Memories of Christmastime in Williamson

~by KyleLoverns

Every year about this time I start getting sentimental.

I recall how much fun it was to go to “town” at Christmastime. For us, going to Williamson, was going to town.
It was with wide-eyed amazement for a little kid from Nolan to go to the big city – our county seat – to see the multi-colored lights – blue, red, green and yellow – strung high across the streets on Second and Third Avenues in downtown Williamson.

When you went to “town” at this time of year, the sidewalks were lined with shoppers. People were elbow to elbow and they came from far and wide.

They drove in from every little hamlet, every long, narrow “holler” and every little small town in the Tug Valley area.

Williamson was the hub of shopping in the region with department stores, five and dime stores, clothing stores, shoe stores and restaurants.

What a thrill it was for a young lad like me to get a chance to walk up and down the sidewalks to many of the stores.

There were bright-eyed boys lined up watching the racetrack display at Sears. Or they might be just as amazed at the electric train tracks set up going around and around.

Kids of all ages and both genders would visit Murphys and Hobbs to see all of the new and old toys. Walking in Murphys, you could smell the fresh popped popcorn and the roasted peanuts. You could eye all of the penny candy lined up in glass display cases. It made your mouth water and then you had to decide what tasty treat to spend a few pennies on.
Right outside of Hobbs stood the little red, wooden Salvation Army Kettle booth. Local civic clubs, school groups and others would volunteer to ring the bell and take up money for this charitable organization.

For me, I would sell some pop bottles to get enough money to go to the Book Nook or Mickel’s to buy comic books – Batman, Superman, Justice League of America and other colorful comics. (I sure wish I had some of those now. Some copies may be worth some money.)

If you were lucky enough, you might get to eat at one of the many restaurants. How about a delicious hot pepperoni pizza from the Walnut Room? I still say they had the best pizzas I ever ate in my lifetime.

Or, you might get a hot dog with the world famous chili at the Brunswick. Or maybe you would grab a couple of slaw dogs, a bag of fresh Snyder’s chips or a cheeseburger and fries at the Smokehouse?

If you needed shoes, your parents would likely take you to Jimmy’s Shoe Store or the Cinderella Boot Shop on Second Avenue. How many times did Jimmy Davis greet you at the door when you went into Jimmy’s?

There were so many clothing stores. For the women, they could go to Harvits’, Brown’s, Schwachters and others. For the men, there were Robert Morris and the Man’s Shop, Ltd. Then there were stores like Cox’s, Penny’s and so many more.

There was also Cantees’ Department store. I can still see Abe Cantees or his family members working the floor.

Maybe you wanted to check out the latest baseball glove or check out a basketball or football at Hatfield’s Sporting Goods on Third Avenue.

Christmas carols would be blaring out of the speaker outside the door from the stairs leading up to the WBTH radio studio.

If you wanted a parking place, you may have to drive around the block a few times before one would come open. Traffic was bumper to bumper in downtown Williamson. Some people would park on the “Kentucky” side of Williamson and walk across the Harvey Street Bridge just to get into town to shop.

Most everyone who wanted to Christmas shop, from far and wide, came to “town.” The younger generation has no idea of how busy and bustling downtown Williamson was every weekend, but especially so during the Christmas season.

Back at Nolan, for whatever reason, there were always fireworks to be purchased. Every holiday season many of us would be shooting off bottle rockets, firecrackers and Roman candles. But, that’s another story.

Like many of you, I have so many fond memories of growing up in the Tug Valley.

These are just a few of the recollections I have from my younger years in the 1960s and 1970s.

I’m sure many of you have similar memories. I hope this column brought back a few of those cherished days gone by and took you down a pleasant memory lane. ~Kyle Lovern; Williamson Daily News

(Editor’s Note: This is a rewrite of a past column that previously ran in the Williamson Daily News.)

(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Civitas Media Mountain District including the Williamson Daily News and Logan Banner. He can be contacted at klovern@civitasmedia.com or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)

A Christmas Story

Joseph walks while Mary, 9 months pregnant, rides sideways on a donkey feeling every jolt, every rock in the road

joseph-and-maryWhen they arrive the small hamlet of Bethlehem is swollen from an influx of travelers. The inn is full. The stable is crowded with the guests’ animals. It’s late, everyone is asleep, and there is no room for Mary and Joseph

Fortunately the innkeeper allows them to squeeze out a small space among the animals

The stench is pungent and it’s humid. A small oil lamp lit by the innkeeper, flickers to dance shadows on the walls. A disquieting place for a woman in the last month of childbirth. Far from what Mary had expected for her firstborn

But Mary makes no complaint. She is just glad to finally get off the donkey. She leans back against the wall, her feet swollen, back aching, contractions growing

Joseph looks around. Not a minute to lose. A feeding trough would have to make do for a crib. His robe became a blanket

It’s near. Mary pushes with all her strength. Joseph places his robe beneath her and with a final push her labor is over

He cries. Mary bares her breast and reaches for the baby. She lays him on her chest and his cries subside. Deity nursing from a young maiden’s breast

Joseph sits exhausted, silent, full of wonder

Tears pool in Mary’s eyes. She touches his tiny hand. She looks up at Joseph and through a watery veil, their souls touch. It has been a long 85 mile journey

Where you would have expected angels there were only flies. Where you would have expected heads of state, there were only donkeys, a few haltered cows and a furtive scurry of curious barn mice

Except for Joseph there was no one to share Mary’s pain. Or her joy. Yes there were angels announcing Jesus’ arrival–but only to a band of blue-collar shepherds. And yes, a magnificent star shone in the sky to mark his birthplace but only 3 foreigners bothered to look up and follow it

In the little town of Bethlehem…that one silent night…the royal birth of Jesus tiptoed quietly by…as the world slept

 

The Election Isn’t Over —

A NY magazine reported that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was “urged by a group of prominent computer scientist and election lawyers to call for a recount in three swing states won by Trump”

recount-jill-steinOne day later Jill Stein announced she would be collecting money to recount votes. Coincidence or not this should set off alarm bells

Why are Stein and HRC calling for the recount?

Throughout the campaign the media hounded Trump

“Will you accept the results of the election in the event you lost?” When Trump said he would take the, “wait and see approach” Clinton took the holier than thou position.

“Make no mistake by doing that he is threatening our democracy. The peaceful transition of power is one of the things that sets us apart. It’s how we hold our country together no matter who’s in charge”

Now Stein is in the kitchen doing the dirty work. She has managed to accumulate $7 million – and her recount drive, at one point, was pulling in $5000 every minute. Somehow that doesn’t sound like “Joe Voter” digging deep in his Levi’s – that sounds more like big league spenders stepping up to the plate

Questions:

Is Stein’s recount campaign really about reassuring ‘we the people’ about the integrity of our democracy?

Before answering that question remember (according to the NY magazine cited in the 1st paragraph above) the recount plan was floated to HRC by lawyers and a few computer scientist

This recount is estimated to take us right up to the Dec 19th deadline and if it goes up to that deadline – technically speaking – it may give the ‘faithless electors’ reason for not aligning themselves with their constituents. Or Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania could be considered forfeited because they failed to resolve the issue by the Dec 19th deadline

If it does come to this who do you think would be called on? Maybe the current Supreme Court??

Do you still doubt this scenario that seems to be unfolding? If you do consider Brexit and the Geek referendum – 2 examples of ‘democracy-in-action’ that the politically elite has de facto canceled or put on hold indefinitely

Such setbacks are becoming the rule rather than the exception which lends credence to Mark Twain’s famous observation

“If voting made a difference they wouldn’t let us do it”

Paraphrased – the elite will always get what they want

This scenario may seem implausible to some – to those- never underestimate wealth, power and collusion

An op-ed written with help from a couple foreign news agencies

Coming this Tuesday! Brexit 2.0

by Fred Peatross

brexitThe first lesson Brexit has for America is that there’s a potential majority out there that is angry, scared, and more than willing to jump into the abyss. And they don’t need to be encouraged “to vote.” This past June analysts and economists warned Britons repeatedly that pulling out of the EU would be an economic and security debacle

They heard the warnings, listened to the experts tell them that Brexit meant disaster and watched as their prime minister urged them not to take a terrible risk

And their answer was: “Get stuffed”

75% of those between the ages of 18-24 wanting to stay, 39% of those 65 and older wanted to exit the EU.

Guess what? The older came to the polls. They didn’t need to be reminded

If older Britons proved to be less risk-averse than the young, there’s no reason to think America’s most reliable voters are immune to change fever. In many ways, Hillary Clinton represents the continuation of President Obama’s policies, and Donald Trump inarguably represents change. We just aren’t sure what kind of change but it appears that many (and I do mean many) would rather deal with the unknown than the known. And I haven’t even mentioned that someone is being investigated by the FBI

The polls before the referendum (Brexit) were close, they tightening days before. Most Britons went to bed the night before with the expectation that they would still be a part of Europe when they woke up

Something voters need to know — you can only trust the polls so much. A Facebook friend just traveled to the south and posted that every sign (on the highway and in the front yards) with the exception of one, said “Trump.”

One more thing. Just about everybody who’s anybody was in favor of Britain staying in the EU — every living prime minister, the leader of Britain’s two major parties, President Obama and the leader of every other important ally, academics, business leaders, and celebrities — but a majority of everyone else said “NO!”

Britain even ignored a plea from their own — James Bond (Daniel Craig)

Tuesday, Nov 8th – BREXIT 2.0

After all these years I’m Still A Mess

This is my sulking day. Yea, this happens from time to time. When it does I usually just keep to myself and wait for the dark clouds to pass. But today I’ll tell those who are willing to listen

I’m so disappointed with my maturity level. You would think after 6+ decades I’d be much further along. But Still a MessI’m still a mess

I’m far to irritable. At times I’m as thinned-skinned as a spoiled child. When I was a younger man I talked a good game of breaking the cycle but it never happened – dysfunction still reins

Have I changed at all? Today I would tell you no, not too much

I react the same way I did a quarter of a century ago. Age hasn’t exactly refined my appetites. Other feelings –some good, some bad– come and go, seemingly at their own whim. I sometimes plummet into a loneliness that swallows every trace of joy and weakens any desire I have to be around people and things

I desire to be accepted as I am, to hear someone say something good about me and something good about what I do. Feeling unwanted and unwantable is painful. This self-loathing feels like a poison apple. This poisonous feeling distorts my thinking. It drains me and shuts me up in the perverse joys of sulking

People who know me would say that I am painting an unfairly harsh picture of myself. And, happily, I agree. All that I said above is true, but I’m not telling the whole story. I think I’m a generous person. Often thoughtful, sometimes sacrificially kind. I’m committed to my family. I’m serious about my faith. I am neither dishonest with my tax forms nor immoral in motel rooms

But honest scrutiny of my life still reveals much lacking. I long to be what I’m not, to feel what I rarely feel, to love as I have never loved

But one thing is clear to me. I have a beautiful wife who loves me –even in my funk

Baby Boomers; the Good Life and it’s Excesses — by fred peatross

mezzanine_668

 

 

America has some serious long-term fiscal problems. Problems that were mostly created by my generation. It certainly doesn’t make me feel good to step outside of my life circle and attempt to see what my generation has created for the next generation

We boomers are healthy and living way past average life expectancy

We’ve got a defined benefit pension plan from a large company or the government that was created years ago when people didn’t understand how horribly things can be when these plans can go wrong (trouble meeting liabilities, yada, yada), but heck, we don’t care as long as we get our check. And then there’s that social security check. We once hated the government. We smoked pot and protested against Vietnam and President Nixon. That was a long, long time ago

Life has been good for me. I’m a baby boomer. And so are you if you were born between 1946 and the early 1960’s

  • We had Woodstock and the Stones in the ’60s, discos and coke in the ’70s
  • Wall Street in the ’80s
  • Bill Clinton in the ’90s
  • And now we give you two of our oldest boomers–Hillary and The Donald. Enjoy
We’re A Narcissistic Bunch

And now many of us are retired living in Arizona and Florida on the backs of our stressed-out kids whose own children stay at home with them into their 20s because they have no jobs. Tom Brokaw once wrote a book about the greatest generation, those brave people who survived the depression and fought in World War II. Unfortunately that great generation spawned a generation of narcissists: the baby boomers

Boomers don’t like to talk about fiscal responsibility or living within their means. We like our credit cards and government secured mortgages on overvalued properties. We enjoy the malls we built and the cars and our big-ass homes. Heck as long as someone’s willing to lend us the money to buy this stuff we don’t seem to care much about how it will be paid off. We still represent an enormous voting block and we have no intention of have our lifestyle threatened. This is the real reason Washington can’t create a long-term deficit reduction plan. We boomers love our safety nets

One of the major reasons our national debt is so high is because 40% of our government’s spending goes to some type of insurance: social insurance, retirement, health benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. These systems are bankrupt. But they’re needed to pay for us boomers’ healthcare and pension plans. People that were born after 1965 are working hard to make sure that the boomer generation gets their retirement and disability paid for by the government. But it’s still not enough. So our government has to borrow and print money. And our debts balloon. Who will pay these debts? Ah, who cares says the boomers. Not my problem

The Good News

The good news is that we’re quickly getting older. Thousands of boomers are retiring every day. The generation behind us would probably like to ship us all off to an island. From my perspective, I’m glad they can’t. But I’m hoping that the next generation of leaders will not make the same mistakes we did. Maybe they’ll fix the problems we boomers created

So hold on. Be patient. You’ll soon be able to bid farewell to my generation; they call us the baby boomers

The Messy in Relationships

messy-relationships-300x264When I was a manager I use to think the last person I hired was the best person I ever hired. Maybe you think that new neighbor is the best neighbor ever. Or that new boyfriend is the best find ever. All of those examples may be true – but let’s face it. Relationships are messy. But understanding the process of a relationship helped me tremendously

  • The honeymoon stage is the one we begin with. At this point we usually have an unrealistic view of the relationship. And the excitement of finding someone who meets a need tends to temporarily blind us to their negative traits
  • Specific irritation is the stage where we begin to discover the things we don’t like. Here we develop a memory bank of these negative traits
  • General discomfort should cause us to deal with the specific irritations that have piled up in our memory bank

Most often if a relationship is going to succeed it happens before the next stage

  • Try harder is a stage of development where we raise our energy level to make a success of the relationship
  • Exhaustion often leads to problems in a relationship because we have grown tired at this point. At this point we often give up

How Do You Feel About Yourself Today?

Do you want to feel good about yourself? So do I. But it’s hard work

We have to take care of ourselves. And one of the ways we do that is by talking things over with ourselves

Feel Good About YouI have to watch my self-talk because I can be demanding of myself.  But I’m slowly learning to feel good about myself by listening to the messages my life is sending me. It’s not an easy transition to take those messages and find the positive in them. But it’s the pathway to better understand what it takes to feel good about being me

Your life is constantly trying to get your attention. The key is listening to the signals

Feeling Loved

Do you feel loved?

Who loves you?

Who do you love?

We need to know others love us. A human being who does not feel loved is a wounded human being

More than anything else, loving and being loved makes us feel worthy

Feeling Understood

Do you feel like there is anyone who understands you? Being understood is a transforming experience. I saw a picture yesterday that showed two tiny human figures separated by a long flight of stairs. Meet someone halfway. Communication is the beginning of understanding

Feeling Good About Yourself?

It depends on the picture you take

The simplest camera in the world — your imagination. There’s not even one button to push. Imagination is existence itself.

You behave according to your self-image. And your self-image is based on the picture your imagination has been taking of you

Aging with Hillary Clinton and The Donald

I’m in the same age bracket as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Mrs Clinton’s bobbling collapse reminds me again that I’m at the age where stuff can happen. I often push that thought off to the side because I’m in good health and in good shape. And unlike Trump & Clinton I don’t carry a lot of extra weight (that can make a difference)

hillary_donald_caricaturesI can tell that my energy level is less than what it use to be. I never felt the difference in my work years. But I can now

I worked for over 3 decades and I have no desire to return to the work force. None. Zero. I have been asked more than once if I would want to do volunteer work but I turn that down every time because I don’t want to be chained to a start time and quit time. Which brings me to a question

With health issues at 68 years old and a campaign that is physically exhausting, no matter one’s age, why would Hillary Clinton want to pursue the rigors of a job that could jeopardize her health even further? Is she so desperate for control and power that she cannot give up the pursuit? What makes her push her body when she could step away from public life and live her final years with family, in peace,comfort and prosperity?

Maybe Hillary Clinton is analogous to a meth head. The difference being in her elixir of choice — power

I hear power can make you drunk

Respect, Protest and the NFL

American FlagWhen you have a knowledge of history and an experiential understanding of what was required of the generations that went before us it instills an understanding and respect for the sacrifices made to protect this country’s freedom

Us stupid old people have dads who fought and died for this country. We have beliefs & convictions dissimilar to yours but just as important to us as yours are to you (speaking to the young NFL players & those of the millienal generation). We also have feelings like you

The National Anthem is a treasure to me; it often brings tears to my eyes

I think where we differ is in our understanding of protest and respect. I honor my father and the sacrifices he made for this country each time the Anthem is sung; no matter what I’m pissed about. Sorry I’m so old fashion

I really wish you would find other ways to protest. But hey, I’ll accept your right to sit. So sit if u want

I hope you respect my decision (and right), and the 1000s of other fans, when we quit watching. It’s coming you know

I love college football

Bye bye