December 10, 2021 - Msg 117368: Boo,you deserve the Pulitizer prize for reforming Helen Crump!! Ha ha! Can't wait for the next installment-great story!

possum under a rock

December 10, 2021 - Msg 117369: My Christmas gift to the Porch- a clean sweep and I dusted all the rocking chairs too!

possum again

December 10, 2021 - Msg 117370: Boo - I dont want to influence your writing, but I am anticipating the moment when Andy sees Ronald Bailey. Now there's gonna be a surprise!

That is if Andy makes it back to Mayberry!

Take care, everyone!
John Masters

December 10, 2021 - Msg 117371: Possum, when writing the story I took the opportunity to make Helen into the character I wish she was. Lol


December 10, 2021 - Msg 117372: Good morning, porch! Boo, you have had a hidden talent all along! I'm really enjoying your story, and I'm with you, on re-writing Helen's personality. Quite honestly, I would have voted for Miss Ellie over all the possibilities. She was the most down-to-earth, sweet and reasonable one of the bunch. Miss Peggy was sweet too, but not quite the motherly type for Opie. Mary Simpson was nice (and cute!), but seemed a bit young for Andy. No, all in all, my choice for a match would have been Miss Ellie. Sweet, kind, friendly, popular with the community, good to Opie, - yep, she would have been a good match.

Well, I spent about an hour this morning, repotting any orchids that I felt like might have a chance of surviving. So far, I've tried to save just five, out of at least fifteen plants. There are a few more, maybe another five or so, but I don't expect most of them to make it. Several more were just too dried up and damaged to have any chance at all. I used all new orchid-mix soil, as what little soil remained in the pots smelled of cat waste. One thing I can say of Bonnie and Clyde, they shared their destruction evenly. Not a plant was missed! Grrrr. They even seriously damaged a Chinese evergreen, which I have had for 25 years. It was one of the potted plants I brought home from Dale's funeral, and meant a lot to me. They had gotten in the (large) pot, trampled and broke off parts of the plant, left their waste in the soil, at least what soil they hadn't dug up and kicked out of the pot. Believe me when I say, whatever thought I might have been entertaining about possibly getting a kitten, has now been consigned to the "Do Not Do Tbis" list. Having had only barn cats in my youth, I never knew housecats could be so destructive. I realize that not all of them are, but it would apparently be my luck to get the John Dillinger of cats, so - no cats for me. "I have spoken!"

It is almost the middle of December, and the outdoor temp today is 79°, with an expected high of 82°. If my grandpa was living, we would be having fresh tomatoes from his garden on our Christmas Day dinner table. That was expected, most years. Even if we had a freeze just before Christmas, we'd still have the tomatoes, because he would have picked "a mess of tomatoes" while still green, placed them in a sunny window, and they would have ripened by Christmas, freeze or no freeze. Grandma would have refrigerated some of them to stop the ripening process, and we would have had fried green tomatoes at some point along the way. So good!! Sliced at least 1/2" thick, battered and fried in an iron skillet -- Yum!! I like to fry in peanut oil, and it doesn't hurt to add a slice or two of bacon while frying. It gives just a hint of bacon flavor to the tomatoes, which can be delicious. Think BLT! Bacon and tomato flavors are a wonderful combination. If it works on a sandwich, it will work in a skillet!

If my dad were alive today, he would be 104! He was born on Dec.10, 1917. Hard to imagine that. You can believe he would still be making us all laugh, though.

Well, gotta go get a haircut. It's just been a month, but the stuff grows an inch in that length of time. Since I wear it short, an inch can be too much. Blessings, friends! Keep looking up! --Romeena

December 10, 2021 - Msg 117373:

A "reformed" Helen Crump!
This is pure gala... mdc

December 10, 2021 - Msg 117374: lol MDC. Romeena, I like Ellie, too, but for some reason she never entered my mind when I started the story.

A Mayberry Christmas (continued..)

Back at the parsonage, Barney pulled off his hat and coat and turned to look curiously at the silver tree with the colored wheel. “Where did that come from? Outer space?!”.
“Oh, I think it’s lovely,” said Paula. “I’ve wanted a shiny aluminum Christmas tree but we couldn’t afford one this year. Thank you so much Bee and Clara!”
“Oh, let me show you something, Dear,” said Clara, ushering Paula into the cozy bedroom. “I made you a Christmas quilt. I hope you like it”.
Paula’s eyes took in the lovely quilt, the quaint and cozy surroundings with a lamp glowing on the bedside table and she couldn’t hold back the tears! “Oh, Clara, its just beautiful and it must have been so much work! Truly, no one has ever given me a more lovely gift. It means so much!”.
Clara handed Paula a tissue from the pocket of her Christmas apron and enfolded Paula in a warm hug. “My dear, you are very welcome. You must be exhausted, being so close to your time. Why don’t you let me help you with your boots and you lie down for a bit?’.
“Oh, that sounds wonderful, thank you,” sighed Paula.
“I’ll have Barney and Ron carry in your things from the car and then you can rest here under your warm Christmas quilt.”
“I don’t know how to thank you. You’ve made me feel so welcome. I was feeling very lonely being away from my family for the first time on Christmas Eve..(she hesitates for a moment)…Clara, can I confide in you?”.
“Of course, Dear,” replied Clara.
“About the time we arrived in Mayberry, I began to feel pain in my lower abdomen. I think that maybe I am going into labor and I’m afraid. What should I do?”
“We have a good doctor here in Mayberry that has delivered many healthy babies and if need be, Barney will bring him. Rest your mind. You will be just fine and Bee and I will be with you every minute. Rest while you can and I will check in on you shortly,” Clara replied calmly as she quietly exits the room and meets Bee in the hallway.
“What’s the matter, Clara?! You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” said Aunt Bee with concern.
“It’s worse than that,” said Clara, “Paula might be in labor!”
A collective, “What?!,” was heard from the living room.

Andy knocked on the door of O’Malley’s cabin. A middle-aged nurse in a white uniform with a cardigan sweater appeared in the doorway, and fairly pulled Andy through the door. “Come in…come in and shut the door, quickly! Are you all here to see Mr. O’Malley?”
“I’m Sheriff Andy Taylor. How is Mr. O’Malley tonight?”
“Today has not been a good day, but he is sitting up in his bedroom listening to the radio. Let me tell him you are here.”
“’am, if its ok, I’d like to see him first..can I speak to you for a minute?..” Andy, pulls the nurse aside and explains the current situation. “I would like to speak with him first so it isn’t such a shock”.
The nurse escorts Andy to O’Malley’s room and cracks open the door to reveal O’Malley propped up in a chair near the bed, listening to Christmas carols on the small radio on his bedside table. “Andy! What a surprise! What in the world brings you all the way out here in the middle of a snowstorm?! Is everything ok?”
“Oh, everything is just as fine as froghair! I guess you can call me Santa and say that I have a Christmas surprise for you,” said Andy. “How are you feeling? What is doc saying about your recovery?”
“Oh, you know Andy. Doctors don’t know everything. They tell me my ticker is weak so I can’t do what I used to, but I think I feel pretty good. Have a seat. You want some eggnog…light on the egg, heavy on the nog?,” O’Malley says with a wink.
“No, no, I had better not. I have to make it back down this mountain somehow tonight". (To Be Continued...)


December 10, 2021 - Msg 117375: Boo...I think Mr. Schwamp needs a girlfriend to spend Christmas with...He seems so lonely...Maybe if he stopped at the mistletoe store it might help!....

December 12, 2021 - Msg 117376:

Got some cards today! Thanks. mdc
More news later

December 12, 2021 - Msg 117377: I also got some cards today. Thank you. I need to get on the ball and get mine off. I'm not sure why but I am struggling to get into the spirit much this year.
Boo, I am really enjoying your episode. You are quite talented my dear.

For you space cadets out there. May 7th, 1961, Alan Shepard was the first American to fly into space. His Mercury capsule was mounted on to a Redstone missile. A very dependable rocket, but lacked the power to achieve orbital speed of 17,500 MPH. It did gain enough altitude for Armstrong to experience 0 G. for about 5 minutes. What we knew about flying into space in 1961 was very little, and no one knew how it might affect a living creature. Shepard blazed a trail for future space flights. Yesterday, Laura Armstrong Churchly, 74, rode an Orion rocket into space, doing a sub orbital flight that was much like the one her Father did 60 years earlier. I bet Daddy is grinning ear to ear. :)

GF, I ain't sure Mr. Schwamp wants to be tied down with just one woman. He seems to like playing the field from what I have seen. But I may be wrong. Who knows. I think we should have a contest though of giving Mr. Schwamp a first name. My choice is Horace. Horace Ledbetter Schwamp. lol

MDC, we did get some snow from that storm. Much needed for sure. Now it is colder than a witch diggers thorax. Winter is here I'd say.

On mercy sakes, my phone just went off with an amber alert for a missing 12 year old girl. The suspect is driving a white Toyota Tacoma pick up. Sitting in my garage is a white Toyota Tacoma pick up. But his name is Tommy and he would not be involved in such things. I hope thay find the missing girl quick and she is okay.


December 12, 2021 - Msg 117378: Asa...I’m with you on getting Mr Schwamp a first name..That sounds like a good one...But our authoress Boo will have the final word...Or should we call her “Juliene Alexian Dubois”, in honor of Helen’s pen name?

G-F...Goob’ar Bartholomew Fise....Translation: ..One who dances to a different drummer...

p.s. Yes Asa..I t was a good honor to Alan Shepard to name it that plus have his daughter hop a ride and get to Say .. “Let’s light this candle!” 🚀....

December 12, 2021 - Msg 117379: Thanks Asa, and G-F. I'm glad you are enjoying the story and I hope you will be by the time it ends (it seems longer than I thought it was). G-F, concerning Mr Schwamp, I wish I had though of including him but I just didnt. Maybe I will have to write a short story in his honor later. lol

Been busy this week with Christmas preparations and such. Finally finished the decorating and mailed packages and most of my Christmas cards. Now time to do a million other things. ha

A Mayberry Christmas (continued):

“I see,” said O’Malley with a twinkle in his eye. “So, what’s the big surprise Andy?”
“Well, I hope you will be happy but I don’t want it to be too much of a shock for you,” Andy hesitates…"You see, earlier today, Gomer and Goober came across a car broken down on the highway and towed in a family. A man, woman and two little girls. It seems that the man is your son, Gary.”…Andy searches O’Malley’s face. O’Malley is silent, as his mouth drops open and tears begin to form in the elderly man’s eyes.
“Gary?...Gary is here?!,” stammers O’Malley. “Oh, my...can it be true?! Where is my son?! Gary?! Gary, where are you?!” O’Malley begins to call, as he rises from his chair.
Gary cracks open the door and enters, carefully…searching his father’s face for a sign of acceptance. Much to his relief, he finds his father standing with arms open, crying…. Gary rushes to his father’s arms and both men cling to each other. “Dad, I’m so sorry. I should have come back sooner. I’m so, so sorry”.
“No, son. I’m sorry. How could I have let so much time pass and not find you? God forgive me. Can you forgive me, my son?”
“Forgive you?! You were a good father to me. If there was ever anything to forgive, I already forgave long ago. I was afraid you wouldn’t want to see me after the things I said. Dad, I told you I hated you. I said that I never wanted to see you again and I have stayed away all these years. I’m the one who needs your forgiveness!”
“Son, I’m your father. I should have come after you but my foolish pride made me refuse to see that. I’m so sorry, and I won’t ever let anything come between us again. I promise you. You have given me such a gift by coming here tonight. I missed you so.”
“Oh, Dad, can we put the past behind us and make the most of the years we have together? Its what I want most. Dad, I have a wife and two little girls…your granddaughters. Would you like to meet them?”

Gary brings his wife and little girls in to meet his father. What a joyous time as Grandfather meets his granddaughters for the first time!

Andy peeks through the nearest window and notices that the sky is getting darker. The winds have died down but the snow is falling fast…the chances of making it back down the mountain in the squad car are looking slim. He hated to disappoint his family but fears he may be spending Christmas here at the cabin.
O’Malley notices the look of concern on Andy’s face and guesses what Andy is thinking..”Andy, I don’t think you have much chance of making it back down the mountain tonight in the squad car. I have an idea, though. Ever driven a sleigh??..
“Andy, you remember my quarter horse, Clementine? She’s in the barn and I know my old sleigh is still in working order. Remember we used it last year in the town parade?”
“Well…,” Andy hesitated…”As I recall we pulled that sleigh on a tractor trailer. I can’t say as I’m ready to take her down the mountain!”
With a wave of his hand, O’Malley said confidently, “Nonsense! Old Clementine could pull that sleigh down the mountain blindfolded, and the snow is falling more softly now”. Suddenly, O’Malley had a fresh spring in his step and a twinkle in his eye as with arm raised and finger pointed upward he cried, “Let’s go!”.
Gary and Andy gave each other a glance and quickly fell in step behind O’Malley. He pulled a down coat from a hook near the door, looked at Gary and Andy and said, “Well? Aren’t you going to put on your coats and boots?”.

Back at the parsonage, Clara Edwards and Aunt Bee gathered clean linens and put water on to boil. Aunt Bee was noticeably nervous..”Clara, what are we to do? Andy is the only one of us who has delivered a baby and no telling where he is or if he can make it back tonight!”. Clara turned to face Bee and gently took her by the shoulders, “Bee, don’t you remember that my mother was a midwife? I used to go with her on calls and help her before I left home to start my own family. My mother helped me to deliver my son at home, too, so I’m not totally inexperienced in such matters. If we can't get Doc Peterson here in time, we can do this. Be brave, Bee!”.

Clara sat down on a chair close to Paula’s bed and reached for her hand. “I’m here and I will stay here. You can do this. As soon as we are able, we will get the doctor here to attend you. Worst case, I have experience in this kind of thing. It will be okay, Dear”. Paula relaxed. “Thank you Clara, I don’t know what I would do without you”.

Bee made herself busy by serving bowls of warm beef stew and cornbread to the others in the den as they sat in front of the warm fire and tried to surmise what the rest of the evening would bring. Ron Bailey was terrified but trying his best not to show it. “Bee, maybe I should set out on foot to get the doctor. The snow is falling more softly now and the winds have died down. How far is it to Dr. Peterson’s home?”. Bee shook her head, “I’m afraid that just isn’t possible. Dr. Peterson and his wife Selma live in a farmhouse outside of town. It would take hours and hours on foot in this snow.”

Andy, Gary and O’Malley traipse out to the barn through the snow, and there in the barn, is the sleigh in all it’s glory. It takes a little time but soon, Clementine is hooked to the sleigh and looking very enthusiastic. By this time, O’Malley has gathered his best down coat (which happens to be red), a warm wool cap (also red), and mittens for Andy. He brings a thick, blanket from the house and when Andy climbs into the sleigh, looking much like an Appalachian Santa in the red coat and cap, he drapes the thick blanket over Andy’s legs. Gary leads Clementine to the road. “Just trust her, Andy, and she will get you there. She knows the way. Godspeed and Merry Christmas!” (to be continued...)


December 13, 2021 - Msg 117380:

Hello all! Boo--what a great storyteller you are!
Keep up the good work. Maybe barney will talk to Ron about how he worked in the base library! haha
Well, like most here, I have been busy also, got a few last Christmas presents today.
ASA--thanks for that space report. That is pretty cool.
We are expected to get some rain Tuesday evening, so I suspect that you
will get more snow.
RO--wasnt it about this time last year that you got
that 'big chill?'
I received a couple more cards today...thank you great porchsters!

Have been praying for all the victims of the tornadoes.
Lord be with them all.
Peace to you,

December 14, 2021 - Msg 117381: Thanks, MDC. This Christmas episode is turning out to be more like a made for tv movie. lol

A Mayberry Christmas (continued):

Sure enough, Clementine starts down the mountain without hesitation, as the sleigh bells start to jingle. Andy looks back, taking in the scene…the
gently falling snow, the Christmas tree twinkling in the window of the cabin, and a father and son, lovingly reunited. What a Christmas this is turning out to be.

Back at Helen’s, Helen is getting more anxious by the minute. Being unable to reach anyone by phone was just too much! “Thelma Lou, Aunt Bee and Clara are probably still at the parsonage and it’s not far. We could walk there. Maybe they have heard something. The street lights are clearly visible and the snow is falling more gently now.”

Well,” said Thelma, “Let’s put on our snow boots and bundle up. It’s going to be cold but sounds like a Christmas adventure…kind of a whim! Remember when Barney told Andy he couldn’t change his underwear on a whim?". Helen and Thelma erupt in laughter as they pull on their coats, hats, and snow boots.
Once outside, the cold air took Thelma’s breath away, but how beautiful was the sight of colored lights on neighboring houses, glowing and reflecting off the glittering snow! The rubbing sound that the fresh snow made under her boots with every step made her smile. She was concerned for Andy, but the beauty of this most holy night drew her in and filled her heart with Christmas joy that she just couldn’t hide. She and Helen walked arm in arm down the snowy sidewalk. Suddenly Helen stopped, tilting her head….”Do you hear that?”…”What?,” whispered Thelma, eyes wide. “Do you hear what I hear?”…Thelma grinned and answered, “I love that song!”, as they looked at each other and burst into laughter. “No, seriously, I hear something that sounds like..sleigh bells…and it seems to be getting louder!”. “I hear it now,” said Thelma. They turn in the direction of the ringing, and in the distance they see a sleigh that appeared to be carrying Santa! Soon the sleigh is close enough to identify Andy as the driver. Andy pulls on the reigns and Clementine comes to a halt beside Thelma and Helen. “Oh, Andy! I was so worried! Thank God you are ok. What on earth are you doing in a sleigh?,” asked Helen. “Climb on up both of you and I will explain everything. Why aren’t you two at the house with Aunt Bee and Barney?”. They snuggle under the thick blanket and Thelma explains as they head for the parsonage. ‘Won’t the others be surprised?’, thought Thelma, and what a perfect night for a sleigh ride!

As the sleigh pulls in front of the parsonage, a deputy can be seen with his nose pressed against the quickly fogging window pane. Andy sees Barney mouth the words, “What in tarnation?”. The door flies open as Andy is helping Thelma Lou and Helen from the sleigh. Out into the cold pour Barney and Aunt Bee…”Andy! Where have you been..and why are you in a sleigh?!,” stammered Barney.
“I’ll explain everything but let’s get out of the cold first”. They all pile through the door, covered in snow and head for the warmth of the fireplace. Andy looks up and sees the new, very concerned-looking young pastor and does a double take. “Ron Bailey?! Is that you?! I don’t believe it. You are the new pastor?!”. Before Ron can answer, Clara enters the room, “There is no time for explanations now. We need the doctor! Paula is getting close to her time. What can we do?”.
Aunt Bee excitedly tells Andy, “You see Andy, Ron’s wife Paula is in labor and we have no way to contact Dr. Peterson. The phone lines are down from the storm and it’s too far to go on foot. He would never make it back here in time”.
“Well, we have the sleigh! I can ride out to his farm and bring him back here. It wont take long for Clementine to get us there and back.” Ron Bailey heaves a sigh of relief and says, “The Lord works in mysterious ways!”, as Andy rushes back out to the sleigh, and he and Clementine head north to the Peterson farm.

The night is crisp and cold, and all Andy can hear is the swish of the sleigh and the tinkling of bells. As he breaks free from the road lined with tall pines, there before him is a picture more beautiful than any Christmas card he has ever seen. The full moon is shining brightly on the sparkling blanket of snow that covers the rolling valley. In the distance is the Peterson farmhouse, smoke drifting peacefully upward from the old stone chimney. Colored lights wrap the pillars of the front porch. A shining Christmas tree can be seen in the large front window. Andy would love to stop and just take it all in but there were more pressing matters to attend to. He sang a verse of Silent Night to Clementine as he neared the warm, welcoming farmhouse.

Thankfully Dr. Peterson was home for Christmas. “Come in Andy, and I will grab the things I will need. Selma is in the kitchen”. Andy entered the cozy, warm kitchen to find Selma basting a turkey..oh, the wonderful aroma! Andy hadn’t eaten since lunch and his stomach gave a rumble. “I wish you could stay for dinner, Andy. We have so much.”..Selma reached for a decorative cookie tin and popped off the lid, “Have one before you go, Andy,”. The tin was full of beautifully decorated cut out sugar cookies…bells, trees, santas and stars. Andy graciously accepted an iced Christmas tree. “Thank you! Mmmm good!”. Selma replaced the lid and handed the tin to Andy, “Please give these to the new pastor and his wife,”. I am praying she and the baby are safe and healthy. “I certainly will, Selma. I’m sure they will appreciate your kindness”. Dr. Peterson appears in the doorway, bundled in coat, hat, gloves and snow boots and carrying a large black bag. “I’m ready Andy. Hopefully I will be back tonight, Selma. Merry Christmas, Dear”.
Soon Andy and Dr. Peterson are crossing the valley in the sleigh, with Clementine leading the way. What a wonderful horse she is and Andy would soon put her in the garage with some water and a nice serving of her favorite oats that O’Malley had sent along in the sleigh. Clementine throws back her head with a loud “neigh,” causing large puffs of smoke from her nostrils. It was as though she could read Andy’s mind. (to be continued...)


December 14, 2021 - Msg 117382: Hello porch sitters , just wanted to drop in and wish everyone a Merry Christmas .I know Im a little early but my life is very busy and I dont get to stop in very often , but I miss the porch banter .
Mayberry Deputy

December 14, 2021 - Msg 117383: Excellent job, Boo! Your writing a constantly moving Christmas card.

John Masters

December 14, 2021 - Msg 117384: You're ^^^


December 14, 2021 - Msg 117385: An online auction of household items from the Estate of Betty Lynn starts Dec. 17 and continues through Noon on Dec. 30. Here's a link to TAGSRWC's Mayberry Event Calendar, which has a link to full info about the auction:

In case anyone is interested....G-F

December 15, 2021 - Msg 117386:

BOO--Excellent, thus far. This is really cool!
Your writing is so descriptive, I can see each scene
in my mind's eye. :)

Hey to MD--good to see you, Thanks for the well-wishes. I hope you can stop by more often.
ASA- I watched two Christmas Carols tonight on the "Movies" channel. The second was An American Christmas Carol with Henry Winkler. I like that one. BTW, I think I know why it is hard to get in the mood this year, but that's for another day. :)
GF--that will be quite an auction, enough to fill the courthouse!

I did manage to watch one tags tonight, and it was brisco asking for Aunt Bee.
I guess I always missed Aunt Bee's line about brisco's bicep! She says, "That is a muscular sight to behold." ha
And I always like brisco's final line with Bee, "Your
kisses just aint worth the pain." :)

Prayers for all,

December 15, 2021 - Msg 117387: Good afternoon, porch! Here it is 2:15, I've been busy as a one-armed paper hanger all day, and can't tell that I've accomplished a cotton-pickin' thing! I hate when that happens! Haven't even had the TV on today, not even just in the background. That's unusual for me. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day. (Sorry, Scarlet!)

Boo, I'm really enjoying your story. You should write more! I love to write, and really enjoy reading other folks' ventures into that world. Do you find that you can just be typing along, not a lot of thought in it, knowing you can just delete if it's not going well, and then suddenly you find yourself typing something even you hadn't expected, and you feel pretty confident that it might be something good? That happens now and then, and when it does, I just keep my fingers on the keys, and let them go where they will. It often seems to be the best writing of all, when I know I'm not the one in control. I love your use of descriptive phrases - your imagination shows through, and you "paint a picture" on that keyboard. Keep it up, you're bringing the scenes to life for us!

I've been wracking my brain for ideas for my kids and grown-up grandkids for ideas for Christmas gifts. I've finally decided to do what I did last year, as they all seemed to like the idea and appreciated it. I asked each one (just casually) for the name of their favorite animal shelter, and got a quick response from everyone. Some of them figured out what I was doing, some didn't. Anyway, I sent a contribution to each shelter, honoring their pets by name, and asking that an acknowledgement be sent to the recipient(s). I had thought about sending each one a gift from some good bakery, like the Collin Street Bakery which is widely known in Texas, and makes wonderful fruit cakes, but reconsidered. They will all have full pantries anyway, but those shelters need help! So, have been working on that this afternoon. I saved the info from last year - names and addresses of preferred shelters, names of pets to be honored, etc. Sure did help, but is time-consuming.

I've been rummaging in the pile of battered, bruised, uprooted, chewed on and otherwise mutilated orchid plants that I had put outside the sunroom while Derrold was cleaning and disinfecting it. I thought they were mostly goners anyway, but I'm finding that orchids are a bit hardier than I thought. I've repotted about eight of them now, have a few more to decide on and maybe rescue. One has even sprouted a tiny bloom stalk while sitting outside on the ground! There should be about four of them blooming for Christmas. So, all is not lost with the orchids. Some will survive. However, Bonnie and Clyde will never place a paw inside my house again. Take that to the bank!

I think my favorite line from that TAGS ep where Briscoe is trying to court Aunt Bee, is (approximately) "I can take a bossy mouth, but I ain't about to be beat to death by no spoon!" The way he delivers that line just cracks me up!

Well, back to business. Maybe I can resurrect one more orchid before it starts getting too cold out there. Blessings, friends! Keep looking up! --Romeena

December 15, 2021 - Msg 117388: Thank you all so much for your feedback and I am glad you are enjoying the story.

Ro, to answer your question, I have really never attempted to write anything other than the themes I was forced to write way back in school. With this Mayberry story, the way it happened was that I decided a few years ago that as a gift to my porch family, I would try to write them a Mayberry christmas story. I started thinking about what I would want that story to be and I imagined each scene, dialogue, setting, etc., then I jotted down notes. It didnt all happen at once. I would jot down notes, forget about it and take it back up months later. When I was ready to actually begin to type up the story, I used the notes and as I typed, the descriptions kind of came naturally as I was simply trying to tell the story. It is like I feel the feelings and want you all to feel them, too. Make sense? I am certainly an amateur in every sense of the word, but it is a just a little gift of love that I wanted to give my friends. For one thing, you all are the only ones who would understand why someone would want to write a Mayberry Christmas story, so this story belongs to you.

Ro, I think the idea of donating to charities as gifts is wonderful. I know I would love it. There are so many needs right now and the poor animals are suffering. Thanks for the reminder, I am going to take some beds and food to our local pound. Everything is no kill now so those poor animals are crowded and caged and it just breaks my heart.

Been busy but not as busy as most years, so am trying to enjoy the holidays.

Where's Asa? He must be busy, too, cause I have been missing him on the porch.


December 15, 2021 - Msg 117389: A Mayberry Christmas (continued):

Back at the parsonage, Clara is at Paula’s bedside, encouraging her with every birth pain. “You’ll be just fine, Dear. Soon Andy will be here with Dr. Peterson. Seems to me that you are doing very well and that things are going just as they should.”. “Thank you, Clara. I’m not really afraid, mostly just excited to see the baby.”…suddenly, Clara and Paula hear the faint tingle of sleigh bells and breathe a sigh of relief. Clara winks at Paula and says with glee, “I think Santa has just arrived!”.

Dr. Peterson enters the warm house and is ushered directly to Paula’s room as quick “Hellos” are exchanged on the way.

Outside, Andy releases Clementine from the sleigh and leads her to the garage. He immediately offers her water and a bucket of oats and then covers her with the blanket from the sleigh, “Good job, Old Girl. You earned some oats for sure. I guess you could say you really saved Christmas. Tomorrow I'll bring you a nice apple”. Andy gives Clementine a pat and closes the garage doors for the night.

Inside the warm parsonage, Andy removes his coat and boots and finds a warm place near the glowing fire. He scans the room to see a very anxious Ron Bailey, his furrowed brow shadowing his glazed eyes. ‘Poor Ron,’ thinks Andy as he stifles a smile. Andy remembers well how terrified he had been when Opie was being born. It was a very helpless feeling, but the joy he felt when he was handed that warm little red-haired bundle! He knew Ron would be alright very soon. Andy’s mind soon went to that terrible day soon after Opie’s birth, when he lost his beloved Hope. He wouldn’t dwell there. This was a night for joy and thanksgiving....Suddenly a baby’s cry is heard from the bedroom and Ron springs from his place on the sofa. “Hang on there!,” said Andy, “They will be here to get you soon”. Ron paces as everyone rejoices in the new life. Bee brings in a tray of eggnog to celebrate.

Soon, Dr. Peterson steps from the hallway with a baby wrapped in a soft blanket. He turns to Ron and says, “Congratulations, Papa. You have a beautiful, healthy baby girl”. Ron carefully and awkwardly takes the baby in his arms, as the others gather round. Barney smiles, and whispers to Andy, “Aren’t you glad you didn’t have to deliver this little grasshopper?”.

Dr. Peterson tells Ron to take the baby to her mother now that all have seen her, so Ron carries the sweet bundle to her mother.

After a while, Clara and Bee collapse on the sofa, their faces glowing red..then yellow..then blue from the color wheel pointing at the aluminum tree. “What a Christmas Eve this has been,” says Bee with a large sigh. “Hasn’t it been wonderful, Bee?!”. Clara has a look of joy on her face. “I think I will stay here tonight and take care of Paula and the baby. I know she is exhausted and needs her rest. I can rest here on the couch and listen for baby”. “I think that is a wonderful idea, and I will come over in the morning and make a nice breakfast for everyone. Dr. Peterson will need a place to stay until the roads are clear, as well. I will put him in the guest room at home until Andy can take him back to the farmhouse in the morning. He can get some sleep”.

Ron Bailey peeks out of the bedroom door and tells Clara that Paula is thirsty and could someone please bring her a glass of water? Opie jumps up and quickly offers to take the water to Paula so Clara and Bee can rest. He goes to the kitchen and fills a glass with cool water and carries it carefully to Paula’s room and knocks softly on the door. “Come in,” says Ron. Opie gingerly enters the room, carefully carrying the water. Paula smiles, “Well hello. I don’t think we have been properly introduced. I’m Mrs. Bailey (whispering) but you can call me Paula”. Opie hands her the water, “Hi, my name is Opie Taylor.”. “Oh, you must be Sheriff Taylor’s boy.”. Ron, stands and offers Opie the chair by the bed, “Have a seat Opie, I’m going to go to the living room for a bit”. Opie sits in the chair near Paula and peers at the little bundle she is holding. “Opie, do you have any brothers or sisters?” asks Paula. “No ma’am. My Ma had me and she died when I was a baby.”. “Oh Opie, I am very sorry. Your father never remarried?”. “No Ma’am.”.
“Well Opie, I lost my mother when I was little girl, so I know it can be hard. I do have an older sister, though. I think it’s important for children to have brothers and sisters”. Opie nodded, “I wish I did. I have a good friend, though, named Johnny Paul Jason.”.
“Opie, what do you think of the baby?”.
“She’s real cute. What’s her name?”.
“Well, I have some names in mind but have just never been able to decide on one.”. They sit in silence for a few minutes just looking at the little bundle. “Opie, I want to ask you something. You are free to say no, of course, and that’s ok. The baby is going to be completely new to Mayberry and will have no other family or cousins here. She is going to need someone to look after her. Would you be her God Brother?”. Opie looks at her with eyes wide, “Sure, but what is a God Brother?”.
Paula smiles at Opie, thinking about what a sweet child he is, “Well, a God Brother is something like a real brother. You would help watch after her, be a friend to her, help raise her to know that God loves her. What do you think?”.
“That’d be swell!” said Opie with a large grin. “That settles it, then. You are officially her God Brother. Now, you will need to be present and stand up with her when she is christened in church. Can you do that?”. “Sure!” said Opie, “I’ll even wear my blue suit”.
“Opie, thank you. It means so much that you are willing. One more thing; Opie, what was your mother’s name?”
“Her name was Hope. She had red hair like me. I know sometimes Pa misses her and I kind of wish she hadn’t had me and she would still be here with Pa”. Paula takes Opie’s face in her hand and looks into his eyes, “Opie, I am going to tell you something that I hope you are old enough to understand. Your mother gave her life for you. That is the greatest love there is and you being here is the way she would want it. There is nothing stronger than a mother’s love for her child, except God’s own love for his children. Remember, that is what Christmas is really all about, Opie. Jesus chose to lay down his life for us so we could live. Never forget that your mother loved you with the most holy, God kind of love, and she wants you here. It is her gift to you.” Paula gazed down at the infant in her arms, “Opie, I think Hope is a lovely name. Would it be okay with you if we named the baby Hope, after your mother?”
“Gee, I think that would be swell. I know my Ma would like that if she were here.”

Ron Bailey enters the room and Opie rises from his chair. “I’ll be going now and let you rest. Thank you for what you said to me about Ma and how much she loved me.”
“Thank you, Opie, and Merry Christmas,” Paula smiles. “Merry Christmas, Paula”. (to be continued..)


December 15, 2021 - Msg 117390:

Well, doggone it Boo, my laptop screen is all blurry,
and my keyboard has drops on it! Beautiful scene with Opie
and Paula! This is great!

Ro, you mentioned in your post about not accomplishing anything
today, BUT you DID, you worked on that neat gift idea for your
kids! :)

Cecile and I attended a Christmas concert at our church tonight.
It was really good, a combined Adult choir and children's chior

Last night on Perry Mason, there was Fred Boone! I was almost expecting
a "Mornin' honey" whilst he was on the witness stand! haha


December 16, 2021 - Msg 117391: Ok...who's cutting onions? 'Cause...I'm not crying. You're crying!


John Masters

December 16, 2021 - Msg 117392: Good afternoon, porch! Boo, I just read the last entry in your story and am fascinated! It seems to be coming to you so easily, and in my opinion, fiction is one of the most difficult things to write. I've never had much success with my attempts. Most of the stories I write are taken directly from true experiences in my childhood. In fact, if I ever get serious and try to pull all those stories together in a book, I'll probably call it "Diary of a Free-Range Kid", because that's exactly what it would be. I'll admit that some of the stories are not direct personal memories, because they happened when I was too young to remember them exactly, but I've heard them told in the family enough that I feel like I remember the events. For some of them, I have little "snapshot" memories, like little pictures in my mind, and I combine that with what I've been told, and it becomes a vivid memory to me. Other things that I've written came to me from out of the blue, like a tribute poem I wrote when my beloved pastor's wife passed very unexpectedly. I couldn't sleep that night, just tossed and turned, until finally Dale said "just turn on the light and write whatever it is that's wound you up, and then we can sleep." He knew I had a pad and pen in my night table drawer, and I used it to write a poem about Tina. It took about 15 minutes, and then I went to sleep. I typed it up the next day and enclosed it in a sympathy card to the family, and a few days later the church secretary called to ask my permission to print it in the church bulletin. I had that bulletin for a long time, but have lost it at some point. Since it was over 30 years ago, it's doubtful I'll ever find a copy, but I wish I could. All I can remember are just two lines, disconnected and meaningless alone, but they are "'All is well, God is good', were her last words to me" and "There's one more to welcome us - Tina is there." That's it.

Most of my "reminisce" stories arrive in much the same way. I'll be almost asleep, and suddenly a memory pops into my mind, and I know there's a story in it, so I get up and come to the keyboard, and in a half hour or so, the story is complete. I may edit it a bit later on, but the bones are there. I've tried to just write a fictional story, like you are doing, and I find it very difficult. It sounds stiff and stilted, and not like me at all. You don't seem to be having that problem. I wish I could do that! Boo, hang in there. When you finish this one, try your hand at other forms of writing, but don't quit on what you're doing now. You will never be bored, if you find your voice in writing. There are so many ways to express yourself. When I went on those two trips to Mongolia, I carried a little notepad and wrote my shorthand notes regarding the trip, step by step. At night, while the events of each day were still fresh in my mind, I'd fill in a little more detail, but not much. I took oodles of pictures, and when I got home, I started writing the daily installments of the trip, filling in the notes and using pictures to boost my memory. I sent them out in installments, each day's activities, in emails to family and close friends. Soon people were calling or emailing, asking to be put on the list. When it was all over, I was sending the things to over 100 people! I had no idea people who didn't even know me would be interested, but it seems they were! My hope is that it sparked an interest in Christian outreach or mission service in someone's heart. I still have those emails on my computer, and occasionally I read back through them. It keeps the memories fresh, and I enjoy reliving some of the experiences. Writing is fun, interesting, and even helpful at times. Recording an event gives me the opportunity sometimes to reach a better understanding of the importance or power of a given event. Hang in there, my friend. You'll be glad you did.

Well, I've got a dinner to attend at church this evening, and my hair is still wet from the shower. Maybe I'd better start trying to remedy that! Blessings to all - keep looking up! --Romeena

December 16, 2021 - Msg 117393: Good afternoon my Porch pals.

My goodness Boo, I am speechless. Not only with your story, but also your gift. You gave me the allergics girl. I tried sending you an e-mail but it bounced right back to me. I guess it's an old one. If you have my e-mail address I'd appreciate if tou would send me one so I can respond more privately. You are so sweet. And your Mayberry story is top notch. Thank you so much for your kindness.

MDC, Glad you had a nice concert event. I am getting all your cards and they are a real blessing to me. Thank you all. I got mine sent off yesterday.

Well we got a good 8 inches of wet heavy snow. A real pain to clear, but just what we need for our water situation. My poor old pine tree's are sure pretty, but struggling with all that wet snow. I took a picture of one and if I can figure out how to post it I will. I hope I don't lose any limbs from it. The good news in the mountains got a couple of feet of wet heavy snow. Not ideal for skiing, but great for the watershed.

Romeena, I don't know about your fiction writing but I sure loved your book you wrote. Spoken from the heart. I bet you could write great fiction. Just use one of your real life expereinces and then put a little extra sugar on it as Andy would say.

Well I reckon I'll go fix some supper. It sure is nice with the cold weather now, I can cook up hot meals and soups and really enjoy them.

Prayers for all for a great night.


December 16, 2021 - Msg 117394: 8” of ❄️ Asa?...Shazzam!..But like you say you need the water...
Hopefully “Helen” didn’t get cantankerous with you, ya know she can get that way when she doesn’t get her way!

I got a Christmas 🎄 card from PaPa Bear today, he seems kinda down, the Holidays are hard for a lot of Folks..


December 16, 2021 - Msg 117395: Well, there you are Asa. You are very welcome and I am glad you are enjoying the story. Our internet carrier with which we had email, went out of business so my email has changed. I have to way to access my old account so no longer have your email address. I can't even email Romeena now but I think maybe I emailed her my new address before the site went down. Do you have my new address, Ro? I guess it would be ok to go ahead and share it. I will just put in spaces in between and if you smoosh it all together, it's my address. lol The new one is: jguenter 1962 @ g mail . com

Romeena, thank you so much for your encouragement and advice! I remember well your "Mongolian Diary"! I loved every minute of it and I would absolutely love reading your stories. In the words of Bloody Mary, "Get to it!". <3 I actually have been thinking about writing the past year and have something in mind. It is fiction, but with facts thrown in..kind of historical fiction. I will put some effort into it this coming year.

Thank you MDC and John Masters. So glad the story is touching your heart.

St. Susan is on her way over to go over some things in preparation for our colorado trip so have to scoot.


PS-Asa, it has been in the eighties here all week. You would love it.

December 16, 2021 - Msg 117396: A Mayberry Christmas (conclusion)

Opie finds Andy near the fire, sipping eggnog. “Pa, guess what?! They are going to call the baby Hope, after Ma, and Miss Paula asked me if I would be the baby’s God Brother and help watch over her!”.
“She did? Well, that’s wonderful, Opie. You will be a fine God Brother,” Andy draws Opie in for a hug. “You’re really something, you know that? Merry Christmas, Son.”.

Andy pulls himself off of the sofa near the fire and realizes just how tired he is. It’s after midnight now. “Well, I guess it’s time we all got home for the night. I will make sure everyone gets home. It’s cold out there but a nice night for a walk under the stars. Dr. Peterson, come home with us and get some sleep. The snow plow should be out early and I will drive you home as soon as we can get you there.” Andy notices Barney sound asleep in a chair and Thelma Lou is trying in vain to wake him. “Just snap your fingers, " said Andy. Sure enough, one snap was all it took.

As everyone struggles to put on coats and boots and face the cold, Ron Bailey is shaking hands and giving out copious words of thanks. What a wonderful group of friends and neighbors they have been blessed with!
“Well, I will be back tomorrow to remove the horse from your garage,” Andy laughs. “I’ll hitch her up in the morning and drive her back up the mountain to O’Malley’s and then when I get back, I want us to have a talk about how you came to be the new Pastor of All Saint’s Church of Mayberry!

“Please thank O’Malley for us,” said Ron. “I don’t know what we would have done without Clementine and the sleigh!”.

“Well folks, let’s go home!”. They all pile out into the cold, clear night...stars sparkling in the night sky. The weary band of travelers happily make their way down the street, as a gentle snow is falling. It was truly a picture perfect Christmas in Mayberry.