Traditions continue from Christmas until the New Year Arrives

Published 6:00 am Thursday, December 28, 2023

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By Bob Ann Breland

Christmas is over and after the traditional celebration, most of you have likely cleaned up much of the paper and other mess from the event. With New Year’s Day coming up so quickly, what activity do you plan between the holidays?

Many will use the time to rest, while others go back to work. Many things to do and see or maybe do things at home.

One year after Rob and I retired, on Christmas night after everybody left for the day, we decided to get up the next morning and go to the Smoky Mountains. It has always been one of our favorite places, but we had never been in winter. This year, it was unusually cold for the Smokies.

We were thrilled with the beautiful ride through the mountains seeing plenty of snow and icicles which we rarely see in Louisiana. The towns were all so pretty with colorful decorations and we were mostly quickly in and out of the cold so we were okay.

We wanted to see Dollywood in winter as it was still open on weekends, so we spent the day there, enjoying all the entertainment.

When Rob thought it was time to leave, I really wanted to see the night decorations, which would be so beautiful after dark. It was plenty cold during the day, but I had on plenty clothes and a heavy coat. It was hard to convince a southern boy he needed warmer clothes than just a light jacket.

“I am okay,” he said several times. We stayed until after dark. It really was very beautiful! I was ready for the night time, but because of the deep cold and his Louisiana clothing, he elected to find one of the warm stores to stay, while I got my fill of the decorations.

It became very cold and he grumbled about it all the way to the car and even after we got back to our room. Afterwards, after getting home, he was heard to say that was the coldest he had ever been in his entire life.

Never again did we plan to be the Smokies when it was so cold!

Then there was the year we went to Branson in late fall, a little after Thanksgiving. It was chilly, but nothing like the cold we had witnessed in the Smokies. We checked temperatures before we made the trip!

Silver Dollar City was dressed for Christmas with the most lights I have ever seen in one place. No kidding, even the garbage cans were wrapped in colorful lights. Such a beautiful stroll through this theme park with entertainment and we enjoyed it so much. I think it was the last time we were at Silver Dollar City.

At that time in our lives, these were the two available to us in the areas we visited. The really big theme parks, like Disney World, have much bigger, brighter and fancier decorations that seem to increase every year. As I have grown older, I don’t care about walking around in those parks, so I rely on memories. Since Rob isn’t here to share, that takes away the pleasure.

New Year’s Day is coming and the traditions continue. Cabbage and black-eyed peas for lunch, bringing wealth and good luck. A real country meal served with cornbread. I am not crazy about either vegetable, but will have a few bites anyway according to generations of believers.

It will also be the time for resolutions and making things better with or without our actions. We can do a lot to better ourselves, our churches and communities, as well as our state and country. We are all just one person, but together we can make a big difference.

Much love and a Very Happy 2024 to all of you!