LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘The spirit of the way Christmas used to be’

My daughter, Blaire, and I had to go to Sumter Street Grocery Store in Florence Dec. 17. I had been asked to stop by the store to purchase a large package of pig feet. Pig feet is not a type of meat that I like to eat, but for a friend, we will subject ourselves to go out of our way. As we walked around the store, I saw people being so happy as they were choosing their meats and other items for their Christmas dinner. Gradually, in the middle of all this happiness, a sadness began to come upon me as I began to realize that the holidays were approaching, and my parents were no longer on Earth to help prepare and celebrate it with me. I know that they are in a better place, Heaven, with Jesus Christ. But I still miss them so very much. As I walked out of the store, I saw a man and woman standing beside a pickup truck. I assumed they were husband and wife. The bed of their truck was filled with fresh vegetables, fresh produce, Christmas candies and they had a variety of nuts sitting out on a table. They made me begin to think about my grandfather, Bud, my mother’s father, when he would give all of his grandchildren apples, oranges, different types of nuts and Christmas candies. My grandmother, IDell, would watch and smile. They were our Mr. and Mrs. Claus. I also began to think about my grandmother, Rosa, my father’s mother, my other Mrs. Claus, who always baked sweet potato pies and coconut pies for Christmas. They were so delicious! I also began to think about all the apples, oranges, variety of nuts and Christmas candies that my parents would purchase and put in beautiful crystal bowls and vases for the people who would stop by to visit during the holidays. We would all eat and talk. Those were the good old days. I really had to refrain from crying because a spirit of sadness as well as a spirit of joy came over me. I could feel that this grocery store is a very special place. It holds the spirit of the way Christmas used to be. Its atmosphere of simplicity and charm and recognizable wares beckons older folk, regular folk, and anyone else who has remembrance of the old country store and country folk to go there and become transported and joyful in it. I felt abandoned and alone as Christmas approached, but this store and its people took me home.

Carol Robinson Brown, Darlington

Author: Rachel Howell

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