After 26 hours of air travel, Eric and Carmen Jones Yarbrough arrived in Philadelphia, Mississippi on December 14th.  The couple lives in Dubai, United Arab Emirates where Carmen teaches at the Nibras International School.  They have lived in Dubai for a few years and enjoy it very much, except for missing their family and friends in the United States.

They were so excited to be spending the Christmas holidays in the United States with their extended families and many friends both in Philadelphia and Texas.  

One event that was such fun was the annual "Ugly Sweater Party" which was hosted this year by Sharon Houston and Tracie Ricks-Cleveland in Philadelphia.  All of the women wore their ugliest Christmas sweaters and had fun trying to decide which was the ugliest.  The winner was Doris Martin who felt honored to win.  The guests enjoyed delicious food and visiting.

The time passed quickly and Carmen's brother, Byron Jones, drove them to the airport to board their plane for the first part of their journey back to Dubai.  Since it was New Year's Day, Chiquita Moore Jones, David and Essence Cooley, Marquez DuPree, May Jones, Alishia Johnson, and Charmaine Miller met in Pearl and shared a last meal in the United States before the Yarbroughs flew back to Dubai.

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Congratulations to Nigel Peeler, a former Neshoba Central Rocket, who graduated from East Central Community College with an Associate Degree in physical education and health.  He has been accepted to the University of Alabama where he plans to continue his education and earn a BS in Kinesiology Physical Education.  Following this, Nigel plans to pursue a Masters Degree in School Administration.  Best wishes.

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Mississippi State University released students' grades for the fall semester recently.  Anna Fraccia earned a 4.0 in all of her classes giving her a 4.0 average for the semester.  She has worked very hard. Her proud parents are Trey and Sally Lewis Fraccia.  Her Philadelphia grandmother is Dot Lewis who is also very proud of Anna.  Congratulations on a job well done!

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On December 14 and 15, the Decatur Community Theater's Theater Kids performed "Legally Blonde, Jr., the Musical" Bob and Lynn Benson were in the audience to watch their granddaughter, Sophie Satterfield, sing and dance as the lead character in the play.  They have often visited Sophie and her mother, Sarah Benson Satterfield, in Atlanta to attend various performances by Sophie.

According to the director who worked with the group for a short time, the kids embraced and created a show to be proud of.  They brought humor with simplicity.  The entire cast loved the show and their performance showed it. It was an engaging evening for the audience.  Congratulations on another fantastic performance!

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Congratulations to us!  Romily and I celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary on December 27th with dinner at Phillip M's.  Our actual date is the 29th, but we wanted Bert and Candler to be with us.  It was a lovely evening.  Our server recognized us from other visits. We told her that we were celebrating our anniversary, and at the end of our dinner, she brought in a gateau riche dessert with a lighted candle on top.  It was such a nice surprise and a perfect ending to a happy evening

It seems strange to have been married for fifty years.  Somehow the years have slipped away.  I am so very grateful to have spent all of these years with my best friend who could always make me laugh.  Although we have had some very rough times, we always supported each other. It has been a wonderful trip. I pray that we will have more anniversaries together.

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The day after Christmas found the Glenn Walker family traveling from Macon, Georgia, to Philadelphia, Mississippi.  They were on their way to spend Christmas break with Jennifer Alford Walker's parents, Mack and Sherry Alford. The Walker children, Emily, Joseph, and Grace, could hardly wait to get to their grandparents' home.  They love to visit in the country and do all kinds of things that they enjoy so much.

They spent their time doing some painting, baking, walking, bird watching, boating, and petting the cows.  Joseph got a telescope for Christmas and it was great for bird watching. They built a fort in the woods with the help of their grandfather, Mack, who made it a sturdy structure that will last.  Playing in the woods is one of their favorite activities. Family members came to visit and everyone had a good time.   

On New Year's Eve, the Alfords had a cookout at the molasses mill.  There were good friends, great food, and fireworks.  There was some cane left from the previous molasses cooking, so on New Year's Day, the family spent most of the day outside grinding and cooking to make some molasses.  Grace got to scrape the pot again, so she enjoyed it even more.

Jennifer brought copies of her book, "Not Just a Molasses Mill," which she had signed and delivered to those who had ordered them.  It looks like a charming book, written and illustrated by Jennifer.  This is her second book.

When their visit was over, the Walkers loaded up for the drive back to Macon.  It is always hard to leave and hard for Mack and Sherry to watch them leave, but they will be back again for more adventures.