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It’s Christmas!

Jessica, my mail carrier, beat me to the mailbox yesterday, so I’m taking Christmas cards into downtown Norfork, population 511. My delight to drive three miles on a curvy motorcycle road, to take in the view at the Matney Knob overlook, to admire the green pines. I am grateful for the privilege of living here. Norfork, Arkansas. My town, my tiny town. If you’ve heard of Norfork, Arkansas, perhaps it’s because it’s known for trout fishing. It’s the home of the world record brown trout. Says so on the Welcome Sign. (However, the record was broken a few years ago at the Little Red River.) Easy to start up conversations with the fishermen from out-of-state in the Norfork Café. I pass Wolf House

My Train

I look at the shadows growing long in the yard. They come from a tall maple and our old ribbed house. There they lie on a hard yard like sleeping giants. It happens every December as we near the shortest day of the year. The days darken. I hear the train across the river. I look around and say to myself, One of these days I’ll clean my kitchen right after baking breads and cookies, after making the chili. But hey, it didn’t happen that way today. I didn’t wash the dishes or load the dishwasher. The pans are still in the sink, waiting on me to wash, drain, and stack them on shelves. Then I’ll uncover lost spoons and those notes I have not yet responded to, Christmas cards I want to write. May

Salvation Army Saved Us

My mother left when I was 14. Daddy sat on the floor in a corner. He drank too much. But I had my six brothers and my five sisters. As the oldest girl, my job was clear: take care of the younger ones. It never occurred to me that I might need someone to take care of me. I have no idea how I kept enough wits about me to learn anything in school. Somehow I managed to pass tests and classes, though I skipped school every other day. Someone had to stay home and tend babies, so my sister and I alternated. When I did go to school, my mind was more on babies and what we’d eat for supper than on math or adverbs. There was always a sick baby. We usually had two babies in diapers. No Pampers in those

Falling

The tail end of fall is falling outside. Leaves pile up. A holy thing. My husband is disturbed by the leaves and wants time to mow them. Childhood comes to my mind every time I kick leaves. How I loved falling headlong into a pile. I say, “No hurry on that. I’m loving the leaves on the ground. The more the better.” We walk through them and head for church, where there’s a Thanksgiving service and dinner. A cross hangs as a reminder of the One who came as a baby for you and for me. The speaker is our pastor. He reminds us of our brokenness, of our pride, and of our loving God. The pastor has great concern for those who meet God suddenly and unprepared. Someone on the other side of the church

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