It's that 'hurry up' time to relax

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By Tom Watson

I love Christmas. With decorations and music and all the things to remind us whose birthday is being celebrated. It’s that time of year when we kick back in our recliners and flip on the game as the aroma of a freshly cut tree fills the house.

Wish I had a recliner. I once had a recliner, but wore it out. Now, I’m just as comfortable sitting on a pillow in a straight back chair. But back to the important subject matter. It is time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and savior.

Now I am not a preacher, but I am also not so stupid that I claim to know the answers to the mysteries of life. That’s why we allow God to take care of all the important things and we can kick back in our straight back chairs.

Christmas shouldn’t be dreaded because none of us have much money to spend on gifts and celebrations. It’s a time to hurry up and relax.

Look into the eyes of the little children and enjoy their anticipation and excitement. If you can’t afford to give them much, tell them the Christmas story. That’s much more meaningful than a plastic toy made in China.

My grandson, Ethan Watson, is three. He looked at me with those big, blue eyes and said he wants one thing.

“I want a Christmas tree, grandpa.”

 I assured him, he will have one and we will decorate it with lights and all kinds of things to make it sparkle.

That’s the story of Christmas.

I read Salt River Tom’s diary occasionally. I’ve had a copy of part of his writings for many years. William Thomas Love lived in the Van Buren community.

He was a prolific diary keeper.

Christmas Day 1893 was especially meaningful for Tom Love. It was his father’s 78th birthday. He wrote:

“78 years ago my father J.A. Love was born. I went down and eat breakfast with the old man. (I learned long ago, you never correct the grammar of Salt River Tom.) The 29th of next May him and mother will be married 50 years if they both live to see the day. An honorable exemplary life they lived.”

Tom visited his in-laws as well and can you imagine how happy they must have been to have him stop by. He admitted taking a “dram” (small shot of spirits) earlier with J.N. Dugan, which surely fortified him for conversation.

“Hurrying on I reach my father-in-laws and once more had the pleasure of mixing and commingling together in social chat. Thus I again had the exquisite pleasure of seeing my parents and Letitia’s parents again on the same day. This is an honor seldom realized. An appreciation seldom oppotuned to people here at my age. (Tom was 39 in 1893) but those four old people will soon, according to the decree of nature, receive their summons. The long shades of evening are gathering around them. But with their lives full of honor, peace and love they are prepared to join the kind by throng on the other shore.”

In 1908, Salt River Tom decided to stake out his barn where some livestock had been allowed inside due to inclement weather. He had heard that when the clock struck midnight on Christmas Eve, animals knelt in observance of the birth of Christ. He waited and it happened.

Tom was obviously stunned and was so humbled by the experience he simply acknowledged the occurrence in his diary without elaboration.

There are some parts of his diary that I do not have and this is unfortunately one of them. I had heard the story of Tom Love witnessing the kneeling cattle.

It would be interesting to know if others have witnessed animals kneeling as Christmas Eve passes into Christmas Day.