Monthly Archives: December 2016

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