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Friday, December 24, 2010

25 days of video – Day 19 - Merry Merritts

Merry Christmas from Papa Ken and the Merritt family cousins in festive Germanton North Carolina! Greetings from Ken, Caroline, Ben, Kate, Kim and Jennifer.

This was our first Christmas without our dear Grandma Edith Merritt. She departed here to join the fine folks in heaven on Christmas Eve 2009. We missed several other family members this year who could not be with us at Aunt Yvonne's and Uncle Jerry's house in Germanton a few clicks from the old Merritt family home near Rural Hall. We have met as a family together ever since I can remember on Christmas eve. It is one of our most treasured traditions and things will be different from this year forward, without Edith and with our family tree spreading and growing ever outward. We were very glad to meet our newest family member Elliott Pierce Love who was born on December 6th to my sister Jennifer and her hubs Buddy Love the day before at my parent's house. We are thankful little Elliott is growing stronger each day – he obviously has the Boyles' stubbornness and the Loves' strength. We also were able to spend some great quality play time bonding (video) with Lucy Armijo, who is the happiest little Christmas elf this year. Uncle Jerry, a genuine gadget lover second only to me, showed off an awesome new LED HDTV as big as the wall itself. Color me jealous. Alex, Henry and Ed enjoy the high def Football highlights. Watching Star Wars Episode 2 was eerie – it was like watching a combination of Dr. Who and live-action theater in HD. We had great food including 3 kinds of ham (spiral, country and BBQ) and 4 types of salad, 3 bottles of different red wines. My uncle Ed jokingly observed that this was the first Christmas eve in memory that did not feature a clam dip appetizer – while I have no memory of this tradition from my childhood, I was keenly aware that there seemed to be a serious lack of another family staple – sweet or unsweet iced tea! The hot Russian tea more than made up for it. I do now recall Edith trying the dip at Ed and Karen's house as I think back a few years about Christmas Eve gatherings. My aunt Karen and Uncle Bo exchanged tales at the dinner table of their childhood growing up in Rural Hall. They talked about the indestructible family car "Betsy" the Chrysler, driving with no brakes and dating in a household under the roof of my grandfather Roger, a Baptist minister. Aunt Yvonne, the eldest sister has few memories of those days and my mother misses Edith more than she will say. My youngest cousin Kate, the artist and photog, visited from rain-drenched LA for the holiday this year and plans an epic road trip to return home this week with friends. Caroline, the crafter living in DC, created a six part art project for the Advent season at her church. The fifth part of the project for a look at "Grace" was created in tribute to our dear departed Grandmother Edith. A set of cookie tins feature photos from our holiday gatherings at the old family home on Highway 8, sheet music from classic hymns and seasonal favorites along with bottled scents from various cookie recipes. Cooking and music has been a big part of our family. Our family gatherings are centering around good food and fellowship. Aunt Yvonne has been an organist for her church for the last half of the last century. My brother Benjamin is a gifted Tenor who sang a solo of O come Emmanuel at his church this month. I featured it on my annual Eclectic Christmas Mix. Caroline's art project "Grandma's Cookie Tins" can be viewed as a slideshow on flickr as well as all 6 parts for Advent 2010 – In a perfect world. You can read more about her motivation, inspiration and creative process on her website. Making Christmas cookies was a big part of our family time getting ready for the season this year. We made a variety of cookies at home last week and also at mom's on Wednesday night. The traditions continue...

Christmas Eve 2010, Lucy bids us farewell

We were so glad to see you Elliott, Lucy, Alex, Kate, Caroline, Jennifer, Ben, Matt, Henry, Bo, Yvonne, Karen, Ed, Jerry, Mom and Dad. We missed you Avery, Jackson, Grace, Connor, Cama, Lilly, Heather, Eris, Erik, Jason, Ashley, Pat, Robert, Cindy, Scott, Paula and Dick. We remember you Edith, Roger and Andrew. My wife, our children and I also had the chance to visit her family for Christmas eve night after a short drive 45 minutes north to Eden. We enjoyed the great treat to sit a short spell with my wife's infirm grandmother Lillie Roberts, who shares the same birth year as Edith. Christmas is a special time for our grandmothers. It was a time they devoted to their children and grandchildren and marvel at the work of our maker. Now we marvel at their full lives, their legacy and love. Merry Christmas to all, near or far, and here's to a great 2010 with family old and new.

Edith & the cousins 1979
Christmas Eve 1979, Grandchildren and Edith

I have posted photos and memories of our family time and good food on Whrrl and Flickr for you all to share and remember our time together.

The Merritts on Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve 2010, 3 Daughters and Son of Edith

Check in for my next video tomorrow!

The 25 days of video is a series of short videos from my unpublished collection of footage from 2010. I will reveal a new video each day in December 2010 – a random time capsule unearthed to share the year's happenings.

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