• Carol Ann Ross

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

A few of years ago I was walking on the beach on Christmas Day, there was no one else on the beach at the time and I guessed the regular walkers were all still inside enjoying their gifts and such. But there I was walking on the beach I love the most, when much to my surprise a helicopter came overhead. It swooped down close enough that I could hear the whoops and hollers from the three men hanging from the open bay door, dressed as Santa, all waving to me, saying Merry Christmas. I waved back, called back, and watched them sail out of sight. Wow! How neat was that?

Ever since then I have been thankful for that day, it’s a great memory. It reminded me of the old days when the simplicity of seeing Santa was the most important thing of all. In essence, the sight made me feel like a kid again-like I was a kid again on Topsail and we were both still young.

Christmas on Topsail Island, back in the old days, was a hoot. Of course, back then there were no lights on the poles, no big sales at the stores, no floatilla, no big tree in the park-heck, there was no park. But one thing we did have was the simplicity of the season. We had each other and our community. Small though it may have been, members of the community presented through the churches, the VFW, and local business owners, celebrations for the kids and adults.

The VFW always put on a big event with Santa and gifts from the Marines (Toys for Tots). I remember those times well, it was a really big deal. Standing in line, waiting for your gift, wondering what you would get. Wow, again!

Sometimes Santa would ride in on a jeep or a big truck, but he’d always have a big sack of toys for all the kids. The VFW always had a huge tree with lights and bulbs. Members came days before to decorate - that in itself was a party too.

The little Baptist church in Surf City had a Christmas show with the wise men and baby Jesus in the manger. The choir would sing all the seasonal hymns. The preacher would read from the Bible the story of the birth of Jesus while kids reenacted the scene. I remember that usually Silent Night would be the last song, it always made me cry. I also remember my dog Whitey outside howling along.

One event, maybe special only to me, was my dad’s planter punch. On Christmas Day, after we opened up our gifts, my father, Frank Ross, would open up the Texaco station, (across from IGA) and offer a huge bowl of punch to those who wanted to stop by and chew the fat and wish each other a good year. Daddy never let me drink this punch, but he did let me eat the fruit from the bottom. Maybe that’s why it is such a fond memory. Anyway, the visit may have been for only a few minutes, but people from all over the island would stop by to have a cup of punch with my father, exchange a few kind words with a fellow resident and then be on his way. Now, that is truly the spirit of Christmas.

We try to remember what Christmas is all about. We all know it is not about stuff. It is what we make, wrapping our love with words and gestures.

He is the reason for the season. Regardless of your beliefs, Christmas is called so because of one thing-one event. We don’t call it Washingtonmas or Trumpmas or Zeusmas. I try to remember that, because sometimes I’m a great little sinner. Still, my goal is to be better, to be more like HIM. Christmas does that for me. It reminds me of the people I have loved, do love and always will love - Of those I could have been kinder too, more forgiving of, and more thankful.

I have no crystal ball, broke that years ago, so what is yet to come is beyond my knowledge. However, for the future, I wish peace and joy, self worth, and accomplishment to my friends and family-and our world.

For the people who are active in my present, I wish peace and joy, and my thanks for our friendship.

For those from the past, I offer thanks for being a part of my life. Your mere existence, brought color and smiles and warm fuzzy feelings that will last throughout time.

So, have yourself a merry little Christmas, may the love of the season keep you warm and full forever.

Merry Christmas.

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Part of Issue 5: