Is this not the most inviting scene? This is the creation of my cousin Cindi's two boys, Tim & Logan. The foot of snow that landed in Lowgap, North Carolina, was obviously enjoyed. I'm including some of her other photos, showing their home in the mountains. She commented that in weather like this, a husband with a backhoe is a handy thing. (Eat your heart out, Red Green!)
The view of the mountains (below) from Cindi & Victor's deck is the Blue Ridge in North Carolina and Virginia. Isn't it beautiful? And you can see the pines around their home. . . Lowgap is famous for Christmas greenery.
The young men responsible for the "cool" living room decor lounge to the left. Creativity really does run in my family!
Got my first Christmas present the other day. Gary bought me The Assassination of Jesse James starring Brad Pitt. I jumped up and down I was so tickled!!! Isn't the image above just awesome? I'm sure my bud Chuck Rabas will weigh in, but honestly, this movie is worth the price just for images such as these.
This leads me to some gift suggestions for those distraught shoppers among you. Let's make it an historic Christmas!!!!
*Oil lamps. Have you heard the weather forecast? Oil lamps can be bought cheaply at Dollar General or more expensively at an antique store, but be sure to include lamp oil.
*Abraham Lincoln: A Life by Michael Burlingame (left). While you're sitting there in the lamplight, you might as well be reading the ultimate biography of a very interesting and inspiring man, written by a very interesting and inspiring man. Okay, I'll level with you: This is a two-volume, two-thousand page tome and the cost is equivalent to our wine budget for the month (okay, the week), but not since William Herndon has there been such a significant work on the 16th president.
*Moon of Bitter Cold by Fred Chiaventone. Today is the anniversary of the Fetterman Massacre, 1866, just outside Fort Phil Kearny, Wyoming. Fred's account of Red Cloud's War is priceless. The historic characters we know and love come to life in this novel--(people like Margaret Carrington and Jim Bridger). There is talk of a mini-series. Gosh, I hope so. While you're at it, buy A Road We Do Not Know...I can scarcely talk about this book without weeping. Absolutely the best account of the Little Bighorn.
*Gatewood and Geronimo and Lt. Charles Gatewood and His Apache Wars Memoir by Louis Kraft. Some folks worth knowing have been gone for a long time. Thank God we have people like Louis to bring them back to us, wholly and warmly. I can't tell you how much I love these two books, how much I love Louis, and how I can't wait to read his work on Ned Wynkoop. Louis can teach the class on how to write a memoir.
*Memberships. We all have enough crap. Let's give an experience--a newsletter that keeps coming, an admission that gets us in again and again. Some of my favorites:
Shawnee County Historical Society, Topeka
Pattee House Museum, St. Joseph, Missouri
Civil War Roundtable of Eastern Kansas, Topeka
Kansas City Civil War Roundtable, Mission, Kansas
The Great Overland Station, Topeka
*Music. I am the newest and most ardent fan of Mike Finnigan. Search youtube.com and get a sample of "Let Me See the Light." In fact, that is my gift to each of you.
*Movies. Everyone knows I'm hooked on old westerns. Anything with Errol Flynn and Olivia DeHavilland. Newer ones, movies with a message--just think about the person and what you want to say. There's a movie that fits and it gives joy again and again.
*Art. Do NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT, buy art from a furniture store or KMart or Walmart, or even Target or Macy's. Go to your local art gallery, tell them how much you can spend and get something original and unique. I know too many artists to offend anyone by mentioning names here, but there is something out there to fit your pocketbook and taste. I PROMISE!!!
Okay? Is your mind moving in a different direction? Are you ready to make Christmas an historic event? I knew you could do it. Let me know if you need more help. I'm here for you.