Hilco Real Estate 6-2024

Making memories

by | Dec 9, 2022 | Opinion

My mother must’ve kept everything my sister and I ever made for Christmas. Some things were put together in school, but most were done in Sunday School.

Same is true for anything we ever made, regardless of the time of year.

Decades later at a Christmas gathering, if something someone says reminds my mom of a drawing I did in Vacation Bible School in 1967, she leaves the room and moments later returns with a drawing for all to see.

I never understood this until I had children.

The thought that I had a hand in creating another human being was overwhelming enough. But to watch one of my kids create something and then give it to me was just about the best thing ever. It still is.

When kids can’t build or make something they want to give their mom or dad, they save their pennies to buy it for them. In my writing studio, I still proudly display a model ship in a glass case that my youngest son saved to get me when he was about seven. If there’s ever a fire, it’ll be one of the things I grab on my way out the door.

Growing up in Ashdown, Arkansas, my sister and I made many of the decorations for the Christmas tree. Looking back, I suspect our crafts were to make us feel like we were in charge of decorating as much as they were to fill space that otherwise would have had to be filled with ornaments that cost money.

I don’t see kids making Christmas ornaments much these days. That’s a shame. We looked forward to getting a package of construction paper of all different colors, a bottle of Elmer’s Glue, and a small pair of safety scissors to make decorations.

We’d spend hours trying to perfectly cut paper strips that we’d make into interlocking loops that circled the tree my dad had harvested from the woods.

Our Sunday School teachers would provide coloring pages or books of the Nativity Scene and other Biblical images that we would color and then cut out, finally putting a hole in the top and a silver hook to hang them on the tree.

We weren’t the best about coloring inside the lines, but that just seemed to make our mom and grandmother like them even more.

Anytime we came home with something new we’d made for Christmas decorating, we were told it was the prettiest thing they’d ever seen. Even though the last thing we brought them was also the prettiest thing they’d ever seen.

Ironically, it was a Christmas decoration I made for my mom when I was in my 20s that she seems to treasure most. That year, I made Christmas soldiers out of small terra cotta pots.

I was young and still trying to build a career and a life, so money was tight. Someone showed me the idea, which was two different types of soldiers that are reminiscent of The Nutcracker. The design was simple, yet effective.

To make the two soldiers, I bought 10 small pots; some small jars of black, red, and yellow model car paint; black and red spray paint; and one small, white wooden ball.

Picture the men being formed from five pots. Each pot is turned over to sit on the next. The top pot is the hat, the next is the face, then the chest, then the waist, then the feet. After you paint each pot to make a hat, face, etc., you spray all of the pots with lacquer to protect the paint. The white ball goes in the hole in the top hat. 

I’ve posted a link to a picture of the soldiers on my website at JohnMoore.net/Blog.

A wooden dowel can be used to hold all of the pots securely in line. However, you don’t need a dowel if you place the pots in a high enough place that the kids can’t get to them. My mom displays hers on the fireplace mantle on either side of the clock.

The thing that still gets me when I visit my mom at Christmas is how she still brags to everyone that I made those for her.

Sure, she’s proud of the drawings I did and the colored looped construction paper rings that decorated Christmas trees of yore, but she’s especially proud of these soldiers.

All of the other things I’ve bought for her over the years, such as toasters, lawn lights, and other items are likely no longer used or not working. But the simple, terra cotta pot soldiers are always waiting in her Christmas boxes to emerge and take their place for holiday duty.

The soldiers were something I made in an afternoon when I was young and money was tight. Proof that for a mom, a gift doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. It just needs to be from the heart of her child. 

By John Moore

Subscribe RH Love

0 Comments

NTMWD Plant Smart 2024

Related News

35 Texas counties eligible for individual disaster aid

35 Texas counties eligible for individual disaster aid

Residents in a total of 35 Texas counties now qualify for individual disaster assistance following a series of severe storms and flooding that began in late April, The Dallas Morning News reported. “I thank our federal partners and emergency response personnel across...

read more
Phelan wins re-election bid, seeks speaker post again

Phelan wins re-election bid, seeks speaker post again

House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, narrowly won re-election in a hotly contested runoff race and has vowed to seek his third term as speaker, drawing threats from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to oppose any of his supporters in the 2024 primary. “I’ve done it...

read more
Additional disaster assistance approved

Additional disaster assistance approved

Seven Texas counties have been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for grants for emergency work and replacement of disaster-damaged public infrastructure, after severe weather and flooding struck much of Deep East Texas, Gov. Gregg Abbott’s office...

read more
Laundry: There’s more than one way to fold

Laundry: There’s more than one way to fold

You would think that there’s only one way to fold towels. But, you’d be wrong. Growing up in Ashdown, Arkansas, my momma showed me how to fold them, as well as shirts, socks, underpants, and other personal sundries. I assumed that this skillset would carry me all the...

read more
The Lawn Moore

The Lawn Moore

America really is The Land of Opportunity. Even if there’s only one opportunity, and that opportunity is cutting the grass.  Ashdown, Arkansas, was a pretty typical small American town in the 1960s and 1970s.  Kids weren’t just handed things. If we wanted...

read more
A myth understanding

A myth understanding

In the South, we believed with all of our hearts what we were told when we were children. Even if it was wrong. In the 1960s, the RCA color console TV my family had on Beech Street in Ashdown, Arkansas, could make you go blind. It could if you believed what our mom...

read more
On the road again and again

On the road again and again

Back in the 60s, some American college kids protested the Vietnam War, but mostly, they conducted sit-ins. Few protests were violent. Other American college kids would have contests to see how many of them they could cram into a Volkswagen. Today, some college kids...

read more
Aisle be seeing you

Aisle be seeing you

As a child growing up in Ashdown, Arkansas, we had two main grocery stores. Shur-Way and Piggly Wiggly. Or as my dad called it, “Hoggly Woggly.” A trip to the store was like each TV commercial had come to life. Advertising agencies at the time were very good at what...

read more
‘Aggressive’ hurricane forecast for Gulf Coast

‘Aggressive’ hurricane forecast for Gulf Coast

Colorado State University researchers are calling this year’s hurricane season forecast “the most aggressive” ever, the Texas Standard reported. They say there is a 54% chance a hurricane will strike the Texas coast, and a 25% chance it will be major. Justin Ballard,...

read more
Fixer Uppers

Fixer Uppers

Recently, I saw something I haven’t seen in many years. A young man driving a car he was fixing up. It was an older Mustang. By older I mean a 90’s model. The car had spots of primer, there were a few dents, and the exhaust system appeared to be loose. By John Moore...

read more
Order photos