Our huge den and rock fireplace

One of the joys of owning the farm and having a lot of room was that the family spent most holidays there. Our living room was the site for many a family Christmas. After the kids married, we’d celebrate on New Year’s Day so the in-laws could be with their families on Christmas.  On Thanksgiving we would have our family plus most of Alice and Winn’s children and eventually grandchildren. Sometimes we weren’t sure where all the people came from. We would typically have 25 to 35 guests all enjoying being together. The table was large enough for about 10 people but there was plenty of room for everyone at the bar and various seating in the living room. Sometimes it was nice enough for guests to eat outside on the house-long porch.

Dining with room for everyone

Right after Thanksgiving, Charlotte would have the girls out and they would make tamales. It was a day long event, longer for the hostess. Charlotte would get all the ingredients together and then cook the meat for a full day before participants came out. Some years they would roll twenty-five or thirty dozen and they were the best. I have never had tamales at a restaurant that were as delicious as those homemade tamales.

We also had a big vegetable garden and grew all kinds of produce. As you can see from the wheelbarrow in the picture, we grew just a little bit of everything. Cantaloupe, squash, corn, beans, tomatoes, black eyed peas-everything flourished tended by Charlotte’s green thumb. We eventually had to fence off the garden to fend off the critters, but it was a battle worth fighting!

We had been members at Highland Park Presbyterian Church for 17 years but it became harder and harder to make the 30 mile trip in each Sunday. We visited the two Presbyterian churches in McKinney and they were cold as ice. No one spoke and we did not hear from anyone. A friend in Kiwanis suggested we try First Methodist and we did. What a difference. At the first visit, two different couples came up to us after church and invited us to their Sunday school class. The following week, we had a call from the Pastor and one from another couple. We joined First Methodist a week or two later.