Monday, December 20, 2010

Live Nativity at Trinity

At Trinity Church in Georgia's Rome, a live Nativity Scene has been a Christmas tradition since 1957 when Mary Craven, a Children's Sunday School Teacher, suggested the project to make Christmas a more Christian event for children. Paul Carven, a Trinity member and Rome contractor built the first set.

After two successful years, in 1959 Mr. Craven added 4’ by 20’ wings to the set.When Paul and Mary Craven retired, Frank Craven and Allen Storey took the responsibility for building the set and Eulaine Camp directed the production. The Live Nativity has continued as a church wide cooperative project with more people than we can name.

For Christmas 2011 Karen Candler Tucker will be directing. Last year and for 10 Years, Judy and Lamar Allen directed the event each Christmas. Frank Craven and family build the set each year!

The live nativity scene is presented each December for the five nights preceeding Christmas Day. Each scene is continuous and 13 people are in the scene at any one time. All characters are live with the exception of the babe and the camel. However, Trinity was blessed with a live camel for the 2000 and 2001 event. New angel wings were added in 1999 and 2000 while Eulaine Camp was Director.

Inside activity includes helping to arrange turbans and halos on heads; heating bricks upon which cold wise men and shepherds stand; and making hot chocolate or coffee for tired workers.Kathy, deaf from birth, was a child when my family moved to Trinity in 1962. Kathy loved to play the angel. And she was, in spite of the clever way she had of seeming not to see her parents when they were about to “sign” a reprimand to her.

As I wrote the poem below, I could envision the face of Kathy and the other young people in Trinity church, those in our household and the community who loved to stand in the Nativity Scene and the adults who participate with great enthusiasm in this annual event each Christmas, December 20 through Christmas Eve on December 24.


Our Nativity scene is live
In living color too!
With teen-aged Mary dressed
Of course, in blue!

She sits beside the manger
Carol, Beth or Anne,

With Joseph standing by

There's Terry, Bill or Dan.

The shepherds stand alert

A turban on each head.

There’s John and Sam or

Allen, Cleve and Fred.

The wise men are bedecked

In jeweled crowns alike -

That hide - the tousled hair

Of Robert, Karl and Mike.

The angels, Kathy, Fran,

Deborah... truly dear
But they can only qualify
As angels - once a year!

I watch the twisted halos
And am amazed to feel
In spite of pomp and pageantry

They somehow make Him real!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Happy Birthday to my Precious Daughter, Beth!

I am the mother of seven. Each one has a very special place in my heart. There are all kinds of stories to tell, as all of you who are parents know.
Beth is our baby girl. I know what it is like to be the baby in a family. People like to imply or say outright that the baby girl or boy in a family is a "spoiled brat." It was said about our youngest, our son David, and it was said about Beth, our youngest daughter. When I was a child it was said about me as the youngest of 11. Not true!

Each one of our children also had a special place in their Daddy's heart and life. Beth's Daddy was a pastor and was told on the day of her birth he had plenty of time to go to church and get back to me at the hospitaHowever, Beth got in a hurry to make her appearance and came into the world at 12 noon on a Sunday, December 19, just as her father was pronouncing the benediction and hurrying out the church door to go back the few miles to the hospital. Her Daddy's first words to me after visitng the nursery to see his fifth daughter was, "She is easily the most beautiful baby in the nursery, and I heard a man say, 'Look at that baby! One can tell she is a girl - look at those beautiful lips.'" Beth was and is feminine - all woman

Beth and her younger brother, David were members of the UMC Youth choir where she was a soloist with David at the keyboard. Her high school Choral Director predicted she would "go places" with her "big beautiful" voice for such a small girl. She's only a little over 5 feet tall.
Pictured below is Beth with her son Josh and daughter Amanda when they were small. The other picture is of Beth and her bother David in a concert at the Joyful Noise Supper Club.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

I Remember Pearl Harbor

I remember the early Sunday morning on December 7, 1941 when President Franklin Roosevelt came on the radio to announce that the Japanese had attacked a base in Hawaii called Pearl harbor! There are really no words to describe the feelings of surviving veterans, spouses and widows of World War II.

In the photo of the Marine Corps Platoon on the right, my husband Charles Columbus Shaw is on the first row, second from the end going left.)

They tell me that over a thousand WWII veterans are dying daily now. Those living are in their late eighties or nineties but to me they are still young men like my grandson, Josh, who is a a Captain in the Army , serving in Fort Benning now after a year in Germany and over a year in Iraq.

My generation of WWII soldiers are still, to me, those idealistic, brave, vital, young soldiers who willingly went off to war believing that they were helping to assure the safety and freedom of their families. They were willing to serve in spite of great personal sacrifice. They were certainly a part of one of the greatest generations in our country’s history.

Three of my school friends were killed in WWII, James Homer Cook, An Army Airplane Pilot, killed in the South Pacific March 17, 1944; Quentin "Red " Cole, killed in Italy , March 9, 1944; Carroll Adams, killed in France , July 27, 1944 and the brother of a school classmate , a few years older than I, J.W. Rye was killed in Africa January 21, 1943. God bless their memory.

Two of my brothers were soldiers in World War Two. Tom, served in the infantry in Europe and survived the D. Day battle that took the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. My brother, Jack, was in the Army Air Force and served in the South Pacific. These who survived the rigors of war to come back home we also remember as we celebrate and honor our brave soldiers who gave " the last full measure of their devotion."

When President Roosevelt came on the radio early Sunday morning December 7, 1941 and announced that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor, life in the towns and cities of America was forever changed. I vividly remember the terror and anxiety I felt as I listened to President Franklin Roosevelt tell of the Japanese attack. We’d never before been in war in my 18 year lifetime.

No one knew what might be next, so days were filled with fear and uncertainty. We were afraid that our mainland would be bombed next.

In the days, weeks, and months that followed, the entire population rallied around the president and our national leadership. Patriotism was strong. Citizens supported whatever the president felt should be done. The immediate response of our nation to the bombing of Pearl Harbor was somewhat like the national response to the events of September 11, 2001, when everyone pulled together and supported one another. But this kind of patriotism lasted though out the long World War II.

We were all uncertain what would happen next and wondered how our individual lives were going to be impacted. Winning the war seemed to be the only focus of the entire population.
Soon the military draft was begun. Able-bodied young men were eager to sign up. It was the right and patriotic thing to do. They felt a desire, a need, and an obligation to protect their families and their country from threat and to insure our way of life. Charles was in line early – the morning they opened the draft. Because of this he got a low draft number. However, before his number came up and he could be drafted, he, like many others, opted to volunteer instead so that he could choose his branch of service. Women were never drafted, but many volunteered to serve in the WACS and WAVES.

In 1943 Charles and three other young men from our hometown, Grover Foster, Roy Connell and Charlie Miller, were sent to Cherry Point, NC. Later they were stationed in San Diego. Charlie Miller was wounded in the battle of Iwo Jima and was never well again. These four young fathers joined countless others giving years of their lives for the good of their country.
When we learned that Charles was to be shipped to the South Pacific without a furlough, I went out to be with him in San Diego. On the way there (a four day train ride), I came down with scarlet fever. The next day after I arrived at the Marine base, I was quarantined for 21 days. The Marines gave Charles a furlough after all so he could come home with me before he was sent overseas.
His first assignment was in the South Pacific. He served in the Makin, Caroline and Solomon Islands.

He was a Marine, and as it is with the Marines, he remained a Marine the rest of his life. He was enormously proud of his service to the country and at the same time humble about his contributions. As men do, he rarely if ever talked about it in any detail.

Back at home, food and gasoline were in short supply because the nation’s resources were going toward the war effort. The government issued ration books to citizens who then had to use the coupons to get supplies such as sugar and gasoline.

Some textile plants switched over to making strong canvas for tents instead of fabrics for civilian clothing, and some of the mills made cord which was used to reinforce tires for military vehicles. Almost all the nations factories switched from making goods for regular civilian use to making needed military supplies.

The focus of daily life was to keep abreast of what was happening “overseas.” I remember reading the newspapers from cover to cover every day to find out what was happening and discussing the events with other adults with whom I came into contact in the course of the day. All ears were tuned to the radio anytime a report or a speech came on. There were great, inspiring, and encouraging speeches by Roosevelt and Churchill.

Every night I sat down and wrote a letter to my Marine. Every morning I dressed my two little girls and walked to the Post Office to mail that letter and see if we had a letter from “Daddy.” We wrote as often as he could. He was a great letter writer.

Citizens spent whatever “free time” they had doing whatever they could to help with the war effort. Some worked for the Red Cross. Patriotic and Christian groups frequently had rallies and services to support the troops and to encourage each other.

Children’s lives were very different with few male influences in their lives, and the constant talk of war made many of them fearful. A whole generation of children lived without the benefit of their fathers. And those fathers gave up precious early years of their children’s lives in order to preserve freedom for our country.

Finally the war was over. There were community and church celebrations throughout the country. I clearly remember the celebration service our community held. The entire community gathered at the Baptist church to thank the Lord for the end of the war. It was quite a celebration!

Charles often said in the years after the war that “Buddies” in the service are not just buddies – they are brothers. They all seemed to feel a strong sense of brotherhood and connection with each other, realizing that their very lives were in each others hands.

This is what Pearl Harbor Day , Memorial Day , Veterans Day , Independence Day and every day means to me. It means recognition of the sacrifices made – and still being made by soldiers, their families, their children, and the nation as a whole.

It means appreciation for what thousands of our fellow citizens have done for me – for all of us – for their country – not just in WWII but in other wars our country. And the conflicts continue!

Our mainland was not attacked after Pearl Harbor on 12-3-1941 during World War II until it was viciously attacked on 9-11-01 by radical Islamic terrorist with nearly three thousand lives taken.

So today in 2012 we are blessed to have men and women are willing to fight in a new kind of war with hidden enemies inside and outside the United States. So we need to also remember today's living soldiers, airmen and sailors who continue to sacrifice to protect our freedoms even in some places where they are not respected.

God grant us strength, wisdom and righteousness that our freedom may be preserved and that this great country "shall not perish from the world."