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Tis the 4-F season …family, friends, food, and fun

With Thanksgiving serving as the warm up for the remainder of the holiday season, the frenzy of parties, shopping, decorating, and cooking is now under way. The pumpkins, corn shocks and fall leaves have been replaced by strings of lights, Santa Claus, and Christmas trees. (Sorry, I refuse to call them “holiday” trees!) And the annual spectacular Winter Wonderland at Long Memorial Hall will open Monday night following the Krekeler Christmas Parade. The parade begins at 6 p.m. and the theme this year is “Let It Snow!”

Once again various organizations and businesses will be serving cookies and cocoa to those gathered to watch the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus. Camelot Nursing and Rehab Center in cooperation with PRI will set up their cocoa stand in front of city hall, as they have for the past five years. This will make about my 15th year of doling out cups of steaming hot chocolate to keep noses and fingers warm. Be sure to stop by.

Local stores are bursting with enticing gifts for everyone on your shopping list and maybe even a few goodies for yourself. No need for the long, frustrating drive to the city when we have such charming shops right here at home. And good news for the men; the shop keepers probably know the women on your list and can give you excellent suggestions as to what would put a sparkle in their eyes. And that’s something you won’t find on the internet! 

There was a great deal of “to-ing and fro-ing” over the Thanksgiving holiday. Former residents came home to gather again around the family table, while many residents traveled to distant places for the same reason. Whether you were here or there, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

And Mary (Mrs. R. A.) Crouch certainly had a wonderful time that stretched over several days, as her family came from near and far to be on hand for her 100th birthday celebration! All of her children and their families were here for Thanksgiving and a private family gathering in her honor on Friday night. Present were her sons and daughters-in-law, John and Kathryn Crouch of Farmington, and Tom and Judy Crouch of University City, Mo.; daughters Virginia Harmon of Phoenix, Ariz., and Elizabeth Zelman of Creve Coeur, her son, Michael Zelman of Portland, Org. and daughter and son-in-law, Marian and Clive of Bristol, England and their son, James. Also here were Mary’s brother James Manley and his son and daughter, Jim Manley and Susan Manley Fawcett, all of Dallas, Tex. 

On Sunday afternoon a reception was held in her honor at the United Methodist Church where a host of friends stopped by to express their best wishes. A special guest was life-long family friend Gwen Schild and her children Thomas, Ralph and Rebecca, all of Cape Girardeau. Photos and mementos of her life were displayed, including her ornate baptismal certificate. A beautiful cake made by Diana Harrington took a place of pride on the refreshment table. Mary remained her usual gracious self throughout the afternoon, and thoroughly enjoyed visiting with her many friends. Happy Birthday, Mary Crouch! It is a privilege to share this time and place with you.

Holiday visitors … Former residents Tim and Linda Dunaway of Kidder, Mo. were in town over the weekend. Tim is the son of the late Marge Dunaway and Bill Dunaway, and a graduate of Farmington High School. He is now retired after a career with the State Parole Office. 

Milton and Gloria Hartshorn of Texas and their daughter, Heather of New York, were here during the holiday to visit Milton’s mother, Mrs. Barbara Hartshorn and other family members. And Ronnie Merseal and granddaughter, Cheryl of Phoenix, Ariz., were here for a few days to help Ron’s mother, Ruth Merseal, prepare for her move to Festus, Mo., where she will reside with her daughter, Diana Williams.

Hitting the slopes … Dr. Rodney and Katie Rhodes were among those who traveled, taking advantage of the holidays for some skiing, to Breckenridge, Colo.

The clans gathered … two Farmington families, the Cleves and the Harringtons, continued their traditions of making Thanksgiving a real family time with all of the siblings, spouses, children, grandchildren, nieces and nephew coming together for this special time. Approximately 70 members of the Cleve clan made their way from all points to the home of Jim and Ruby Gifford, while about 60 of the children and families of the late Byron and Hazel Harrington assembled at the old family home on West Liberty Street. Kind of makes the Waltons look skimpy doesn’t it? 

The Thomas siblings, Murphy, Nelda Kay, Shirley Fay and Hazel Ruth, and their families held an early holiday feast on Nov. 20 at the American Legion Hall. It was a jam-packed day, as Nelda Kay, who is in failing health, with other family members visited the Doe Run Methodist Church and then services at The Bridge in Leadington; before the dinner. Before she returned to St. Louis at 3:30 p.m. for a blood transfusion, she and the other three siblings entertained everyone with stories of their childhood. A real blast from the past.

Sincere sympathy to Gregory Barenbrugge and his wife Lyn on the death of Gregory’s father, Benjamin B. “Bernie” Barenbrugge of Muncie, Ind. The elder Mr. Barenbrugge served in the U.S. Army in World War II as a Tech. Sgt. in the 20th Armored Infantry Battalion of 10th Armored Division of General Patton’s 3rd Army and was a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge. He is also survived by one daughter, Susan (Mrs. Steve) Crabtree, of  Muncie, Ind. 

Old friends meet …Making their annual pilgrimage to keep the ties of friendship strong, Ward and Wilson Overall, Larry Meyer and Gary Currington met for lunch in mid-November at Fenton, Mo. The four are all graduates of Farmington High School who still manage to get together once or twice a year.

Coming up:

Ivy & Twigs hosts a Christmas Cookie Drive on Dec. 3, 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Those who bring in a dozen Christmas cookies will receive 20 percent off their purchases. All of the cookies will be delivered to local police and firefighters as a thank you for their service. The shop is located at 3 North Henry Street.

Be sure to visit the Cookie and Candy Walk this Saturday, Dec. 4 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., at the United Methodist church. In addition to being able to buy the cookies and candy by the pound, breads, coffeecakes, pies and cakes will also be for sale, along with a variety of handcrafted items. The church is located at 425 North Street. 

The Women’s Connection will hold their monthly breakfast meeting next Tuesday, Dec. 14 at Rosener’s Restaurant. Amy Welker will provide a “singspiration” and Janie Cummer of Indianapolis, Ind. will be the featured speaker. All women are welcome to attend. 

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