We Had it all Back Then

snowy road

“After everybody married Christmas got a bit more complicated with in law-dinners to work around. However, we always met at Mom and Dad’s on Christmas Eve for many years. After I took over the celebration and cooking it became a little easier for everybody. Mom cooked ham back then, and we brought side dishes from home.

My favorite memories as I look back now were not the dinner nor the gift opening. I cannot remember even what I received. The trek up to their mountain home was sometimes an experience many who live in the lowlands will never enjoy. 

We would form a caravan and head up the winding mountain road. Often we traveled in blowing snowy weather with roads not yet scraped. West Virginia has some rough Winters at times. One Christmas Eve our car slid into a deep ditch. There was a lot of laughing, pushing and falling in the ditch, but we managed to dig out and arrive snow covered but safe. I was never afraid, but to slide could sometimes take you over and down a mountain. I never had any fear of those steep mountains, but can’t look out the window in a tall building. Go figure. 

Regardless, Christmas was so special because of dear family and the prospect of great adventure just arriving there and returning back home safely. Each year those former Christmases create a tug at my heart, but no wonder. We had it all back then.”



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  • Reply
    Grandma Cate
    December 14, 2020 at 7:45 pm

    Thanks for bringing to mind so many Christmas memories.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    We had it all back then, that really does sum it up! Growing up in northern Illinois with lots of snow, Christmas time was absolutely wonderful because my parents would take my brother and I back down south to my Grandparents in NE MS. We would run out of ice and snow and as a little girl I loved getting down to see Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and a lot of cousins. I don’t remember getting any gift from any of them but I didn’t think I was supposed to. The most fun was playing with my cousins and just being with them all. It was a joyous occasion with simple food but great tasting.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2020 at 11:37 am

    Even before those Christmases were the times we would visit Grandma and Grandpa on Pinnacle Creek. You usually could not even get the car near the house. Their tree was full of homemade decorations and I recall popcorn balls in pretty clear colored paper. We always got coloring books or paper doll books, and that that house could get packed like sardines.
    Later came the wonderful memories of where my parents lived on Conner Mountain. Those were such magic times with few of us even owning an AWD. With youthful naivete, I always enjoyed the challenge of maneuvering those curvy mountain roads in snow. Learning that skill was a blessing, as later a company I worked for furnished a 2W drive Geo. Unfortunately, I have lost that brave or maybe “reckless” spirit and will barely venture out with even a flake of snow. My Christmas tree is now artificial with lights already in place. I have had to change with the times, but I learned so much from my humble Appalachian background. It teaches one to tackle whatever lies ahead in the 2021, and we are more able to find the magic in a simple life.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2020 at 10:28 am

    That is so true. I can’t remember any of the gifts with the exception of my hello kitty pencil sharpener. I remember sitting around a fire with my family and joking with aunts and uncles. I remember the drive to and fro. I miss it.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    December 10, 2020 at 10:23 am

    It’s funny how we don’t realize what wonderful holidays we’re having when we’re young. The beautiful memories I have enrich my Christmas now, while God is so good to give me more special memories to keep each year. It’s a great pleasure to watch my grandchildren enjoy making their memories.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2020 at 9:08 am

    I don’t recall ever traveling anywhere to have Christmas dinner when I was growing up. It seems like there was always a big snow at Christmas that made for treacherous driving over the steep mountains similar to the ones in WV. We didn’t mind staying at home and playing with our doll and eating the fruits, nuts and candy Santa left in our stocking.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2020 at 8:33 am

    Time helps remember the good times and forget the bad as a rule, sounds like PinnacleCreek has a lot of those. I can relate to balancing Christmas meals with in-laws.
    This year is going be tough on everyone, bad weather or not.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2020 at 8:23 am

    Yes we had it all. I talk with one of my cousins often and the family get togethers is one thing we talk about. The times when growing up when our grandparents, parents, cousins and others were still living were the best times of our lives. After marriage it could be hectic trying to get around to everybody but now that all the members have passed away, I look back and think of how much I enjoyed these times. My wife’s family still get together, but without her parents, a sister, and my daughter it is not the same anymore. I encourage everyone to enjoy every minute you can with your family, because the time may come when you won’t be able too.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 10, 2020 at 8:18 am

    We had it all back then because we didn’t have to have it all! The quest for “things” has taken over people’s lives!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    December 10, 2020 at 7:53 am

    I’ll readily acknowledge that the more distant boyhood becomes the more wonderful it seems, but this post touches on the magic of nostalgia in almost mystical fashion. The words “we had it all back then” are a powerful, poignant reminder that material things take a distant second place to things of the heart. That’s a wonderful phrase.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 10, 2020 at 7:42 am

    Yes, Pinnacle Creek, we learn in life that our ties with others warm our hearts but houses and clothes can only warm our bodies. Seems a shame sometimes we can’t be born wise. We could ‘redeem the time’ so much better then we think. But I reckon the Lord is working a bigger plan that requires us to learn to redeem the time for ourselves. As adults knew when we were children, we could not be both carefree children and grown up at the same time. Seems to me that if you could have known you had it all back then it would have required a knowledge that took away from your simple childhood joy. My Dad would often say to us kids we didn’t know how good we had it.

    I love your phrase “we had it all back then”. I think I know you meant you all had all that mattered most. Life since has only confirmed it. I say, with more truth than exaggeration that we were poor (in material wealth that is) and didn’t know it until the War on Poverty introduced the “poverty line”. Some country music song writer needs to write a song with the title “We Had It All Back Then”. It might be that some poor-in-heart people would learn something to help them.

    • Reply
      December 10, 2020 at 11:41 am

      That could be a good challenge for Tipper’s gifted brother, Paul.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    December 10, 2020 at 7:23 am

    I find myself thinking of and longing for the REAL JOY of Christmases past- the laughter, the love, feasting together with wee tots at the child table. Driving in WV can be treacherous, but here’s a FUNNY TRUTH- when I was in Ecuador, the mountains there ascend into the clouds and roads are built on perilous edges dropping straight off cliffs to areas so deep, you cannot see the bottom- hundreds of thousands of feet of sheer drop off. The bigger vehicles like trucks and buses literally OWN the road and try their best to shove your car off a cliff. In many ways, Americans act like that now behind the wheel and for what reason except to be mean and cruel. Christmases past are gone forever because people have lost all real values in our society today and it’s become ME ME ME AND SCREW YOU!!! Lol Merry Christmas hill folk who are about the only sane ones left I see…

  • Reply
    sheryl paul
    December 10, 2020 at 7:17 am

    We finally koined forces and had one big meal with all family and inlaws. Udually around 30 or more. Sadly I am now the eldest in the family snd our numbers sre down. With Covid I sm not sure what will happen

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 10, 2020 at 6:27 am

    Thank you, PinnacleCreek, that’s what Christmas is really about..Family and good food!

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