The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Wisdom Of Barnyard Bruke: "IT'S CHRISTMAS TIME!"

Greetings to everyone in western Illinois.

I'm a hope'n this column finds youn's in the Christmas spirit, filled with joy and peace toward one another. It could be easy to develop a negative attitude if'n you foller the news and/or politic activities very closely. It might be good to wean yourself away from much of that "Baloney" and concentrate instead on the "Goodness" to be found right here in rural western Illinois this time of the year.

"Ba Humbug" ya sez, me and Mrs. Grinch knows "those things is important". Well, maybe that is so but those kind of things in politics and the world with change has been go'n on fer years before you came on the scene and will continue to go well after you pass on into eternity. You're worry'n and fret'n over them will have little affective modulation for what is needed. All's it does is alter your mental attitude negatively and give possibly yourself a very sour outlook.

Why not concentrate on the good available ever day right here in western Illinois-that is its people and the many kind and thoughtful things they do?

Also, how about take'n a friend, neighbor, or loved one out for dinner for no good reason other than to just a "chew the fat" with em for a spell and spread some kindness through some "positive jaw'n". I guarantee you'll feel the better for it and probably throw some negative thinkers completely off balance. In the meantime, hopefully our communities will be drawn closer together and find themselves all the better fer it.

Next Sunday is Christmas. It sure seems to come around sooner than ya thinks, the older ya gets. But ya gots to have a bit of "Scrooge" genetics in your blood stream not to enjoy this season at least a little bit.

It's hard to foller any kind of diet this time of year. Chocolates of ever kind and cookies galore are hard to resist-or at least by my taste buds and belly anyhow.

In travel'n around last weekend I saw lots of homes scattered about with extra cars parked out and about. Early Christmas gathern's were be'n held, I'm sure. With the mild weather we had, several folks after dinner were seen outside visiting and try'n to walk off their newly gained calories.

One young mother told me last weekend their family had already opened one round of presents with their children just because they were so excited and wanted to spread out the fun. She said there still was a lot of "kid" in her heart as well. Seemed like a fair idea, if done in the proper manner.

One Christmas tradition we always do at the "Bruke" household is to first do some visit'n with special greet'ns followed by a scrumptious Christmas meal with proper thankfulness. We then wait patiently whilst ever thing is collected up afterwards and dishes etc. take'n care of.

We then gather in the living room and circle around whilst the "Christmas Story" is read from the Bible. Every one, young and old alike, is given the opportunity to participate, each represent'n their own family, with several families involved. Some read from appropriate scripture in the Old Testament of what was predicted to come in the Christ child and Savior. Others read from the New Testament on how it happened and what our hope is built on fer salvation through Christ's sacrifice and atonement for our sins.

With some pause and reflection, the purpose of this repose is to concentrate on the real mean'n of Christmas beyond the "gift give'n" and the meal portion of it. Include'n young and old alike allows ever one to participate in this special occasion and feel a very strong bond to it. Even those young'ns that don't read so very well, yet, are given their opportunity to read, with other folk help'n them along the way with some of the more difficult words.

After all of this, the younger ones help out by pass'n out the gifts. Then we try to open gifts in some sort of order but it seems the real young'ns occasionally break harness and rip open the wrap'n paper on an important look'n gift before their turn. It helps to use up excess energy and builds excitement and good cheer. You probably can imagine this in your minds eye. It has been known for some older folks to break formation and rip into a good look'n mysterious present, as well!

Years ago, Ma Bruke was a hope'n for a pair of electric scissors for her home sew'n and mend'n work. Well, it was kinda out of our budget at the time and in them days so the next best idea came along. She was given a regular pair of scissors with a 110 v. cord tied to the ends of the handles of em.

She had a big laugh and I was able to snap the camera just when it all happened at its peak. I get that picture out now and again just as a reminder as to how poor we was in money terms but how rich we was in attitude and have'n a god time. It brings a chuckle ever time we think of it. Mrs. Bruke did offer to allow me first chance to plug those "electric scissors" in to demonstrate how they worked!

Many years ago my Great Aunt Elma to enjoy. She worked on make'n em all year long. They were beautiful made doilies for the older folks. In the confusion of clean'n up wrap'n paper from a big family with gift given the doilies disappeared. It was assumed they went with the wrap'n paper that got burned when it was torn badly and no longer reusable.

Good wrap'n paper and ribbons were always saved, to be used again for the next years Christmas presents. I suppose today that might be called "go'n green". We never thought of such say'ns in those days. But if'n the term "green" had to be applied appropriately it would be "save'n the Green". The "green" of course be'n money which was mighty scarce to begin with. Discarded wrap'n has been inspected carefully ever year since that time as a result.

Well, I'm a hope'n ever one has a mighty special Christmas this year with family and friends. Keep Christ's love in your heart and share it with all ya come in contact with. Wear a smile thoughout the season and beyond.

Thanks fer allow'n a few special memories to be shared with ya. Sure enough ever one of youn's has their own good memories they could share as well. I'm a hope'n this reminiscing has made ya mindful of your own good remembrances of Christmas past and maybe strengthened your resolve to keep those memories alive by continue'n to build on em each successive generation for years to come.

I'm also a hope'n youn's can miss the wrath of this ornery flu that is go'n around and a put'n so many folk in their sick bed.

Hope to see ya all in church over the weekend for special and regular worship services. Keep firmly in mind what the "reason for the season" is.

Merry Christmas!
Keep on Smile'n
Catch ya Later
Barnyard Bruke