The First (Family) Noel

Though the weather outside is frightful...

We’ve had a packed house at Chez First on Goose Creek. There were nine of us–probably the most people sleeping under this old tin roof of a night since it was abandoned as an alter-native commune in the late 90s.

My mom saw her FIRST white Christmas and for the FIRST time met her great-grandson, Henry Dillon–named after her father’s side of the family, the grandfather I never met. There were a lot of reasons to think she might never get to hold Henry in her lap.

It was our FIRST time to hear our grand daughter Abby play the violin. Unfortunately, the rented instrument blew a string during its first tuning. She soldiered on, and performed a duet with our friend Randall playing a Christmas carole on the piano.

Youngest grand daughter Taryn had met but not spent any time with her cousin Henry. She asked almost hourly “Can I pet him?” In the image above, her mother is coaching her over Christmas Ham in the melodramatics of whining pitifully. The back of the hand to the head adds real pathos and angst. I think in time, Princess Taryn will become almost as good an actress as her mother.

My daughter’s family rented a (not 4WD) car in ROA, and we learned last night it made it all the way to Cullowhere. They’ll pass back through to spend Wednesday night before flying out for South Dakota on Thursday.

Ann got snow-drifted in at the hospital last night, leaving me with plenty of house work to do before she returns, in recovery from the bomb blast that was the FIRST Family Christmas of 2010. More about which, tomorrow, if I can get my blogging mojo back.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. yanno, regardless of whatever else he does in life, Henry gets his angel wings for making ME, a non-praying anti-religious nut, pray for him, repeatedly. I’m thrilled to hear he made the trip.
    Happy holidays, Fred.

  2. Thanks for sharing the dinner table family photo. Very cool to see pictured all the folks written about. A photo of Henry is in order now.
    Congratulations on surviving such a big family Christmas sufficiently to post on your blog.

  3. Congrats regarding little Henry! I would love to see a photo of him and an update as to how he is doing. Also, I am curious about how your house or property was an alter-native commune in the late 1990s. I didn’t know that there was a Goose Creek commune!