We have an advantage on the Christmas holidays. A lotta years ago we started having our Brannen Christmas at Thanksgiving because my parents and Frances' parents lived about 600 miles apart - and we could not afford the gas money to make two trips to visit them with no time to recoup the travel expense in between. I think it was my Mom's idea (maybe because she was always wanting to open Christmas presents early?) Or maybe it was Daddy who wanted to open presents early. :) Anyhow — we have the Brannen Christmas at Thanksgiving - then go to the Hildreth's at Christmas until now. Works nicely for us. So our Christmas tree was put together early and holly is hanging already.
Thursday, we had our normal food fling at my sister Bonita's house. More food and drink and merry-making than the law allows. I am SO BLESSED to have been with all my siblings (Wilmon, Lowell, Bonita, and Donice and their spouses). Of our Fred Brannen's family, only Tabitha, the preacher in our group, is experiencing the same thing that we used to experience in earlier years, the need to be in two different places at the same time. And Mom was there. Alive and well, and still able to preach. She recently traveled more than a thousand miles to preach. My two sisters both live here in Cleveland. One brother lives here. The other brother lives in Texas but has bought near here (about 20 miles away) in anticipation of his retirement. Aren't I blessed?
Friday, I took my good friend Ed Williams and his son and three grandsons, plus one of the grandson's friends up to my cabin in the mountains. We built a campfire and ate and played music and sung and had a great time roasting marshmallows for the finale. It was deer hunting season so Ed and I took rifles. Young people left about 2:00p so Ed and I hunted some - then took the long way home through Tellico Plains. I started to feel nauseous and head-achy, so decided to let Ed drive. By the time I got home I was losing my lunch. I was S-I-C-K! This morning I am feeling a little better but not much. After losing all that food and going through all that pain I had a good thought - "ahhhhh" said I, "The good thing is I've probably lost weight!" But guess what? I still weigh the thing that I did before Thanksgiving.
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- Fred Alton
- Cleveland, TN, United States
- I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.