This past Thanksgiving weekend, my husband and I went back to Southeast Missouri to visit family for a few days. We left on Thanksgiving afternoon, stayed for 3 days, coming back home on Sunday. Got up Friday morning and made our 'rounds'. Went to Dexter first to take a look at our house and see what kind of shape it was in and went to the little cafe there. Saw a few good friends that I hadn't seen in a while. Leaving Dexter, we then went to my brother's house in Bloomfield and visited for a few hours and ended up going on to our old home town of Bell City. Very 'large' community of about 400 people. Visited with my brother and x sister=in-law, and by the time we left it was already getting dusky dark. As we were getting ready to leave, walking out to the truck, my eye caught a glimpse of something bright and shiny up in the northern sky. It couldn't be...... but yes, it was. There on the top of what is known as 'Tyree Brown's Hill' was the Christmas Star. My heart fluttered. So many memories attached to that star. I remember as a child when you saw that star shining you knew that Christmas was near. Excitement would began to fill the air in that small town. Tyree's dad always put the star up the day after Thanksgiving. And didn't take it down till around the middle of January. I think later in years, Tyree himself but the star up. I am supposing that now Tyree's son or grand son puts it up..... who knows.
As a kid, we lived at the foot of that hill, in an old shackled brown sided house. My bedroom faced the hill with a window looking out. I would lay there in my bed with covers piled on so deep I could hardly move, and would go to sleep wishing on that star. So many things that I wished for, a real barbie doll, (which I never got) a shiny new bicycle (which I never got) lots of pretty clothes and shoes, and the list goes on and on.
Christmas for our family was always very sparse. We usually got 'a' present, but that was about it. Most of the time that would be something in the clothing line that we really needed... but I always knew that Christmas meant fun and family. I had one uncle that lived in New York and one that lived in Chicago. They always came to my Granny's house over Christmas and there was always a lot of food, lots of kids to play with, and a lot of laughter. My Uncle Hut brought me a fake Barbie doll one time for Christmas, named Genevieve. I didn't care that she wasn't a real barbie, she was good enough for me. I thought she was beautiful. Sometime during the next year my mom hand made me a whole bunch of doll clothes out of scraps of fabric that she had left from sewing quilts or our clothes. I was in heaven. I think I wore that doll out.
I loved that time with all of my cousins. Funny, I don't remember any fussing or arguing going on either. We didn't get to see each other very often and I think we probably savored each moment we got to spend together. Wonder where they all are now???? Wonder if they remember those days as fondly as I do?
As we got in the truck and began to leave, I took one last good long look at that star. 'Wonder how many kids in this town have wished on that star through the years? Wonder how many wishes have come true? Wonder if the kids that live here now even think about that star? Wonder if they notice it at all? Wonder if they even know what that star represents?? Wonder if they wish upon it as I did?? Wonder if the Brown family knows what kind of blessing that star has been to the residents of that small town?? There use to be an excitement among the town folk when the star went up. Wonder if there still is??
Leaving town I was thinking of the church song, 'Oh Beautiful Star of Bethlehem, Shine On'. Tears came to my eyes, for not far from where that star shines on that same hill, is a small cemetery, where my mom and dad, my granny, a couple of nieces and some other distant family lies. I could not help but start to hum the tune of that glorious song. I felt sadness and joy at the same time. Hopefully that star will continue to shine for years to come. It truly was and is a blessing to know that it is still there.....Oh Beautiful Star............. Shine On......................................