The First Baptist Church Chancel Choir, Orchestra and Drama Team presented "Gloria, Love Was Born" the weekend of Dec. 1-2 and the Spirit of Christmas descended over Philadelphia.

The story they told, so majestically, was reminiscent of the love that filled the Little Town of Bethlehem as she lay silently over 2000 years ago.

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Monday afternoon, Dec. 3, the streets of downtown Philadelphia came alive with the sounds of Christmas as the Christmas Parade wove its way among the happy throng of little children and big children who will never grow old.

Christmas has that magic!

They made a wonderful, keep-sake movie called "The Miracle on 34th Street."

Take it from me, a volunteer, a miracle took place at The Depot Monday afternoon as Kaye Rowell handled all the frantic, last minute adjustments in the parade.

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Tuesday, Dec. 4, the "Friends of Patt" Fiedler came together for the December meeting of the M&M (Mature and Moderns) Club at First Methodist Church.

Patt, who has returned to his former position as Music Director at First Methodist, Philadelphia, after a tenure of service at First Methodist in Kosciusko, invited his Kosciusko friends to attend the meeting, for which he arranged a program heralding the Christmas season.

The musical treat featured ensembles from members of First Philadelphia's chancel choir.

They included Leah Stinson, Susan Windham, Lisa Posey, Jan Cooper, Jo Fulton, (Monica Adams was absent, teaching school), Larry Mills, Kenny Hillman, Patt, and Johnny Caruthers, who filled in for Andrew Windham.

They were accompanied by pianist, Laura Bryan.

Pat Woodrick called the meeting to order and Lavelle Woodrick delivered the invocation.

Host and hostesses were Rayford and Janice Williamson and June Mitchell. Those in attendance were Glenda Green, Maudie Smith, June Hunt Stokes, Pauline Brunt, Noni Jordan, Dorothy W. Carballo, Ginger Alexander, Sissy Aldy, Elizabeth C. Edwards, Doris Sweatt, Queta and Gary Scarborough, Sally Wasson, Marjorie Lampkin, Ann Carter, Betsy Hutchison, Nadine Bain, Ann Baughman, and Lesia Boswell.

Also, Dot Petty, Betty Mooney, Renee Bennett, Margaret Barrett, Dot McNeil, Bobbie Holley, Patti Rickles, Susan Powell, Rachel Evans, Sanna Heckman, Babs Kirkland, Joanne Fiedler (Patt's mom), Sybil James, Sara Hutchison, Erma Young, Betty Prince, Jo Lynn Parker, Shelly Shumaker, Mary Louise and Marvin Blanks, Chin Shah, Fred Britton, Max and Virginia West, and Sheila Blount.

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Carol Kilpatrick wrote, "As children we always had a very slim Christmas and Thanksgiving with our parents, Shelton and Mary Sue Neese in the Hope community."

Maybe the "things" in life were slim, but the true spirit of the holidays and the love of family, were forever instilled in their hearts.

As Shelton and Mary Sue's girls, (Chessie, deceased), Carol, Charlotte and Clara, married, they always returned "home" for Thanksgiving.

With the addition of spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, it became necessary to seek a larger facility for the Thanksgiving gathering.

This year they met at the Longino Center.

The meal was fit for a king, turkey, ham, chicken dressing, chicken dumplings, vegetables, plus all kinds of salads and desserts.

As fine as it was, the "old bird" took a back perch to the main event of the day: Bingo!

"Everyone brings a prize or two. Some might have been recycled from last year prizes," Carol laughed. "Judging by the excitement and noise we create, one would think we were playing for silver or gold, instead of the hand lotions, toys, candles, gloves, scarves, purses, screw drivers or flashlights."

Enjoying this true day of family thankfulness were Herschel and Carol Kilpatrick; Robert, Tanya, Dustin and Destiny Kilpatrick; Don and Toni Stovall; Reed, Tracy and Ryan Kilpatrick; Charlotte Thompson; Kevin, Jackie, Ben and Caroline Cheatham; Murphy, Shellye, Kyle and Mallory Thompson; and Jamie, Angela, Allison, Alex and Andrew Thompson.

Also, Sherrell and Clara Moore; Chris, Andy, Trevor and Travis Clark; Cathy Jo Clark; Bobby, Crystal, Carson and Colton James; Luke, Cindy, Alyssa and Lawson Wooten; Ricky, Brandy and Cade Griffin; Dez Araye Burton and Preston Lee; and Johnny, Tiffany, Justin and Brayden Lillis.

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Chances are, no matter what the reason (and they can think up some good ones), when you see Bobby and Joyce Hardy, they are either planning a vacation or "getting over one."

They have found great truth in the words of the poem, "The last of life for which the first was made."

Their latest trip, which took them through the Smoky Mountains at the peak time of year, was to attend the "Miss Metropolitan" contest which took place at the Chattanooga Technical Institute in Chattanooga.

Their granddaughter, Madison Hardy, was selected first alternate.

"Sharing this experience with Madison, her parents, Sara and Mike Hardy, Daniel Dennis and a host of Madison's friends from Belmont, was the highlight of our trip," Joyce told me.

Their trip enroute to Chattanooga began with a stop in Scottsboro where Joyce enjoyed browsing through the lost treasures at the Unclaimed Luggage Store.

Enjoying the beauty of the leaves in and around Guntersville, they drove through the Cumberland Plateau to their next destination.

"We spent two days with Joe and Marty Posey who entertained us royally. We attended a dinner party with ten couples of their friends."

The next day they drove through the Cumberland Mountains with the leaves at their peak, stopping at a old-time cane mill where they were making syrup, plus a number of regional general stores.

The next days carried them to Boone, N.C., the specialty shops in Bowling Rock, and finally across the Smoky Mountains to Pigeon Forge.

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Mildred Risher, who has lost so many of her loved ones, still finds many reasons to be thankful on Thanksgiving Day and all through the year.

"I spent a wonderful day with my friends, Gus and Anita Soriano. My friends in Philadelphia are such a blessing to me."

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Several weeks ago in a story shared by Pat and Lavelle Woodrick, they told about elementary students lining up at the north goal post just before half time at every home football game.

I talked with Kim Mars who oversees this activity, and she explained to me how it got started.

"Three years ago, the Philadelphia Booster Club started the Junior Tornado Club in an effort to involve the elementary students.

"Each year the football team has one or two pep rallies at the elementary school.

"You would think the New Orleans Saints had arrived when the Philadelphia team gets off the buses!

"The elementary students have so much school spirit and enjoy being around the football team so much.

"We thought it would be a great idea to get them involved during home football games.

"Each home game of the football season, all Junior Tornado Club members get to go on the field at the end of half-time to greet the football players as they return to the field.

"The members line up in the end zone and the players walk thru and give them a high-five!

"In addition to a T-shirt, the name of each Junior Tornado goes into a drawing each week for a chance to be an honorary captain.

"Six names are drawn and those six get to stand on the field with the football captains, have their names announced and witness the coin toss."

Kim added, "I thought the first year was a huge success, but I have been amazed at how it has grown each year.

"The kids and football players really enjoy interacting with each other.

"If the Junior Tornado Club is any indication, I can assure you that the Tornado school spirit is alive and well at Philadelphia!"