Monthly Archives: December 2010

Christmas in Smithfield


Smithfield isn’t my hometown,  but it was where my Mom and I came shopping every Saturday morning all during my childhood and even into my teenage years.  At that time, Smithfield’s businesses included a couple of grocery stores, a five and dime,  two department stores, a jewelry store  and a couple of drug stores.  My little hometown of Bacon’s Castle had a whopping four gas stations/country stores, but that was it for shopping.

A Saturday morning shopping trip to Smithfield was a big adventure. But I always wanted to get home in time to watch Sky King on tv.

Smithfield Gourmet Bakery is located in this building now. In the days of my childhood, it was Little’s Pharmacy. There was a soda fountain there, and my Mom and I always stopped in for a lime-ade during our shopping trip.

This is our small town ice cream parlor. Not only do they have good ice cream, but also delicious subs. Back in the day, this was The Flower Cupboard. I remember buying boutennaires for my prom dates here.

Smithfield Flags now occupies this building.  Years ago, it was the Chevrolet dealership. We never patronized that dealership: my Mom was a Ford woman.  I DO, however, patronize Smithfield Flags.

 In my earliest memories, this was Betts Department Store. It remained a department store (Southern and then Peebles) for many years.  It’s now The Christmas Store, which is open year-round, but especially popular this time of year.

This little building is now Lindsay Jones Apparel and Gifts. It was the Lad and Lassie shop (childrens’ clothing) when I was a little girl. My Mom occasionally bought outfits for me there, including one that had gray woolen leggings. Those things itched like crazy, and I hated wearing them.

Years ago, before the town utility lines were underground, holiday decorations on Main Street in Smithfield were huge electric Christmas bulbs hung across the street on the power lines.  You knew it was Christmas time when you came to town and the decorations were up on Main Street.  Now there are garlands and red bows on the lamp posts.

The buildings remain, although they’re home to different businesses. The decorations have changed.  Sky King is no longer on tv, and there are no gray woolen leggings in my closet (thank goodness).

But it’s still Christmas in Smithfield.


THE Snow Picture


A couple of years ago, it began to snow one day while Motor Man and I were at our shop.  When we got home, I stood inside our garage and took this picture, facing the street. It’s the full-size version of the photo on the sidebar of my blog.  Right over there ————————————————————————->>>

I love the light from my neighbor’s lamp post.

This immediately became my favorite snow picture of all that I’d ever taken.

It reminds me of the snow globe my grandmother had when I was a little girl. I was only allowed to hold it (with both hands) for about 15 seconds, shake it (gently) one time,  and then place it (carefully) back on Grandma’s desk.

It was made of glass, unlike the plastic ones you see these days. And it had lots and lots of “snow”.  I think someone had given it to Grandma as a gift.  I don’t know how valuable it was (in dollars and cents), but I know it was a treasure to her.  Maybe that’s why I loved it so much.  And I know that’s why I was taught to be so careful with it.

Here’s your virtual snow globe. No need to shake; just wait patiently and maybe some snow will appear!

Oh, To Be a Kid Again


After hearing our friends talking about taking their grandchildren to the Yankee Candle Factory in Williamsburg, Motor Man and I decided to see it for ourselves this past weekend.

I think we were the only folks there without little children.  I suggested that maybe we could borrow a couple of little ones for an hour or so, but Motor Man didn’t go for that idea.

I loved this area of the shop, Holiday Park. Can you see all the twinkling lights in the ceiling? And every 4 minutes, it snows!

On either side of the bridge, there were little snow scenes like this.

We had our picture taken on the bridge, in front of the lanterns and the Christmas trees.

But this is where we SHOULD have had our picture taken! You can be a kid at any age, right?

Slip-Sliding Away


On Saturday, my husband glanced over at the gazebo at the marina behind our house.  And being the eagle-eye that he is, he noticed this.  And he commented that it was very unusual, and how the temperature had to do this and do that for that little section of snow to be sliding off the roof, but then stop before it slid off completely.

So we jumped in the car and drove over to the marina, where I braved the icy walkway to get a closer shot of this rare occurence.

It truly was amazing.

I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it.  I even stepped under the ceiling of the gazebo and took a picture looking out. It was a snow curtain!

But here’s where things get even more interesting. In our haste to get over to the marina as quickly as possible, I had only taken my long lens to the camera. So we decided to drive back home (it’s about a 5 minute round trip) to get the other lens. As we were leaving the marina, a man and his dog were walking out toward the gazebo.

When I got home, I looked at the gazebo, and the snow curtain was gone from the roof! I don’t know if it slipped and slid its way off on its own.  Or maybe the vibration of the man walking made it fall.  Maybe he just couldn’t resist knocking it down….

But here’s where I fail as a blogger: I didn’t get a picture of the gazebo with the snow curtain gone.

Please forgive me. I’m not accustomed to such a strange phenomenon.

Never More Beautiful


If you’re one of my millions hundreds couple of dozen regular readers, you know how special Bacon’s Castle is to me. If you’re new to my blog, this link will give you a little info.

I’ve taken many pictures of that old house – and until this week, I thought the prettiest ones were those I had taken in the fall when the leaves were changing colors.

But Monday, we had a surprise snowstorm, and Motor Man drove me around the countryside to take pictures. He’s such a good husband.

It was snowing when we arrived at “the Castle”.

And I knew immediately that these were going to be my new favorite pictures of that wonderful old place.

I can just imagine days of old with a horse and buggy driving down the lane. And  my grandma would have come to the door and  said: “y’all get down and come in”.  My grandma used that phrase even into the 1960’s when anyone stopped by to visit her.  I guess I was a teenager before I realized that her comment referred to the days of horse and buggies or wagons when a visitor actually had to alight from something in order to come in the house.

What is it about snow that transports us back to another time? 

I’m not sure. But I do know that Bacon’s Castle was never more beautiful than it was during this recent snowfall.

…Becomes The Rose


Today’s guest photographer is my son, Marshall. (Applause).

This winter is shaping up to be a busy one for us – as far as snow is concerned. We’ve already had 2 or 3 snow episodes. 

Last week, after one of our minor snowfalls, Marshall glanced out the window and noticed this.  He grabbed his camera and braved the elements to take advantage of this photo op.

This picture reminds me of the Bette Midler song – you already know which one, don’t you? – The Rose.

Just remember in the winter,
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed, that with the sun’s love,
In the spring, becomes the rose.”
                                                                   Amanda McBroom

Lone Cedar


There’s an old cedar tree in our yard.  She stands at the water’s edge – on the “point” of our property. 

 I wonder how many sunsets she has seen?

How many nor’easters?

How many hurricanes?

How many snowstorms?

She’s been a guest at two weddings. This one in 2008.

And this one in 2009.

She’s watched countless boats pass by.

And, during a recent storm, she served as an anchor for our old wooden boat.

 Just in the last few years, she’s lost some branches here and there.  But I hope the elements will be kind to her.  I can’t imagine that point without her.