News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today

Peppermint on saltines was real Christmas treat

Candy was a special gift when you grew up in a farm family with nine children, recalls Faye Ashton of Hartselle.

"We really did not have much at Christmas, nor any other time of the year for that matter, but we usually got one new toy or clothing article or a wrapped gift of some sort," she said. Each child got a Christmas stocking (brown and tan socks) with one orange, one apple and several nuts.

"But the best gift of all was the large peppermint candy stick that our dad always put under the tree on Christmas Eve for us to find the next morning," said Ashton. "Candy was special, because we didn't get much of it, except on special occasions when Mother would make fudge or molasses taffy.

"Daddy would break the large peppermint stick into pieces, and we would enjoy it with saltine crackers." That might not sound tasty, she said, "but it really was very good, and I still have a warm, wonderful feeling when I think of my dad and that peppermint."

Skipped by Santa?

Mary Anne Reese of Hartselle, who grew up in rural Mississippi with six brothers and sisters, recalls the Christmas Eve she was 8.

"Our neighbors down the road came to our house just before dark, and the kids piled out of the car with brand-new dolls, skates, BB guns and firecrackers."

Because they already had toys, Reese immediately jumped to the logical conclusion: Santa had skipped their house.

"I informed my siblings, and the crying started," she recalled. But their mother assured them that Santa went down one side of the road and came back up the other side. Then she had no trouble getting the children to bed, because they knew Santa was already in the area, and he did indeed make a visit later that night.

From our readers

  • Area residents are sharing their Christmas memories with Daily readers. Some were published Dec. 15. The last will be published Monday.

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