Milton Fields

Milton Fields

Dark time yielded to warm holiday

By Milton Fields
Life Columnist

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I was thinking about the good times we had during the Christmas season when we were small children. It was during the Great Depression when everybody in our neighborhood was very poor and had become adept at “making do.” But not withstanding the economic situation, it was decided that the enjoyment of the season was deeper and more lasting than today.

There were no lights on our freshly cut tree, and the decorations were handmade. Strings of painted sweet gum balls added to the tree’s brightness, and bright green wreaths hung about in the house. Gilded pine cones added a touch of color as they were placed around the tree. The house Christmastized without spending a lot of money.

Along with Christmas decorations and gifts came food. The smokehouse and pantry came forward with lots of goodies. Not only was food inside buildings, but some was stored outside in potato hills. The potato hills yielded sweet potatoes – the base for candied yams and similar tasties. What food that was not home grown was purchased at a local store, not with a credit card but a charge account.

There was a great amount of appreciation of our accomplishments. This made us feel good and has added to the memory. A lot had been done with little money.

A cynic once said that what people wanted was more. I don’t think that really applies to those who have little. They are usually thankful for what they have. Back during the Depression, we valued what we had.

Milton Fields is a raconteur and retired lawyer living in Rocky Mount.