Saturday, December 27, 2014


My mother’s birthday was December 27, and at our house, it was just short of a national holiday. Mother took advantage of her birth date to extend the Christmas season. A small tree was placed atop the television set which she decorated with specialty lights, antique bells, and boutique ornaments she made herself. That was her birthday tree, and her birthday gifts were placed under it. Daddy always prepared a dinner in her honor for as many of our family who could attend. Suffice it to say, it worked for her.

My great-grandfather, Lafe Dickson, whose diary I shared during advent, was also born on December 27. I’m posting here his Christmas and birthday entries:

Thursday, Dec. 24, 1896:
Christmas Eve
Weather fair but cloudy P.M.
Great preparations for Christmas going on on the sly at our house.

Friday, Dec. 25, 1896:
A.M., Gene, Ben, Frank, and self finished roofing our house. We went to Jack’s [Jack and Ina Dobson] where all of us [and some neighbors] partook of a fine dinner. Good feasting and good will prevailed. Weather fine. The Lord has blessed us with fine weather in which to do our work.

Saturday, Dec. 26, 1896:
Weather fair. Cloudy forepart of the day. Froze some last night. Thawed some today.

Sunday, Dec. 27, 1896:
This is my birthday. I am 63 years old. Ed Patchen [his son-in-law] went to P.O. and brought me the following:
one letter and bundle of quilt pieces from Lovisa E. Gleason [a relative]
Pension draft for $24.00
The St. Louis Globe Democrat
The weather is warm and like early spring. Did not freeze any last night.

From a vantage point nearly 120 years later, Grandpa Lafe’s weather observations still seem typical of a mild winter. We never know if an early cold snap will be followed by a mild winter or more freezing temperatures.

Hallie and Nick left the farm yesterday (Friday, Dec. 26) at mid-day, and Hallie reported the grade was clear and their trip uneventful. Today, Mike and I loaded the pick-up with as much stuff as we could get into it and headed down a snowy grade with the temp below freezing. We had planned to spend New Year’s at the farmhouse but looking at the forecast for a snowstorm and then cold, we’re now thinking of making a day trip tomorrow (Sunday) or Monday to take the tree down, pack food, and winterize the house.

Speaking of our Christmas tree, maybe you noticed that I raised it this year. We didn’t like that very well for a number of reasons. That tree just isn’t a fit for that spot, but, it’s time to replace it anyway. I’m considering a “pencil” tree for next year. KW


Hallie said...

Happy birthday, Grandma!

What were all the kids gathered round to see?

Kathy said...

I don't remember, but they seem to think it was pretty cool.

Chris said...

Love the picture of your mom and Joni, and the comment your great-grandfather made on Christmas eve, "Great preparations for Christmas going on on the sly," is priceless. I'm certain they didn't worry about not having everything done way ahead of time! Reminds me of Christmases in the Little House books!