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Friends, old and new, make the holidays great

Katherine Scoggins • Dec 22, 2018 at 10:30 AM

This time last year, many of my friends and I were in the final throes of the Junior League of Kingsport’s Holiday Tour of Homes. As one might imagine, it is great fun to look at the beautiful homes, decorated to the max, but there are many pieces to the puzzle that go virtually unnoticed, such as the legal rider policies, the wording of privacy requirements and decisions about days and times homes will be open, where to buy tickets, and a myriad of numerous other minutia. And this goes on for months.

So imagine my delight upon receiving a festive invitation to a holiday brunch at the “new” home of a couple I have known for years, although I don’t see them nearly as often as I would like. The brunch was scheduled for early Saturday morning, the opening day of the Tour of Homes. The hostesses’ attitude was, “ well, you’ll all be in the neighborhood first thing Saturday anyway, so why not drop by and eat, drink and see everyone before you begin your shift(s).” The house was absolutely gorgeous! The couple had recently bought the house, re-painted and decorated, then decorated for Christmas - inside and out! It was beautiful and so festive! We were in the Christmas mood within minutes of walking through the door. And the food was so good - and there was so much of it everywhere! With full stomachs and happy hearts, we were soon off to our respective houses to welcome visitors into these magnificent homes to see amazing décor, see some amazing photos of the homes and their owners and families from years gone by and hear some hilarious stories from some of the families themselves.

We had a wonderful time talking and visiting with so many people - several from other locations - and making lots of new friends. Thank you, Tracey, for including so many of us for the brunch. It was one of the highlights of the season. Hopefully we’ll pass along your kindness to others who need it as much as we did last year!!

Many of you are probably sitting down for an hour here or there these days, writing Christmas cards, maybe listening to a holiday CD and enjoying a cup of hot tea or hot chocolate. If you are like me, you’ve kept a box packed with Christmas cards from years gone by. I have almost too many to fit in an old greeting card box - cards heavy with glitter from grandparents and other relatives, sweet ones from my late parents and friends, and nostalgic cards from travelers and musician friends.

Several of us braved the snow Thursday to address Christmas cards from the Kingsport Archives to the Friends of the Archives, Board of Mayor and Aldermen, City of Kingsport officials and others who make our days and weeks so bright this time of year. Maybe after the move next year, we will have Christmas cards from archival photographs for sale. If you are a big fan of silver: tinsel trees,” stop by the Kingsport Public Library and look at the beautiful and sparkly display in the glass case. By the way, congratulations to Brianne Wright, city archivist, on winning the Society of Tennessee Archivists: John H. Thweatt Archival Advancement Award.

Thanksgiving at Rotherwood

Thanksgiving at Rotherwood is always a special treat. In past years, the beautiful dining room has 18-plus guests, though in recent yecent years, moves, illness and travel have reduced those around the table to a half dozen or fewer. Since this holiday is Rotherwood’s owner’s (Dr. Lenita Thibault) favorite, she is so very gracious to brine and roast the turkey, make wonderful cornbread dressing, make homemade “Monkey Bread,” whip up delicious sweet potatoes, cranberry relish and leave the rest of us to bring anything else that we wanted. There are always a few more vegetables, maybe baked fruit, and - not that we needed it - desserts: apple, pecan and pumpkin pies. Also iced tea, soft drinks. And an assortment of wines. Years ago we often followed this feast with a walk around the Rotherwood area. The weather was crisp and heading toward fall, the trees on the mountains turning their beautiful colors. Then back to Rotherwood for coffee, photographs and a few leftovers. Always trying new things with the meal, this year Dr. Thibault chose to prepare a “slow roasted turkey” which took approximately 12 hours and it was soooo good. Another wonderful Thanksgiving feast at Rotherwood.

Friends of the Library

The recent Friends of the Library event featured two wonderfully-talented and engaging writers, Brynn Welch and Joy Eastridge. Listening to them talk - especially as they discussed the various challenges they faced as they worked to overcome prejudices of people against bi-racial children and their efforts to broaden a child’s world views of humanity, and even capturing the mega publishers of the world as they take on biases and stereotypes so pervasive in children’s lives. Welch and Eastridge are to be commended for their persistence in overcoming the stereotypes of the education system, toy manufacturers and book publishers. If there were more advocates for children and their families like these two women, perhaps the world would be a friendlier place.

A Word of Thanks

It’s always a dangerous thing to try to name everyone who has made such a difference in one’s life, but I want to try because these people mean so much to me: Margaret Melton, Joy Mullen, Julie Wright Shortt, Pat and Harry Turner, Retta Overturf, Toni and Herschel Cave., Barbara Hoskins, Johnnie Mae Swagerty, Frances Cottrell, Robyn Wilson, Barbara Moody, Beverly Howard, Jeanette Blazier, Lenita Thibault, Fred Himelwright, Sally Currie, Karen Todd, Charles Webb, Dee Ginn, and my editor Carmen Musick! And, of course, you, my dear readers! Wishing each of you a safe and wonderful Christmas and a healthy New Year!

Katherine Scoggins is a Sunday Stories columnist who highlights local happenings and community organizations twice a month in Out & About with Katherine.

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