In an un-official count, Vonnie McCown who headed the Operation Christmas Child drop-off location at First Presbyterian Church reported on Nov. 21 that 2,129 Christmas boxes had been mailed to children all over the world from generous donors in Neshoba County. To God be the glory!

Mary Laurence Vowell, the daughter of Craig and Melody Griffin Vowell, born July 20, was baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit at the morning worship service on Nov. 20 at the Philadelphia First United Methodist Church with the Rev. Fred Britton officiating.

Among family members present were Mary Laurence's maternal grandparents, Bill and Janice Griffin, and paternal grandparents, David and Brenda Vowell. Also, Ginger, Jordan and Jack Flake, the Rev. Chris and Stacey Vowell and Josh Griffin. Meredith and Anders Griffin arrived from Kansas in time to join them for lunch at Mary Laurence's home following the baptism service.

Mary Laurence, the miracle baby that she is, was dressed as an angel in a christening gown and bonnet with a story of its own. The family became friends with the owner of Sweet Dreams in Madison when Ginger returned a treasured lost ring found in the wrappings of a wedding gift to her from the shop. Janice's gift to her granddaughter was a "christening to wedding bracelet," to be worn at her baptism and tucked inside her bouquet on her wedding day. It contained this message:

"A bracelet for her Christening Day

Tied sweetly at her wrist,

Will hold a sacred memory of

The day that she was blessed.

Then lovingly preserve this little bracelet

Softly tucking it away,

To nestle in her shiny hair

On other holy days.

And when the months have turned to years -

Filled with tears and joy,

Your baby girl, then all grown up

Will find that special boy.

That "something old and something new"

That every bride must carry,

Include this flower in her bouquet

On the day that she should marry."

Stacey's gift to her niece was a little cross necklace which had belonged to another little girl dear to Stacy.

The JOY (Just Older Youth) from East Philadelphia Baptist Church attended the Phil Waldrep Autumn Celebrators Conference held in the Sevierville Events Center in Sevierville, Tenn. The four-day event, "Celebrate America," featured the Honorable George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States, David Jeremiah, prominent Bible teacher and founder of Turning Point Ministries and comedian Ken Davis. Also inspirational concert artists, Larnelle Harris and the Hoppers. Charles Billingsley, worship leader for the 24,000-member Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., spoke to the group and 200 members of the Thomas Road Church choir performed when President Bush spoke.

As shared with us by Ray Fleming, the conference was inspirational enjoyable and well planned. Our bus driver, Randy Hearn, exemplified great patience in a "wait your turn" situation involving thousands of cars and buses transporting an estimated crowd of 10,000. Imagine our amazement when we ran into Philadelphia friends, Barbara Thaggard, Suanne Adams, Rosanell Phillips and Willie Loper! They were among the New Bethel Baptist Church group,

Free time allowed us a scenic drive through the spectacular fall display of nature. In Chestnut Hill, Tenn., we visited the A. J. Bush and Company (beans) General Store founded in 1897. The huge store contains a theater for Jay and Duke, the popular "no talking" canine television personalities, a restaurant, gift shop and general store, The museum records a history of the business, including articles used in the original canning process, having come a long way from 1908 until now.

An especially meaningful side-trip for the group was a visit to Samaritan House, a food, clothing, furniture distribution ministry, as well as other ministries, including Christian nurturing and counseling. A group of East Philadelphia missionaries come here every year as volunteers to help repair houses, etc., as tangible evidence of their love for Jesus Christ. This program is called Appalachian Outreach, a ministry of the Campus Ministries Department of Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn.

Sharing this God-given opportunity from East Philadelphia Baptist Church were the Reverend Mike Smithey, Max Chisholm, Randy and Jackie Hearn, H. G. and Mary Jo Cooper, Joe and Charlotte Beeland, Richard and Linda Brewer, Mandy Hailey, Lilly Partridge, Margie Jones, Bobbie Anthony, Mazelle Skinner and Ray Fleming. They were joined in Sevierville by Fran and Jill Shelby, Charlotte's sister and niece from Chillicothe, Ohio.

The Nov. 15 B.A.L.L. (Be Active Live Longer) meeting at First Baptist Church got off to a happy start when 31 "cute, well behaved" members of the church's daycare program entertained by singing new songs they are learning for their Christmas program. President Everett Estes called the meeting to order. "Happy Birthday" was sung to Marge Davis. A welcome-back was extended to Ethel Lundy, after an absence due to a broken bone.

Dr. Dan Howard blessed the food and Joan Hight delivered a devotional. William Smith asked members who were interested in attending the Bollinger Family Theater Christmas show on December 17 to please sign up. Sidney Smith with a senior planning group from Ridgeland gave pointers on the new Health Reform Act and VA benefit changes. He was assisted by Michael Smith.

Diane Ray had her daughter, Jacey Ray, as her guest. Other guests were Pam Phillips, Tammy Thomas, Michael Smith and Sidney Smith. Members present were Rebecca Barnett, Buck Bounds, Gloria Burkes, Jane Cole, Marge Davis, Everett and Mildred Estes, Katherine Farned, Lamar Fowler, Delores Haden, Ruth Hamilton, Rena Harmon, Joan Hight, Dan Howard, Eunice Jones, Sue Lewis, Ethel Lundy, Jane Parker, William Smith, Dorothy Thomas and Ellene Turcotte.

The Supper Club of "remember when" met with Chris Fulton on Nov. 12. When Chris said, "We just met and ate," she meant it. With Sue Fulton as hostess, dinner consisted of chicken and dressing, chicken and dumplings, roast and gravy, candied potatoes, potato salad, butterbeans, corn, rolls and corn bread, grape salad, apple pie and "good cookies." Enjoying the feast and the company were Chris and Sue, Marlene Permenter, Sara Fox, Katie Kemp and Jautees and Billy Martin. The leftovers? "I had Jane and Ronald for lunch and ate on the rest of them for a week," Chris laughed and nobody laughs like Chris.

Chris and Sue's recipe for candied sweet potatoes:

Boil four average size potatoes, peel and layer in casserole dish. Bring to boil: l/2 cup sugar, l/2 cup brown sugar, l/2 cup Karo syrup, pour over potatoes. Bake at 350 until bubbly.

Remember the 2011 Christmas Parade is scheduled for next Monday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. Come to the square early and get a good spot.

A group of dressed up ladies gathered at Kay Copeland's for lunch recently all wearing decorative red hats. But wait a minute! One is wearing a purple hat. "I wear purple because I am not 60 years old yet," explained Lesia Boswell. The ladies are members of the Red Hat Club and you must reach the age of sixty to wear the coveted red hat. Those proudly wearing red hats were Kay, Dean Beckham, Juanita Breazeale, Vonnel Breazeale, Ann Luke Baughman, Helen Clark, Isabel Conn, Jan Estes, Patsy Kirkland and Georgia Nowell.

Brings to mind this writing which I think is cute, accredited to "Warning by Jenny Joseph, written out by Elizabeth Lucas," as follows:

"When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me and I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves and satin sandals and say we have no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells and run my stick along the public railings and make up for the sobriety of my youth. I shall go out in my slippers in the rain and pick flowers in other people's gardens - and learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat and eat three pounds of sausages (or chocolates) at a go or only bread and pickle for a week.

And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in a box.

But we must have clothes that keep us dry and pay our rent and not swear in the street and set a good example for the children. We will have friends to dinner and read the papers, but maybe we ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised when suddenly I am old and start to wear purple."