Christmas Memories of Days Gone By

Christmas Memories of Days Gone By

My childhood Christmases were some of my fondest childhood memories. We were not well off financially but we always had wonderful Christmases. They were fairly traditional all except for one thing: we had it in the middle of the night! It was not until several years later that I realized that most people don’t have Christmas at 3:00 a.m. 😂

Christmas 1956
Christmas 1956
Our family Christmas card Circa 1961 or 1962. I’m sitting on my dad’s lap, Dennis standing next to me, and Doug on my mom’s lap. Standing in the back is Eldon, Joyce, and Ronnie.

Actually, my dad worked a second job as a musician. He playing guitar 🎸 and got home around 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. So instead of him going straight to bed and having to wake up in a couple of hours, we’d all got up when he got home. By the time we were done opening presents, my mom would fix us a big breakfast and then she’d lay back down for a morning nap while we played with our new toys. Then it was off to my grandma’s for a visit and dinner. She would give each of her grandchildren a small gift or maybe just a dollar bill for Christmas, but the size of the gift didn’t matter to me. I loved my grandma. After a day of food and fun playing with my cousins and siblings, we’d pile back into the car and fall asleep on the ride back home.

On my grandma’s stairway with my cousin Connie, and my brothers Dennis, Ronnie, and Doug, Circa late 1950’s or early 1960’s.

When I was old enough to shop for presents on my own, I remember going to Ayr-Way (later bought by Target) and getting all my Christmas shopping done in one day. I loved being able to do this, and really enjoyed buying my family handpicked gifts. It didn’t matter that they were from Ayr-Way. I thought they were perfect gifts and I felt joy in giving gifts that I had bought on my own. In retrospect I believe this is when I first experienced gift giving as a blessing to the giver.

It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35

Now many Christmases later, with grown children and ever growing grandchildren, I still enjoy giving gifts at Christmastime, but more so it’s being together as a family and making memories together that I cherish the most. Our Christmas gatherings have taken on a deeper meaning to this aging wife, mom, and grandmother. Lord willing, I’ll have many more Christmases and many more years here on earth but I know my days are numbered.

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. James 4:14

As for man, his days are like grass: he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone … But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him. Psalm 103:15-17

One day God will take me home and in turn, I’ll be but a memory to my loved ones, and awaiting to see them again in heaven. In the meantime it’s my hope and prayer that each one of my loved ones will have personally received the most perfect gift ever:

The LORD Jesus Christ.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15



Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s my sister Joyce and I used to go out to the airport to watch the airplanes take off and land, and to walk around the terminal, just for fun. I was in my early teens and this was before the days of increased airport security; back when we day-dreamed of flying somewhere; back when life was simpler, and back when the main airport in Indianapolis was known as Weir Cook.

So, one day while we were walking around at the airport, my sister recognized Bobby Gentry of “Ode to Billie Joe” 🎶 fame, standing near one of the counters. The airline had lost her guitar and my sister talked with her about it. I barely recognized her, even with her signature poofy hair-do, but I was definitely impressed after I realized who she was. I remember thinking it was so cool to actually see someone famous in person. Her song, “Ode to Billie Joe,” was an amazing piece of storytelling about a boy who died jumping off a Mississippi bridge, a girl who secretly loved him, some mysterious circumstances, and her family who spoke of his death with casual indifference while eating dinner.

Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, or talking on the phone with several different “famous” people. I’m sure everyone has a few. Some of mine include,

• Jerry Mathers and Tony Dowell of Leave it to Beaver fame at a dinner theater (Beef and Boards) meet and greet photo-op in Indianapolis.

• Mel Torme (“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”🎶) when he stood right behind me at the America The Beautiful Circle-Vision 360° Movie at Walt Disney World.

• Robert Ulrich (Dan Tanna in the crime drama series Vega$, and Spenser in Spenser for Hire) on a telephone call one day when I booked several flights for him and his family to/from Florida, while working for Delta Air Lines in Tampa.

• Gary Collins on a telephone call discussing his wife’s (Mary Ann Mobley) reservation, while I worked at Delta Air Lines in Los Angeles.

• Ed Begley Jr. (Ghostbuster’s, St. Elsewhere) in a little store onboard a tour of The RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, California.

• Henry Winkler (The Fonz) photo-op with my daughter Megan at a Dallas children’s hospital.

• Yakov Smirnoff (Soviet-Born Comedian famous for the phrase ‘America: What a country!’) photo-op with my daughter Mackenzie and me in Branson, Missouri.

• Thomas Kincaid, “Painter of Light” photo-op with Harold and me after we purchased a Hometown Morning Limited Edition Canvas in Longview, Texas at a Thomas Kincaid Gallery Event.

• Bob Barker when I was a contestant on The Price is Right TV show in Los Angeles.

• Jay Leno photo-op at a Tonight Show taping in Burbank where my daughter Megan and I talked with him before the taping. He called us “The Dove girls.” 🕊

• Ben Affleck at a Tonight Show taping with my daughters Michelle and Megan, where he came over to say, “Hello,” and to shake our hands.

• Robin Thicke photo-op at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, when he came over to speak with me and my daughter Megan after a show taping.

• Robin Roberts photo-op at NYC Times Square at a GMA taping.

• Jason Mraz photo-op in Los Angeles at an American Idol Finale with my daughter, Mackenzie.

• NASCAR drivers, Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jr (with my grandson Landon), Danica Patrick, etc. photo-ops at TMS (Texas Motor Speedway)

• Willie Robertson photo-op at TMS.

• Marie Osmond when she and I spoke on the telephone on two scheduled QVC/Nutrisystem TV show call-in’s. She called me “girlfriend” and a “silver fox.” 😂

• Meghan Linsey (from The Voice) at a Nutrisystem photo shoot at a Tampa advertising studio.

So, out of the above list, how many of these people have you heard of or remember?! If you’re around my age, maybe most of them? 🤔 But if you’re young, there’s a good chance you haven’t heard of any of them. Ha! Actually, I think it’s pretty likely that after a generation or two, most people who’re famous for one thing or another, eventually sink into obscurity along with everyone else.

Which brings me to the main point I’d like to make. In reality, we are all just people. Being famous for something doesn’t make a person any more special than anyone else. While a famous person may be a great actor, artist, musician, or athlete, etc., in the eyes of God they are equal to people who cannot act, paint, sing, play an instrument, or play sports, etc. Eventually no matter how famous a person may be during their lifetime, “this too will pass.”

The Bible tells us that,

“God created man in his own image,”(Genesis 1:27) and “there is no partiality with God.” (Romans 2:11)


Yet He is not partial to princes, Nor does He regard the rich more than the poor; For they are all the work of His hands. Job 34:19

The Bible also reminds us that no matter who we are, famous or not, our life on earth is relatively short.

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14

And no matter who we are, all of our days are numbered.

As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer. Psalm 103:15-16

Most importantly, the Bible warns us about holding people, places, or things (idols) in higher esteem than God. God is to be honored above all things and to be worshiped in “spirit and truth.” (John 4.23)

Those who regard worthless idols
Forsake their own Mercy. Jonah 2:8


“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3

Ultimately, the most important person we will ever encounter in this life is Jesus Christ. Everyone else pales in comparison.

Jesus Himself reminds us,

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” Revelation 22:13

Have you encountered Him?

I have, and am here to say if you have not yet came into an authentic relationship with Him, through repentance and faith in Christ alone, please do so today, before it’s too late.

And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh;” Genesis 6:3

So while it is fun to meet interesting and famous people along life’s highway, the Bible reminds us that we’re to keep it in proper perspective. Don’t be overly impressed. Celebrities put their “pants 👖 on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us.”

And maybe,

Instead of just thinking of the fun and excitement of encountering someone famous, maybe God is calling us to pray for that person.

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 1 Timothy 2:1-2

And what if,

God has a specific purpose in mind for you that relates somehow with a particular person or event.

Put on your thinking caps. 🧢

Better still, pray about it. 🙏🏻

And be careful about what impresses you.

Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. John 7:24

Interestingly, my sister’s and my early love of going out to the airport all those years ago, led both my sister and me to get involved in the aviation industry. My sister got her private pilot’s license, including a commercial rating, which she held for several years. As for me, I worked for 30 years in various capacities in the airport/airline industry. First at a small airport, Eagle Creek Airpark, and for two airlines, American Trans Air in Indianapolis, and Delta Air Lines in Tampa, Los Angeles, Jacksonville, and Dallas.

Gilligan’s Island

Gilligan’s Island

What fun it was to watch Gilligan’s Island 🏝 when I was a kid! I was 10 years old in 1964 when it came out, and it ran for 3 seasons. I suspect it’s been in re-run syndication ever since, and is available on all sorts of media venues. As I’ve mentioned before in some of my earlier writings, I spent a lot of time watching TV 📺 when I was young; probably way too much. It kept me “busy,” a bit distracted from reality, but for the most part it entertained the little lost girl that I was.

🎼 “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip, that started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship. The mate was a mighty sailor man, the skipper brave and sure. Five passengers set sail that day for a three-hour tour. A three-hour tour.” 🎶

In case you’re too young to remember, the show was about a group of seven people who were stranded on a deserted island, who’s activities and antics we’re primarily centered around getting off the island. They also entertained themselves with crazy skits and just plain silliness, however the irony and endlessly frustrating thread throughout the majority of the episodes was the fact that somehow other people came to the island and somehow always managed to get off. Whereas the seven castaways always somehow failed each time to get off of the island. And, invariably, it was Gilligan who sabotaged all of their attempts to escape the island.

Recently, while listening to a radio talk show, I learned that the show’s creator, Sherwood Schwartz, admitted that each of the “Gilligan’s Island” characters represented one of the Seven Deadly Sins (per Roman Catholic theology).

For example,

1. The Professor was guilty of pride.

2. Mary Ann was envious of Ginger.

3. Ginger was lustful.

4. The Skipper was a glutton.

5. Mrs. Howell was angry often.

6. Mr. Howell was wealthy and greedy.

7. And last, but not least, Gilligan was the sloth.

Interestingly, while researching this topic, I also found some articles that both changed and deepened the plot. The plot twists claim that Mrs. Howell was actually the sloth, that the Skipper had two sins, gluttony and anger, and that Gilligan represented the devil. Their primary reasoning was that Gilligan wore a red shirt, and sabotaged every attempt to get off the island, aka “hell.” Interesting theory. 🤔

I prefer the first theory over the second, but who knows? I could be wrong.

Gilligan was such a likable guy, but maybe he was the devil and only portrayed himself to be a likable guy. The Bible does warn us that Satan sometimes disguises himself as an angel of light. Maybe Gilligan’s sabotages were ultimately to keep them all there in their private hell, forever bound in their sin…. 🤔

Wait, it was just a TV show.

Anyway, I find it interesting that the inspiration behind the creator of Gilligan’s Island was based upon the theology of the Seven Deadly Sins. While I’m not a Catholic, I do agree that sin is deadly, But more so, I believe that sin is deadly but primarily to the point of unbelief.


When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, we’re made free in that faith. More so, it is in the gift of faith, the conviction of sin, repentance, and trust in Jesus alone, that we are freed from the penalty of sin. It’s the Great Exchange.

The bad news is that we’re all sinners, (Romans 3:23.) Furthermore, Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death, but the good news is this: the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So the moral of the story is this:

If you stay in your sin and never come to an authentic faith and relationship with Jesus; you’ll “never get off that island” and will spend eternity separated from Him.

Don’t “castaway” your life for the fleeting pleasures of sin. Sin is a snare of the devil. Don’t be fooled. Turn to Jesus today in repentance and faith; place your trust in His sacrificial death for your sins. Keeping in mind, being a Christian doesn’t make you sinless, but as you grow in Christ, you’ll sin less as God changes you from the inside out.

Christians not only make it “off that island” but have eternal life beginning here on earth and lasting into eternity with Jesus. ❤️



Since we’re official empty nesters and travel quite a bit we decided to celebrate our family Christmas 🎄 a couple of weeks early! That way our kids can have more freedom to celebrate Christmas at their own home, travel, visit in-laws, etc. We had a blast 💥 on Sunday, December 13, starting off with a big country breakfast, games, kissing 😘 under the mistletoe, gift-exchange between the grandkids, and a fun white elephant gift exchange (timed!) with the adults.

We also sang “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with singing 🎶 parts for each of us! (We had to start over several times! 😂) We love to have fun together and it’s my hope that our children and grandchildren will always remember our fun times together. ❤️ We also talked about the folklore of the hidden Christian meaning of The Twelve Days of Christmas:

1 The partridge in the pear tree represents Jesus Christ.

2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments.

3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity.

4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels.

5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch,” which gives the history of man’s fall from grace.

6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation.

7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes.

9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit.

10 Lords A-leaping = the Ten Commandments.

11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles.

12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed.

Whether the folklore is true or not, at Christmastime or whenever, I want each of our children and grandchildren to know the true meaning of Christmas. It’s not about Santa. It’s not about traditions. It’s not about food and it’s not about gifts; these things are all fine to enjoy but Christmas is really all about Jesus.

Jesus did not come into the world to do good works or to leave an example for us to follow. No, “Jesus came into the world to save sinners….” (1 Timothy 1:15) and of which “I am the worst of them.”

I want our children to hear the gospel message from us, to see His words written on our walls, and to come know Him personally. Yes we do have fun together at Christmastime, and by the grace of God many times throughout the year, but the overall most important thing we will ever do is pass our faith on to our loved ones, and pray for each one of them to come to know Christ in God’s perfect timing, and to grow in His grace. 🙌🏻

Merry Christmas 🎄 everyone and may God bless you and your family with the true meaning of Christmas this year. ❤️



Los Angeles was nice, but it was way too expensive, way too far away, and it never seemed like home. So I put in a bid to transfer to Delta’s Jacksonville reservation office, and I got it! In June of 1991, we gave our second-hand furniture back to Goodwill, packed up our personal belongings, and shipped them back to Jacksonville via Delta Cargo. The four of us left Los Angeles by car, headed back to Florida.

We made it to Jacksonville, got our furniture out of storage from Tampa, and moved into a nearly-new lease/option-to-purchase home in Orange Park, a suburb just south of Jacksonville. I loved our new home!

After living in an apartment in LA for the last year, I thought, we finally have a nice place to call home; a place to settle down, one that could be ours long term. Until my first day at work……

I walked in and found myself somewhere between disbelief and shock. It was nothing like the Los Angeles office. The carpet was worn, the walls needed paint, and they were still using the old big box single-screen computer monitors. My first thought: they’re going to close this office. 😳 I couldn’t help but mention it to a couple of the other employees but they thought I was crazy. So I decided not to worry about it; regardless if they closed the office or not, I was determined to trust God no matter what. Harold got a job at a local car dealer and I got used to working on the old computer monitors.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Orange Park was actually a great place to raise a family; nice schools, parks, and a good church, Ridgeway Baptist. We found a good medical clinic for Megan in Jacksonville at Nemour’s Children’s Hospital.

We also arranged for my mom to come stay for an extended visit with us there too. The only bad thing I remember about living here was the occasional stink in the air. Jacksonville is surrounded by trees; trees as far as the eye could see, and where there’s a lot of trees, a paper mill is likely nearby. I never knew paper mills could put out such an awful smell until living here. Fortunately, the prevailing winds usually kept the smell to the north of us.

Two of our favorite places to visit while living in this part of Florida were Green Cove Springs and St. Augustine. Green Cove Springs is an little old town with a couple of restaurants, shady oak trees and a nice playground. St. Augustine is an old beach town with lots of cute shops and restaurants. It was simply beautiful at Christmas 🎄time.

Approximately a year and a half after moving to Jacksonville, Delta management announced that they were going to close several offices over the next few months. Jacksonville ended up being one of those offices. So much for being crazy! I put in my bid to transfer to one of three cities to work in Delta Reservations:

  • Atlanta, because it was the main headquarters.
  • Miami, because it was in Florida.
  • And Dallas, because it was in the Bible Belt.

In preparation for the move we gave up our leased home and moved into an apartment nearby on a short term lease. Michelle and Megan both made some new new friends right away which made the move a little bit easier.

Michelle and her friends often hung out in little groups outside our apartment listening to music on boom boxes. One day, just for fun, Harold put a boom box on his shoulder and we walked outside within eyeshot of the kids, turned up the volume and started walking/dancing around to the music. We thought it would make for a good laugh for everyone but it backfired. Michelle was so embarrassed; she started crying and ran down the street away from us! We were officially her weird parents at this point. 😳

A month or so after moving to the apartment, we decided we’d better make a weekend visit to Miami, just in case that was going to be our next home. Miami was pretty but it was way too hot and way more crowded than we expected. On the way home I started to have second thoughts about putting it on my bid. When we got back, we found our apartment had been ransacked. Several things had been stolen, including some clothes, a cute little lamp and a set of my mother’s rings. The thief even helped themselves to our food! I filled out a police report and then a couple of weeks later, I saw my cute little lamp, now broken, sticking up out of our next door neighbor’s trash sitting outside her door! I called the police to come back to talk to her. Long story short, the police recovered most of what was stolen, including some things I didn’t even realize were missing. The thief was actually our next door neighbor’s daughter, and one of Michelle’s new friends. She told the police that she came over to our house and unlocked our balcony door right before we went out of town. She then climbed over our adjoining balconies and helped herself to our stuff, all while we were gone. It was a strange experience and it made me sad that a neighbor, even a new neighbor no less, would do that to us.

After all of that, I was really looking forward to moving and it seemed like it was taking forever for the bid results to come out. I remember praying for God to please move us where He wanted us to go.

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Finally, the results came in: Bible-Belt here we come! So after two years in Jacksonville, we moved to Lewisville, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, in July of 1993. Furniture included! While our two previous moves were voluntary and only allowed us to bring our personal effects, this move included all of our household effects since they were closing the office. A professional mover came and packed everything and drove it by semi-truck to Texas.

Which brings me to my last story about our time in Jacksonville, and the title of this blog. Soon after moving to Orange Park we kept seeing a young man in his late 20’s or early 30’s, walking up and down the main road. He was thin and obviously homeless. I never saw him begging, he was almost always, just walking. I felt sorry for him so I started buying an extra cheeseburger whenever we’d go to McDonalds and then we’d look for him to give it to. I told the girls that we wouldn’t give him money, but a sandwich would be ok. I tried to talk to him a couple of times but he wasn’t much for talking; he was just so very sad. Sometimes we couldn’t find him and so we would just have an extra sandwich. So then I decided it might be better to put together some bags of snacks and bottled water, and keep them in my car to give to him. Michelle said that the kids at school called him “Johnny Walker” so that’s what we called him. They told her that he lost his job, his wife left, he drank too much, and he became homeless. Their inspiration may have been the whiskey, “Jonnie Walker” but I preferred to think of him as someone with the first name of “Johnny” who spent most of his days “walking.” To this day, I still wonder about him, but out of this experience grew a little street ministry that I’ve done for several years since: bags of snacks, water, toiletries, and a gospel track, to give away to random homeless people. I stock up at the Dollar Store once or twice a year and fill the bags all at once and then keep one in my car, ready to give away. People nowadays call them “Blessing Bags” but to me they are my “Johnny Walker” bags.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4

At first I hesitated to write about my Johnny Walker bags, but it really was the one memory that I took away from Jacksonville that made a lasting impression. It’s also my goal in writing to pass on what God has done in my life, so this is just that. Actually without His saving grace in my life I doubt if I’d have anything worthwhile in my life let alone anything worthwhile to write about.

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Romans 5:10

#Thankful #MyMichelle

I think it’s human nature to take things for granted; especially when we’re young. For me, my earliest recollection of being truly thankful was on Thanksgiving Day in 1981. I was 26 years old and at St Francis Hospital in Beech Grove, Indiana, two days after the birth of our first daughter, Michelle. One of the attendants rolled in a large multi-tiered meal cart and handed me my Thanksgiving dinner: turkey, dressing, and all. Michelle, just two days old, lay asleep in the bassinet next to my bed.

It was just the two of us there in that little hospital room.  Harold was at mom’s having thanksgiving dinner with my family. Tears started welling up in my eyes. Not because I felt alone, actually I felt wonderful! Not because of hormones, well, maybe a little. But, because I was so happy and overwhelmed with thankfulness. I was amazed that God had entrusting me to be a mom. I was in love with my Michelle and knew that she was a precious gift on loan from God.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17

I prayed, with tears in my eyes, thanking God with every tear.

Later, I wanted to sing something to her and the oh so spiritual (not 😂) lyrics to “ Michelle” by The Beatles came to mind. To me, it was the perfect song about how I felt about “my Michelle” so that’s what I sang:

Michelle, ma belle

These are words

that go together well

My Michelle

Michelle, ma belle

Sont les mots qui vont

Tres bien ensemble

Tres bien ensemble.

I love you, I love you, I love you

That’s all I want to say

Until I find a way

I will say the only words

I know that you’ll understand,

My Michelle.

This was my first Thanksgiving spent away from home and my first Thanksgiving in a hospital, but to me it was really special. It was just me and my Michelle, and it was the first Thanksgiving that I recall where I was so thankful.

Since that day, God blessed us with two more daughters, and many other blessings over the years. But as I’ve grown in my relationship with Christ, I also learned a simple truth: God, regardless of what gifts He gives or does not give, is good, no matter what. I’m thankful for His goodness. I’m thankful for His sovereignty. I’m thankful for His providence. I’m thankful for His protection. The list is endless, but most of all I’m thankful for my salvation through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. He took my place and paid the price for my sins.

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20

I remember watching Billy Graham on TV one night in my mid-twenties and a few nights later woke up in the middle of the night thinking about all the sin in my life. I asked for His forgiveness, started reading my bible again and going back to church. I had first come to faith in Christ when I was 12 but had drifted away during my teens and early 20’s. Interestingly enough, I don’t recall ever being thankful during those years. I may have been, but I just don’t recall it.

I think it’s easy to take things for granted when we’re young, but it’s really not just about being young. I know for me, it was only after I repented of my sin and got into a right relationship with God that changed the way I see almost everything, including being Thankful! 🙌🏻

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 107:1