Sometimes I was blessed to be at home, and at other times, I still missed the warmth and togetherness of family while I celebrated elsewhere.
One of my fondest Christmas memories was of being at the PTL television network with Jim and Tammy Bakker. I think it was the most exciting time I had ever had, even though I was working steady.
I was a drama student at the Heritage School of Evangelism and Communications when Jim came up with the idea of having a Christmas City. They would need extra workers, and I needed extra money.
The job included screwing in light bulbs onto every imaginable thing. There were reindeer to be lighted, stars, angels, animals, etc. There was an entire avenue of everything being blue as it was Jim’s favorite color. I do think it was the most beautiful as giant blue angels hung suspended on each side of the street.
There were days when things seemed to malfunction, and we would have to spit light wires and do other things to get things in order. We worked in a big warehouse and sang Christmas carols as we worked, while some of the workers that lived nearby would bring steaming pots of hot soup or chili.
We even had to stuff envelopes and mail brochures. It was a proud day when Christmas City became aglow with lights and the hard work of all of our labors.
My most memorable part about Christmas City was when I had to put on a reindeer suit, and greet the partners as they drove through to view the marvelous sights. I was supposed to say hi especially to the kids and wish all a Merry Christmas. It so happened that I had come down with a bad case of laryngitis and when I opened my mouth to talk, nothing came out. I was the most miserable reindeer of all.
There are so many more Christmas stories I could tell you, and probably will before the holiday is over, but I hope you know that I always knew that the greatest reason for the season is JESUS.
Please remember to pray for the sick and shut in, the bereaved, those in nursing homes and hospitals, those facing surgeries, sick children, over stressed parents, our men and women on the battlefield in Iraq, our elderly, those that live alone, and for each other. May you have a blessed rest of the weekend, and a wonderful upcoming week.
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