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Happy Tail - Christmas is coming!

And Christmas is about memories. Peg Schaeffer recalls early Christmases in Connecticut and how proud she was to get the 'mink' stole 1958, the tradition of cutting the family's own Christmas tree, the homemade ornaments, a dog named Elvis who OD'ed (or should have after eating 2 pounds of the stuff) on chocolate, Christmas Eves in church, the legend that animals can talk on Christmas Eve, and her favorite Christmas ornaments: The Nativity Scene
Click on headline for complete story with photo of Peg in her Christmas coat in 1958. Click on topic: Happy Tails, for previous Peg Schaeffer columns and find links to recent Happy Tails and news from Sugarfoot following full article.

By Peg Schaeffer

This week as I was packing the box of Chipís Christmas presents to send to him in Connecticut I got to thinking about past Christmasí. When I was a little girl we put the tree up on Christmas Eve. We would decorate it and then put the presents under the tree. Of course the presents from Santa Claus didnít come until I went to bed. We always went to church at midnight on Christmas Eve and it was something I always looked forward to.

Before we would leave for church I could open up one present. The year I was seven years old the present I opened was a mink stole. Of course it wasnít real mink, it was fake fur, but to me it was the most beautiful mink stole in the world. I wrapped it around my shoulders and wore it to church. I fell asleep during the service with my gift wrapped tightly around me. On the way home as I sat in the back seat looking up to the sky I saw Santa and his sleigh flying through the stars.

When Chip was little, we cut down our Christmas tree each year

When Chip was little our tradition was to cut down our Christmas tree. We would hike through the woods to search for the best tree. They never were perfect, usually a Charlie Brown tree, but we picked it out and cut it down and that was the best part.

The decorations for the tree are all special to me. I used to be a 4H leader and some of the ornaments were gifts from members of the club. Some were made by my mother when she went to Senior Citizens. They were mostly made from plastic beads in the shapes of bells and stars but my favorite is one she made from a round mirror and glued a picture of Chip onto it. Then it was surrounded by plastic beads. I have decorations Chip made in school from the time he was in preschool. One is made from hollowed out walnuts with a cutout in the center. It has a piece of rick rack glued to it to hang it up. All of the ornaments remind me of special times and people.

One of my favorite decorations is the Christmas scene

One of my favorite decorations is the nativity scene. My father made the stable by hand and the figurines were all very elaborate. I also have a nativity scene that my cousin made in ceramics. Itís a music box. She painted it in milk glass and itís so beautiful.

One of our last years in Connecticut I had put all of the presents under the tree. One of the presents was a shoebox for Keith that contained a 1 lb. Hershey bar and a large bag of M&Mís. I had it wrapped and thought it was safe. I forgot about the power of a Beagleís sense of smell.

Beagle named Elvis ate 2 pounds of chocolate

We had a Beagle at the time named Elvis. He smelled the box full of chocolate and when we werenít looking he tore the box open and ate 2 pounds of chocolate. When I discovered what he had done I rushed him to the vet. Chocolate is very toxic to dogs. Well Elvis must have had a cast iron stomach because he never got sick.

It's been years since we've been able to put up a Christmas tree

Itís been years since Iíve been able to put up a Christmas tree. With all of the rescue dogs it wouldnít stand a chance. I hang stockings for the dogs. We have a tiny fake tree that I put on top of the hutch and also a singing tree. It operates on motion so whenever someone walks by it it will start singing. It drives the dogs crazy. Of course thatís out of their reach too.

So throughout the years the traditions have changed. We no longer cut down our own tree Ė we donít even have a tree. Chip traveled to Kentucky the first two years we were here. The first year he flew and his flight was delayed and it took him almost as long to get here as it would if he had driven. So the next year he drove here. Since he only had a few vacation days he could only stay a short time before he had to drive home. So Chip stays in Connecticut. Keith and I have a quiet day at home. Animals still need to be fed and cared for. We have dinner in the evening and relax after.

One tradition has not changed: I still go to Church on Christmas Eve

There is one tradition that hasnít changed. I still go to church on Christmas Eve. There is something so special about the night. Itís so peaceful and thereís a feeling in the air.

They say animals can talk on Christmas Eve

They say the animals talk on Christmas Eve. At the stroke of Midnight on Christmas Eve all the animals miraculously develop the ability to speak like humans as they kneel in remembrance of the original stable animals who knelt at Jesusí crib, in a stable, long, long ago.

Merry Christmas everyone!

- Peg Schaeffer, President and Founder, Sugarfoot Farm Rescue

Contact us if you would like to help.

Peg Schaeffer, Sugarfoot Farm Rescue,
860 Sparksville Road
Columbia, KY 42728
Home telephone: 270-378-4521
Cell phone: 270-634-4675

This story was posted on 2014-12-21 05:47:29
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Happy Tail: Peg Schaeffer remembers Christmas in 1958

2014-12-21 - Meriden, CT - Photo from Peg Schaeffer family album.
This is a photo of me on Christmas Eve in 1958 proudly modeling my new mink stole. I am standing in front of All Saints Church in Meriden, CT. Peg Schaeffer

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