As promised, Biddy came down with our gifts:
- All of the older males received dress shirts, bowties, and beanies; and all the older females received new dresses and bonnets.
- Brenda received several clown dolls, as, unlike some other people I've heard of, she loves clowns.
- Popeye was summoned to the pond, where he marveled over his gift: a lifesized replica of the U.S.S. Intrepid, the same one on display at the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space museum in New York City.
- Brandy received new ballroom clothes, Hambone a hunting rifle and bow-and-arrow set, and Bunky a set of musical instruments to create the one-man band he has dreamed of (drums, keyboard, and harmonica).
- Annie and Jennifer got new quilts from the Ella Mae Bowling collection in honor of the Nativity.
- Ralph got a full-scale building set of the New Jerusalem, so that its wonders can be with him - and the family - at all times.
- Harvey's gift was equipment, including shovels, picks, and a sluice box, that will help him mine for gold and jewels.
- Belinda's gift was a full-scale world map with the new countries created after Jesus' return, while Bryson got a full cowboy suit and a pony.
- Jennifer accepted perfume- and soap-making equipment for the bath, and Bobby Ray got new books to read to Belinda and Bryson.
- And me? I received a model car, representing the new car that NASCAR will use in the Sprint Cup Series. It's so new, in fact, that no one has raced with yet, and indeed it won't be used until the shootout exhibition race at Daytona in 2013. (Thanks to Photoshop, I was able to put together Jimmie Johnson's car body, the color and number from the late Dale Earnhardt, and a local "family-owned" sponsor. - D.H.)
Before that, Ralph gave the church services for all 13 of us, as well as other relatives who do not live with us in the main house. (More on who they are in the next post.) Ralph reminded us of what the birth of Jesus Christ meant in the big picture of world history - for example, the notations of B.C. and A.D. in dates mean, respectively, "before Christ" and "anno domini" ("Year of Our Lord"). And he also encouraged us to continue to seek the guidance of Jesus daily, even as we praise Him for the blessings He has given us.
When I come back, I'll tell you about a very special guest that came by later in the day. I have heard all about her, even wrote a hit song about her, but I had never met her. Until now.