Christmas 1963

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Chocolate Drops and Hardtack
Growing up in a preacher’s family meant that I got in on all the background preparations that went on at Christmas. This was especially true when getting ready for our annual Christmas program.
We lived in a poor coal mining community of Southwestern Pennsylvania. The Christmas program created a special time for everyone, especially the children. They knew that after the program ended everyone got a special treat to take home.
A week prior to the program my father shopped for all the goodies that went into, the Christmas boxes. He came home with a variety of candy, English walnuts, and Brazil nuts. We all participated in the job of sorting the candies and filling one hundred boxes.
The small cardboard boxes came flattened and needed to be pushed into a rectangular shape and closed on one end. The long narrow side had a string inserted so it could be carried like a miniature suitcase. On the outside were colorful pictures of Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus, the Shepherds, and the Wise Men. The boxes were about the size of an Animal Crackers box of the past.
On Saturday we all gathered around our big dining room table and began filling the boxes. Into each box we put a couple of chocolate drops, some colorful hardtack, English walnuts, Brazil nuts and Hershey Kisses. We folded and locked the flaps together and carefully packed them into several large cardboard boxes.
As the program commenced, the atmosphere grew tense with excitement. Parents watched their little ones recite their piece, all dressed up in housecoats and holding shepherd staffs. When the program ended, my father announced that we had one last thing to do. Several adults passed out a box of candy, a big red apple, and a big navel orange to everyone.
The service ended and we all went home with a treat and a smile.
Printed in the Old Mountain Press winter anthology 2017

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

I am reprinting my story from last year. It brings back lots of good memories for me and hopefully you will enjoy it as well.

Truth and Light

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I was introduced to reverse poetry yesterday in our prompt at d’Verse Poets Pub weekly prompt. I really enjoy it and so I am trying it again with a poem I wrote a year or two ago. Reverse poetry writes the poem and then turns it around and rewrites it from the bottom up with a few minor changes. See what you think!

Desert of Truth (Reverse Poetry)

Light without fruit creates a desert
Overwhelming all // burning
Driving everything underground
Faith without fruit creates a desert
No shade // No water // No food
Just intense // overpowering repulsion
For all to avoid

Grace // Mercy // and Truth
Fruit to feed on
A well to drink from
Shade of protection to come under
Don’t let your life become a desert
Don’t let your truth become light to avoid
*
Let your Love reach out to all
*
Don’t let your truth become light to avoid
Don’t let your life become a desert
(Be) a shade of protection to come under
A well to drink from
Fruit to feed on
Grace // Mercy // and Truth

For all avoid
Intense //overpowering repulsion
No shade // No water // No food
Faith without fruit creates a desert
Driving everything underground
Overwhelming all // burning
*
Light without fruit creates a desert

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Anticipation

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Winter is a time of hope and anticipation of what is to come. It is a time of reflection on the past year and a look forward to good things to come. What was lost in the past year is not necessarily gone, but remain as seeds of hope for renewal in the spring. Collect those seeds and plant them again when you feel the warmth of the sun on your face and the gentle rains of spring. Let them grow and blossom. There is no hope, only memories in a dried arrangement!

Anticipation

I collected seeds today

What was once an orange glow

Mirroring the warmth of the sun

Now captive of early morning frost

Dried and twisted stems

Heads bowed in thirsting humility

Yet full of hope and anticipation

Remnants of petals soft and fragile

Hard-pressed in the icy blasts

Devoid of life-giving water

Memory of beauty still hanging on

Winter is a time of anticipation

Remembering and expecting

Knowing that when the icy chill is gone

Resurrection of beauty will occur

Hope left in the fruit of the flower

Seeds are not dead rather full of paused life

So I collect seeds in winter

With anticipation of spring