Christmas in Winterville

One of the most popular events in the little town of Winterville, Georgia, where I’ve lived for many years, is the Christmas in Winterville celebration. This year, this event takes place on Friday, December 3. It begins with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus. In Winterville, they don’t fly in on a sleigh pulled by reindeer. These holiday dignitaries cross the city limits line in style in the locally famous Marigold Express train! After all, Winterville began as a railroad town many years ago, called Six Mile Station. One of our landmarks is our historic train depot on the square. Why not have Santa and Mrs. Claus roll in on the Marigold Express?
Christmas in Winterville begins at 6 PM in Pittard Park and on the town square. The event is sponsored by The Commercial Bank, with contributions by other community groups and individuals. Visitors to Christmas in Winterville will enjoy free cookies, candy, hot dogs, hot cocoa and cider. The Winterville Express train will provide free rides to children (with adult supervision). Santa will arrive on the Marigold Express just after 6 PM and will then be under the gazebo in the park for pictures. Bring your cameras! Other Christmas happenings in Winterville include The Mayor’s Christmas Motorcade 52nd Anniversary Celebration to East Central Regional Hospital in Augusta, Thursday, December 9, 2010. Winterville also will collect Toys for Tots. For more information on supporting these programs, call city hall: 706-742-8600.

Note: This post originally appeared on my blogspot blog, Winterville Writer, Nov. 28, 2010.

Thanksgiving Memories, Past and Those Not Yet Made

They’re coming to my house for Thanksgiving this year. “They” are my family members: daughter, son, son’s girlfriend, mother, maybe nephew. Counting my spouse, that’s only six or seven of us planning to gather in my Winterville dining room on Thanksgiving day. We’ll dine on the usual: turkey, ham, dressing, cranberry sauce, vegetables, and, of course, pumpkin pie. I’m not an expert cook, like my grandmothers were. But I guess the point of this big meal on Thanksgiving day isn’t the food. It’s all about the family and others who eat the food together on this special day each year.
But the food sure comes in second on Thanksgiving day. Especially, the dressing. In my humble opinion, dressing, or stuffing, if you feel inclined to stuff the bird, is the star of this holiday meal. While I’m making my dressing, from cornbread I cook before I begin, I always think about my grandmothers’ dressing from Thanksgivings past. Both contained cornbread, both were Southern recipes, but they were so different. Grandmother Coile made her dressing in a big metal pan. It was greasy and featured a golden brown chicken in the middle of it, and it tasted heavenly. Grandmother Bailey made little dressing patties. First she mixed the ingredients, which included bell pepper. Then she carefully patted out each mound of dressing. Her dressing patties were to die for.

I’m lucky to make dressing at all (after looking up a recipe via Google). But I make it and somehow, it always turns out okay. At least the family gathered in my Winterville dining room tells me the dressing is okay. And I’m thankful for that — and my family. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I wish you a Thanksgiving holiday full of dressing and love.

Note: This post originally appeared on my blogspot blog, Winterville Writer, Nov. 22, 2010.

Front Porch Book Store Book Signing Event November 9, 2010, 6 – 7 PM

Winterville’s Front Porch Book Store opened for business one year ago in a tiny building on Marigold Lane that once housed city hall. In just a few short months, this store, which provides funds for the Winterville library, has become a community gathering place, as well as a great source of reading material at reasonable prices. On Tuesday, November 9, 2010, from 6 – 7 p.m., I’ll help Front Porch Book Store celebrate their one-year anniversary with a book signing event.
As some of you know, I’m a native of nearby Athens and a long-time resident of Winterville. The setting for my debut children’s middle grade novel, is the rural North Georgia area and the fictional town of Newtonville in my book is based on Winterville. During this event, I’ll read several short excerpts from my book and will then explain the local connections. The bookstore will have copies of Gone From These Woods available for purchase (cash or check only) and I’ll be glad to autograph your copy. I’ll also be happy to answer your questions about writing and publication during this hour at the bookstore. We’ll have cake and other refreshments, too. Remember all proceeds to go support the Winterville library.

This post was originally posted on, Nov. 2, 1010.

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