Seniors relive cherished Christmases past

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Robert and Ruth Burgess (TMP Photo/D. Whittle)
Memories reside at Azalea Court Assisted Living Center in Smyrna.

As an 89-year-old resident there, Katherine “Sis” Moser remembers Christmases of her youth.

“On Christmas Day, my father would take me, board the trolley and go down to Nashville’s Second Avenue to his place of employment, the Standard Candy Company,” Sis recalled.

“It was a child’s delight, being taken to the candy company’s chill room where the chocolates were stored until being shipped out to the customers,” Sis added with a joyous look on her face. “As Dad was doing his work, I’d munch on that candy and type on the first typewriter I’d ever seen. Can you imagine a child being turned loose in a store-house of candy?”

She recalled one spectacular Christmas scene of youth that likely will never be seen again.

“We stopped and watched people walk out on the frozen Cumberland River one Christmas,” she said. “Someone, a day or two later, drove their Model T Ford out across the frozen river.

“I’m told today, due to chemicals and bad stuff in the river, it will never freeze over again. I didn’t see the car on the frozen river, but I saw front-page newspaper pictures of it.”

She also described gifts of that era.

“It was the only time of year we had fresh fruits, you know, apples and oranges,” Sis said. “Bananas were a huge treat.”

They made their “own Christmas music,” she said.

“On Christmas mornings, we’d make music with me on the piano, Dad was on violin, one sister played the guitar, another strummed a ukulele. All my sisters could sing like birds,” she said. “And after our Christmas meal, Mom would do dishes, telling us to go back in the living room and make more music.

“And sometimes, we’d go to all-night singings at the Ryman (Auditorium) in downtown Nashville.”

Dec. 25 will mark 60 Christmases shared by Azalea Court residents Robert and Ruth Burgess.

A lot of mistletoe has grown on the tree of life for the couple, as they approach Christmas 2012 heart in heart and hand in hand.

“Christmas is a love story,” Ruth described.

“But it’s not just our love story,” said Robert, an ordained Christian minister at 84 years young. “The international sweetness of the season is the miraculous birth of the Christ child, the center focus of the Christmas season we gloriously share with Christians here at Azalea Court, and with people all across the earth.”

“The Christ child is the most important part of our love and lives,” Ruth added.

I was privileged to visit with Sis, Robert and Ruth when recently asked to speak at Azalea Court.

While recalling Christmases of youth with the Burgesses and other residents, the song, “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” arose.

“It’s our favorite Christmas hymn of all time,” noted Robert said, as someone passed out hymn books and other residents joined in singing songs about the birth of the Jesus Christ.

The song was penned in the early 1900s by the late R. Fisher Boyce, in the stall of a Bradyville-area dairy barn where he sought solace to finish putting the words and lyrics together.

One of his sons, in a 1990s-era newspaper interview, said Boyce went to the barn to get away from noise and frolicsome children and family.

“Dad always said the words and lyrics for ‘Beautiful Star of Bethlehem’ came from the Lord,” the son was quoted.
Tagged under  Assisted Living, Azalea Court Assisted Living Center, Christmas, Family, History, Holiday, Smyrna

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