Home for Christmas ~ Looking Back


I don’t know about you, but when I think of Christmas, my heart returns to my loved ones in my hometown, Roanoke, Virginia. Christmas Eve was so special because it was spent with family. This picture was taken at my grandparent’s home. Mom and I lived with them until I was seven so this was a very special Christmas. My Aunt Sandra tried to get me to dance to Christmas music on video. We were so silly! Later, we would go to the Hinchee house for dinner, to my new “Uncle J.H. and Barbara’s” house and opened gifts with their three daughters, to our house for snacks and gifts and then to “Great Aunt Louise (Hinchee)  and Uncle Carl Kelly’s house for more gifts and refreshments. Wow! That was a lot of memories in one short paragraph!

I know John has a lot of Christmas memories of Roanoke as well. I think Christmas Day was their day with family. They have some great pics of “Little Johnny” through the years.

John Purdy's Cowboy Shoot

After John and I were married we lived in Lynchburg We often had family come for dinner and to join us at the Candlelight Service at Church and we drove to Roanoke on Christmas Day to be with our parents and siblings.

Special memories!

Tommy Holcomb posted a song and picture of what Roanoke looked like in the good old days and has given me permission to share it with you! Step back in time. Enjoy Good ol’ Roanoke with us.

Looking Back by Tommy Holcomb

A song about growing up in Roanoke, VA.

There are a few things in the video I don’t remember and would have coke-cola in my glass but he mentions S&W Cafeteria where Mom worked as a line supervisor. Loved Lakeside Amusement Park and Lendys where we got to eat in the car!  My memories of the drive-in-movie was going in my pajamas and taking a blanket as I fell asleep in the back seat while Mom and Dad Hinchee watched the movie.

Thank you, Tommy for reminding us of “Home”!

There is a lot going on in Roanoke this Christmas. If you are looking for something interesting to do this year, check out the link below.

Dickens of a Christmas



Roanoke Today Through the Lens of Award Winning Photographer Terry Aldhizer!

Little Isabel and Rainy Days ~ Conclusion

Photo used with permission.

Photo used with permission.

It seemed as if they had been in the cellar forever but if Isabel had been able to tell time, she would realize it had only been an hour. She sat on a wooden bench with her head in Mama’s lap and dozed as male voices droned on about the old days.

Suddenly, the sound of breaking glass and a loud thump made Mama jump; almost dumping Isabel on the dirt floor. “I’m sorry, Isabel,” Mama said with a soft, quivering voice. The quiver in Mama’s voice frightened the child more than the loud noises above them.

“Don’t worry. Probably just a broken window.” Papa stroked his chin and walked to the ladder leading to the trap door.

“We should wait a few minutes until we are sure the storm has died down,” Mr. Scott stepped ahead of Papa, climbed three rungs of the latter and put his ear to the trap door.

Isabel smiled at the sight of the man whose hair matched the wall. He also had red dirt smeared on his face, hands and shirt. She looked at her own dirty hands and then up at Mama who smiled.


Eugene followed Papa and looked up at the door. “I wonder if this is how Noah and his family felt?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, it was raining hard outside for a long time and they were stuck inside the ark wondering.”

“Why didn’t they open the door and look out?” Curtis asked seriously.

“They couldn’t do that, silly. Remember? God shut the door!”

“What if lions, tigers and rats tried to eat them?” Curtis said with a smile.

“Did that happen, Mama?” Isabel’s enormous eyes turned to Mama.

“No dear.” Mama said softly. God protected them. The ark was a place of safety. God took care of them and of the animals that lived in a separate part of the ark. Noah and his family took care of the animals God sent to them.”

“Oh, that’s good.” Isabel looked at Mama cat curled on the floor at Mama’s feet with kittens cuddled closely. She reached to pet the velvety coats but Mama took Isabel’s hand into her own and then lifted her onto her lap.

“The kittens are like babies. They need lots of sleep.” As if on cue, Mama Cat opened her eyes and began grooming her little ones.


“Looks like we can go back upstairs now,” Mr. Scott said as he opened the trap door. “Doesn’t look too bad from here,” he said as he turned back toward the family. “Something smells awfully good too!”

“Oh, the stew,” Mama exclaimed as she lifted Isabel to the floor and rushed to the ladder. “I hope it didn’t burn. I remember sliding the pot to the back of the stove.”

“Ummm. Smells just right to me,” Papa said with a grin.

Mr. Scott stepped into the kitchen and reached for each of the children, cat, kittens, cradle, Mama and baby before Papa stepped into the kitchen, closing the trap door securely.

c45b46f862df9b41e062843447890c6fkitchen decoupage Maria Laura

Everyone stood in the kitchen as if afraid to move. “Well, it aint too bad,” Papa said as he ran his hands through his salt and pepper hair. I’ll cover that kitchen window with a tarp for now.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Mama said as she nodded toward the window. Looks like the rain has stopped and the fresh air feels wonderful. Just as she finished speaking, a hiss and a whine came from the basket near the stove. Mama Cat looked with consternation at two brown puppies shivering by the bowl formerly filled with cream. To everyone’s amazement, Mama Cat placed her kittens into the basket and then herded the puppies into the basket, lay beside them and began grooming them as if they were kittens.

“I’ve never seen anything like that.” Papa exclaimed and Mama smiled.

“She isn’t seeing puppies,” Mama said softly. “She just sees puppies in need of a mama. Now, why don’t you men clean up the glass and leaves that have blown in while I prepare lunch? Isabel, would you like to help me?”

Isabel nodded vigorously while Mama pulled out a flour sacking cloth and tied it around Isabel as an apron.

“Look!” Curtis pointed to the kitchen window to a beautiful double rainbow. Everyone ran to the window and Papa lifted Isabel to his shoulder.

“Jesus did keep us safe just like he did for Noah!”

“I know today isn’t Thanksgiving but today, I am very thankful,” Mr. Scott said as he pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and loudly blew his nose.

“Well then,” Mama said as she sliced bread and slathered them with butter. “Let’s sit around the table and give thanks.”


Later that evening as Mama was tucking Little Isabel into bed, Isabel reached for the toy rabbit her friend Sally Anne had given her at their first real tea party.

“I’m sorry you didn’t get to have a tea party for your friend, dear.”

“That’s okay, Mama. This was more fun and Jesus gave us our own rainbow!”

Anniversary Trip to the Peaks of Otter

View from our balcony

View from our balcony

My husband, John and I recently celebrated our twenty-eighth anniversary. We didn’t go far – just about thirty minutes from home to the wonderful old Peaks of Otter Lodge.  It is an older lodge under new ownership but it was wonderful. Nothing fancy as far as lodging goes but the view is breathtaking!

Peaks of Otter Lodge There were a few interesting items in the room that made it unique.  Check out the bathroom door!

You probably won't find a handy bottle opener at a luxury hotel!

You probably won’t find a handy bottle opener at a luxury hotel!

Just in case you brought an old fashioned bottle of Coke or Pepsi, no need to fear - there is a bottle opener on the bathroom door!

Just in case you brought an old fashioned bottle of Coke or Pepsi, no need to fear – there is a bottle opener on the bathroom door!

For the fellows who brought their old fashioned razor, (you remember the kind where you twist the handle to open the encasement for the razor?) Just in case you needed to dispose of a used razor…

Wonder how many old razor blades are behind that wall?

Wonder how many old razor blades are behind that wall?

The best part is that each room has a balcony with a view!

Our balcony

Our balcony

Our view!

Our view!

We also enjoyed a wonderful view from the Restaurant. The food is delicious and fortunately for us, they serve dinner from 4pm to 9pm and breakfast until 11am!

It is so much fun to watch Does with their fawn walking nearby eating grass. We saw many deer close to the walkway. They are used to coexisting with people. There have been sitings of bears in the past but we didn’t see one this weekend!

The Peaks of Otter has been part of both our lives for years. John has an arrowhead he found here when he was a little boy before the man-made lake was built.  We have enjoyed hiking up to the top of the Peaks for many years before we met. Now, if you want to see the beautiful view from Sharp Top, one only needs to board a bus! Oh, for the youthful days of hiking again!

In 1969, my sixth-grade class from Jamison Elementary School in Roanoke, VA participated in a film with the National Parks Service about ecology. Our class was taken to the Peaks of Otter and the Ranger explained to us about the park, the peaks and the people who had once lived there and walked through a wonderful old cabin. (We are diligently trying to locate that reel-to-reel film. It is the legacy of a school which no longer exists.)

John often rides his motorcycle to the Peaks of Otter on Sunday afternoons after Church and gets home in time to go to the evening service.

There is a lovely visitor’s center, bookstore and natural museum. There is also a camping site for the natural experience.  If you go at the right time, you may also hear a blue grass concert.

The Peaks of Otter is beautiful in every season and just as a lady changes her wardrobe each season, the trees change their lovely colors too. The Parkway is usually closed during the winter due to bad weather so don’t wait. Plan a trip to the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway soon and be sure to stop and explore the Peaks of Otter!

It is still gorgeous! Check out their website and plan a trip to this beautiful Virginia location soon.

I was delighted to see that they are selling books by one of my favorite local authors, Carolyn Tyree Feagans.  To read about the people who lived in the area before the Blue Ridge parkway was built and how their lives were affected, check out her website.

I recommend Sharp Top to go with today’s blog.


Peaceful Scene

Fincastle, VA Church by Kathie T. Kingery

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth,

give I unto you, Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

John 14:27 (KJV)


Photograph by Kathie T. Kingrey

Miss K’s Photography

Great is the Lord


“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts,

I will speak of the glorious honor of thy majesty and of thy wondrous works.”

Psalms 145:3-5

This gorgeous photograph was taken by my friend, Kathie T. Kingery.

Kathie Trent Kingery

Miss K’s Photography

Childhood Friends

I recently had the blessing of meeting an old friend on facebook! We were best friends when we were students at Jamison Elementary School in Roanoke.

Jamison Elementary School, Roanoke, VA

Although this school no longer exists and has been replaced with a Fire Station, our memories of this wonderful old school are still alive! In fact, there is a facebook group of Jamison alumni where we share photos and memories of days gone by. The school was built long ago and many of us remember fine architectural details not present in building today. For example, the girl’s restroom even had a large round water fountain so that thirty girls could wash our hands at once! It had a ring around the base to step on instead of a regular faucet. Tall windows, intricate iron scroll work on the banisters going upstairs, old fashioned lights that hung down from the ceiling with white globe and desks with ink wells. Ah yes, I remember it well! The best part was the people who helped shape our lives. Both staff and friends that filled our minds with wonderful memories!

One of those dear friends is Kathie T. Kingery.  Kathie, her sister Robyn and I used to walk to the bus stop together every morning and back home again. Chatting and laughing the entire time.  We spent hours in the summer looking at the green stamp catalog – making lists of the things we wanted to purchase. What fun! It was so long ago and yet just seems like yesterday.  I had always wondered what happened to my friends. Thanks to the internet, I know.

The best part was that I was able to reconnect with my friend, Kathie Trent Kingrey who is a photographer.  She is sharing some of her wonderful pictures of Virginia with us. Even in the fifth grade, I could see that she had a flair for style! =-)


The beautiful Roanoke Valley! Isn’t it lovely?

I will post some of Kathie’s beautiful pictures on my blog this week.

If you are interested in her photography, you may contact her at is my contact info or 804.608.1224

So my friends, sit back and enjoy the view this week!