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Across the Fence was a weekly feature from the Hamilton Herald News written by Arvord Abernethy. This is a compilation of several Christmas pieces by Abernethy. — DH

Memories are wonderful things to possess, if they are pleasant ones. It seems that the farther we travel down this life way, the more we look into our rear view mirror.

The memories of Christmas season probably stay with a person more than any others, as it was at that time of the year we would have our fondest dreams. Not only would there be thoughts of the toys we wished Santa would bring, but there would be school and church programs, and most of all a family Christmas dinner at Grandmother’s.

Some time before Christmas, out teacher would make the outlines of holly leaves and berries and Santa Clauses with her jelly pan, and we would get to color them during drawing class. We would then glue all the leaves and berries together to make a wreath to put in each of the classroom windows. The Santas found a place along the top of the blackboard.

The first Christmas tree I remember was when I was in the second grade. Out in western Oklahoma you hardly got to see a tree, much less a Christmas tree. The teachers found a dead peach tree and covered all of the limbs with cotton, and to me it was beautiful. We had drawn names in class and all of us had put in a nickel to buy the teacher a present, so the last day before the holidays was a high day in our lives.

Christmas at home was also a time of anticipation and good times. It had been a year since any of us had received a toy of any kind, so anything we received found a glad welcome. No one out there had a fireplace, as there were no trees for wood, so we would imagine that the sewing machine looked like a fireplace and would hang our stockings on it. The next morning they would be filled with an apple, an orange and candy and nuts.

One year one of my brothers received a fire truck and one of the ladders was missing. Dad suggested that Santa might have lost when he came through the yard gate. We ran out there and sure enough it was there, and the reality of a Santa was strongly fixed in our minds.

There is a lot of difference in toys then and now. A rubber ball or a top was about as mechanical as anything you got. A little red wagon would have wheels that would turn. If a girl got a doll that would close her eyes when she was laid down, she got the latest in mechanical development.

Have you noticed what kind of toys and games they are advertising this year? Many of them have little computer units in them. They say those units are about the size of your thumb nail, but can do nearly as much as a human brain can do. The units are called chips. We had chips when I was a kid, but it was something you got out in the cow pasture to burn in the stove.  Them wuz the good ole days.

My sincere wish for each of you is that you will find the true peace and joy that Christ came to bring on that first Christmas Day.

If you need something to get you into the true mood for Christmas, attend the singing of the cantata “The Glory of Christmas” at the First Baptist Church on Wednesday, December 17, and Sunday, December 21, at 7 p.m.

Over 40 adult singers from different churches are in the choir along with a children’s choir.

This is a very spirited piece of music that you will enjoy and get your Christmas off to a good start.

If you happened to look to the eastern sky after five o’clock last Tuesday evening, the fourth, you saw a sight that seldom occurs–three stars (I should say planets were real close together with the old man in the moon standing nearby.

At the top was Jupiter, the largest of the planets, large enough to swallow 1,300 earths.  Next in line was Saturn, the one that wears the hula hoops around its waist, the largest one being 170,000 miles in diameter. Next was Venus, brightest of all planets due to the reflective quality of its surface.  Since Venus was named after the goddess of love and beauty, why shouldn’t she be the brightest?

The waining moon stood nearby, but had his back turned to the beauties as though eh was a little embarrassed to be in such famous company.

Wish I had time to drop by and wish to each of you the merriest of Merry Christmases. Remember that feeling of happiness we had at Christmas time when we were kids? May you find it again this year.

We often measure the happiness of Christmas by the number of gifts we receive. Some of the dearest gifts we receive are not always wrapped in colorful paper and fancy bows which will soon be tossed in the wastebasket, but may be wrapped in a warm, friendly smile and greeting or a sincere handclasp.

A small gift you may receive, and you can also give, yet is measureless in value, will be those three little words, “I Love You”, when wrapped in the arms of the giver. Another gift suggestion: a few “Thank Yous” all wrapped and tied with sincerity will let others know of your appreciation of kindnesses and favors of the past year. It might be appropriate to wrap an “I’m sorry” in a package of love and give to someone. The joy could be boundless.

Many of you have had a cloud of sorrow to darken your blue skies during the past year, but may it have passed away to where you can feel the warmth and brightness of the Son-the Son of God, whose birthday we are celebrating.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

ACROSS THE FENCE

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There will be a business meeting and a memorial service at the Murphree Cemetery on Sunday, April 26 at 2 p.m. Yearly dues are $6 per grave or empty space.

For more information about dues and memorial or endowment contributions leave a comment.

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An historical marker will be unveiled and dedicated on Sunday, April 19, at 2 p.m. at the home built by Col. George R. Freeman on the corner of Main and College streets–immediately west of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Hamilton.

The marker will commemorate the builder of the house, Col. George R. Freeman (1830-1910), who was a Confederate officer during the Civil War.

The Texas Historical Commission places historical markers and designations as tools to be used to interpret, promote and protect historic and cultural resources that are worthy of preservation.

On June 11, 1865, in Austin, Col. Freeman interrupted the robbery of the Texas State Treasury preventing bankruptcy of Texas.

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Pictured are brothers Danny and Mikel Craig installing the steeple.

Pictured are brothers Danny and Mikel Craig installing the steeple.

This Sunday April 5th, Providence Baptist Church will dedicate their new steeple during the 11 am worship service. The church is also providing a fellowship lunch after the morning services. The steeple was installed in January. Funds for the steeple were provided by an anonymous donor.

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Dry Fork  School
Dry Fork School

Dry Fork Community was about a mile northeast  of Olin Baptist Church between Turkey Branch and Dry Fork Creek.   Dry Fork of Honey Creek was a small branch of Honey Creek northeast of Olin.  Dry Fork Creek begins east of Olin and is parallel to US281 until it reaches Honey Creek north of CR 207.  It is near what is now County Road 239 and between CR206 and CR207. It is about thirteen miles north of Hamilton.

Dry Fork was one of the earliest schools in Hamilton County being organized in 1880 by the people of the community who built a log building to house the school and donated money to employ a teacher. Dry Fork was northeast of Olin on the Dry Fork of Honey Creek. near what is now County Road 239 and between CR206 and CR207.. It is about thirteen miles north of Hamilton.

Citizens of the Dry Fork School Community have included: Garland and Minnie Ables, Murrell and Daphna Ables, T. J. and Minnie Box, Elmer and Myrtle Bullard, D. C. and Alice Bullard, James P. Columbus, Lewis and Sarah Columbus, Jesse J. and Mattie Douglas, Giles and Emma Driver, Henry Giles and Mary Driver, B. W. Greer, M. R. Hedgpeth, Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Hicks, G. W. and Ila Hicks, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Johns, John and Susan Latham, Ed and Maybell Lively, O. D. and Emma Montgomery, W. E. and Virgie Needham, Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Seago, John and Mattie A. Smith, W. C. and Vienna Stark, Reuben Anthony and Sophia Jean Bullard Trantham, Robert Erwin and Rosa Ann Gallagher Gordon, Sr., and M. A. Vann. Jim Columbus, with his parents, came to the Dry Fork Community in 1880.

See more ABC Wednesday.

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