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All of us have our special traditions for Christmas that come with the memories of our childhood.  The mere fact that there is a Christmas tree in the bay window of our home is in itself a Christmas tradition.  Our home is at a four way stop.  When my mother stopped at that stop sign, I would look up the hill and admire the beautiful white Monterrey colonial with the ornate iron balcony so beautifully situated on that hill.  I learned my right from left at that four way stop facing east toward downtown Dothan and my Daddy's office...right to the Country Club and left to the IGA. 

At Christmas the tree lit that corner from the bay window of that lovely home.  After I married my husband (whose parents built the home, moved into that house when he was four years old and we eventually bought that home from his parents and moved our family in when our oldest child was four years old), the responsibility for maintaining those traditions became ours.  Along with the two acre yard to maintain, came the Christmas tree in the bay window.  Once I moved the tree for Christmas and was reprimanded by those who knew we lived there.  They expected to see a tree when they stopped at that stop sign. 

This year I wound up with several Christmas trees.  As I rummaged around in my attic I discovered the collection of angels I had bought at my friend Powell Brewton's mother's estate sale.  Mrs. Brewton (who passed away just recently 2008) moved to Dothan to be near Powell and Rita and their daughter Laura and her husband and children moved into Ruth's home on Bunker's Cove Drive in Panama City.  I stumbled across an angel collection that I bought and rediscovered in my attic.  As I pulled them out I remembered the lovely lady with the distinctive style and giftof hospitality to whom they had originally belonged.  . 

Then come the mantels.  We have three.  One in the Living room, One in the Playroom.  And one in the Library. And, I guess a mini mantel in the Kitchen which would make four. 

Of course, that Kitchen mantel was jury rigged by simply taking the doors off the cabinets above the stove and grill, tiling the area below in charcoal tiles, and having a carpenter add a shelf.  This is how I updated my old kitchen without major renovation.   The library mantel was designed by my mother-in-law and the painting in the fireplace is by a Panama City artist I would love to identify.  The playroom mantel was originally 1950s khaki blocks that I covered with delft tiles and added the mantel.  The mantel is an homage to "Alliwishus" the story my mother told me and I eventually imagined into a short story.. 

This year I discovered Mardi Gras beads.  I had lots of them from parades past and added them to colored lights and glass ornaments.  Everything found a different spot this year because I had initially decided not to have a big tree in the bay window.  Then my youngest daughter (now 26) expressed her distress that the tree would not be there.  The only time they comment upon something is when it isn't done!  Of course, no one else volunteers to put up the decorations (or take them down for that matter) but it is of critical importance that it be just like it has every year in the past.  Well, with that comment (and the fact that my husband volunteered our home for his firm's Christmas party) the whole concept of decorating our home took on another dimension.  Of course, when I did decide to have a big tree, I had used all my ornaments elsewhere and had to "rethink" the tree (and buy more decorations).

The book on my grandfather's chair in the living room is Papa Panov's Special Day, a book I try to read to my children (grandchildren) every year.  I recommend it highly.   

The stockings hanging on the mantle and draped across the fire screen always contain at least one orange.  That is a memory back to the times of my father's Christmases when their stockings contained oranges, nuts and candy and they considered that their very special Christmas treat (Depression years when his father, also a physician, took payment in land and produce, not currency, if he was paid at all).  His favorite Christmas gift was a goat cart that Aunt Elizabeth smiled about even on her death bed.  She remembered Daddy, then just a little boy, winding that goat's tail around and around to make him run. 

Southern Style Christmas


Copyright 1996  These are my own working genealogy files that I share with you.  The errors are my own.  But, perhaps they will give you a starting point.  All original writing is copyrighted.  Webmaster