-photo courtesy R.C. McCourt, White County Historical Society

Pangburn snow scene c1940, looking north toward Highway 110. The Castleberry Hotel is at left, just beyond Vaughan Mercantile.

Dreaming of the White Christmas


Part of the Christmas tradition when I was growing up in Pangburn was going to the woods to look for a cedar that was just the right size and shape for our Christmas tree. During our trek through the forest we also looked for red berries and holly to use for decorations.

After returning home, we then decorated the tree with strings of popcorn, sweetgum balls covered with tinfoil and chains made with red and green construction paper. A cardboard star covered with tinfoil was placed on the top of the tree.

On Christmas Eve, someone in my family would open the Bible and read the Christmas story from the second chapter of Luke, as well as the poem, "Twas the Night before Christmas."

Then we gathered around the piano and sang Christmas carols. Our favorites were: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Joy to the World and Silent Night.

Just before bedtime, we would hang our cotton stockings on the back of a rocking chair and wait for the visit of Santa Claus.

I vividly remember the Christmas I was 10 years old and my brother was eight. The Great Depression was in full swing and times were hard.

We awakened to find a white Christmas and discover that my brother and I had received the same gifts. Mama had made each of us a white cotton flannel rabbit with pink button eyes and ears lined with pink material. We were each given a Bible that had been ordered from the Sears catalog and had our names stamped in gold. Years later, I took that Bible with me to Ouachita Baptist College (now University).

We discovered stockings filled with a big Red Delicious apple, a California orange, hard candy and nuts. We were proud of what we received and walked through the snow to show our neighbors across the street what Santa had brought.

Today when I smell the sweet, pungent aroma of a California navel orange, it reminds me of the Chrtistmases of my childhood.

--photo courtesy R.C. McCourt

Pangburn snow scene c1940, looking west on Highway 16"downtown" for this little community.

(This story was printed in the December 23, 1999, edition of Arkansas Baptist Newsmagazine. The author is a member of the White County Historical Society. She now lives in Little Rock.)