Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Mini-Vacation

Our visit to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for two nights!

Please remind me that the days between Christmas and New Year's Day is NOT a good time to go to Gatlinburg, TN for any reason! The traffic was just like this for over 20 miles - "bumper to bumper" as they say - and it took us 3 hours to travel the distance from Lenoir City up to Gatlinburg. Unbelievable, I know, but it's the truth. This normally takes only 1 and 1/2 hours. We arrived just after sun-set.

But then, a family visit over a wonderful meal helped to relax the stressed nerves.

Brother Dewain is quite the coffee connesieur! His shirt says, "I'm retired! Every Day's a Holiday". Sis-in-law Deb is an excellent cook!

This was the scene from the balcony. The snowfall had been something like 14 inches. There were reports that some vacationers had been stranded in their mountain chalets and were running out of food and medicine. The temperature plummeted to 9 degrees in some spots around us. It's hard for me to imagine anyone with a medical problem of serious nature not going prepared with extra meds - but then I'm sure they thought they were prepared. The snows in the mountains here can be treacherous and surprisingly long-lasting.

This gas-log fireplace kept us all cozy and warm. No wood to cut. No soot to sweep!

Four of us went out next day with plans to ride the tram up to Ober-Gatlinburg, but wound up at the Grocery store, buying more food. The people and cars were so thick that we became discouraged while looking for a place to park. While the girls shopped, I took a few pictures which I thought would give you some idea of the snowfall and the cold.

The shrubbery around the "Food City" store was still blanketed by snow!

Here's another shot of that white blanket.

This sheer rock wall at the back of the parking lot also made a pretty site.

Thanks to the two brothers (Frank and Dewain) and their spouses (Jan and Deb) for treating us so royally. We had a wonderful trip.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A White Christmas in Cleveland, TN

Check this out! See the date on that picture above? 12/25/2010! I looked out early this morning and this is what I saw through the office window.

The temperature was 33, but the snow was sticking to the trees...

...and to the top of the neighbor's fence. I love the contrast of snow on the cedar tree.

Hurrying to the front door, I could see that snow was actually starting to cover the street.

Have you ever noticed how quiet things are when it snows like this? This is looking up the street from my front porch.

We have been home from Africa for 12 years now and this is the first time we have seen it snow on Christmas Day here. In fact, we have not seen this much snow here in all of those years. I love seeing it fall.

I cooked pancakes this morning and Frances fried some turkey sausage someone had given us for a gift.

There was none of Jack's Smucker's peanut butter - so I did the best I could with the store-brand! ☻ If you haven't heard Jack of "Shipslog" tell the story of Smucker's Peanut Butter, you need to. It's been told many times now - even attempted in German and some African languages!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fred Alton Brannen Christmas Party

We had a wonderful Fred Alton Brannen family Christmas Party on Saturday, December 18, 2010. Our special meal was of Turkey with rice, Venison roast, Squirrel dumplings, Field Peas, corn on the cob, turnip greens, macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce, rolls, iced-tea, sodas, coffee, peanut butter pie, fruit cake, home-made fudge.

Firstborn daughter gave us a very meaningful devotional about "building on your most holy faith". Then Mom recited the poem, Jonah and the Whale. And finally, gifts were exchanged and shouts of joy were heard as the kids opened their cards to find money inside...mostly because grandmother had not had time nor energy to go shopping.

We laughed, talked, played and sung Christmas Carols until very late. We are a blessed family. Thank God for sending His son to a stable in Bethlehem on that first Christmas morning. And thank the Lord Jesus for bring us Salvation by dying on the real Christmas Tree!

Squirrel Dumplings, simmering on the stove!

Field Peas

First time we ever used these type dumplings, but they turned out good!

I made two batches of Micro-waved Peanut Butter Fudge!

Getting ready for gifts!

Mother with one of her great-grand-daughters!

Some of our Grands and Great-grands!

Grand-daughter Amy, Great grandson Colby, Great granddaughter Chelsea, Grandson Terry, Son-in-law Rick, Daughter Frankie.

That contented look!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

That Brannen Bunch

The picture above is of Bonnie Jones Brannen and all five children and their spouses. We do clean up now and then. ☻

Wow! Mom really did it this year. She arranged for us to have a party in the Walden's Club on the 21st floor of the Bank of America building in Chattanooga. It was an elite place for those who move in higher social circles. Is that why I felt so awkward? O.K.... I heard that, Jack. I know I'm always awkward. The menu was totally Cajun cuisine. My Oh My! I dun tol y'all tree ah two time arready! Food ta mak yo tung slap da roofa yo mout! Sho nuff!

Raymond (sister Donice's mate) reading Scripture for the devotional. Wil to the extreme left. Michael to extreme right.

The gorgeous view of the mountains from the room we were in. This picture caught the reflection of the golden curtains which decorate the room.

A different view from the same room, overlooking a part of the city of Chattanooga.

Starting to open gifts!

After dinner of red-beans and rice, gumbo, fruit, veggie medly, shrimp, and foods I didn't partake of, topped off by cake, custard and banana pudding, we played games and exchanged gifts.

Raymond and Donice

Janis, Wil, Melody, Bonita - playing the game!

Frances, Fred, Mom - opening gifts! The hat plays "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer"!

Lowell, Janis, Wil, Melody

Mom really seemed pleased with this gift. The dolls sing in harmony - and the music is activated by pressing their belly buttons.

My sister Bonita and husband Michael

Brother Lowell and wife Janis

Brother Wil strikes his "Grandpa Jones" pose. It's incredible how much he looks like our Grandpa Jones.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Results of the Harvest

We have been so blessed this year to have good friends who have invited us to hunt with them on their farm which joins the Wildlife Management Area in Tellico Plains. When Chub was a young boy of about 10 to 12 years of age he taught me the basics of squirrel hunting when I was the 22/23 year old pastor of the church his family attended. Not only does he allow me to hunt, but also supplies me with squirrel and deer meat and turnips and turnip greens. Frances fried some of the turnips in butter and just barely browned them. Fried us some squirrel meat, turnip greens on the side. Man! What excellent cuisine! O Yes indeedy! We are HAPPY HARVESTERS!

Frances is preparing squirrel meat for a meal! First she boiled the squirrels, then fried two of them - then the rest were prepared to go in squirrel dumplings!

These pieces have been fried. This is my favorite way to eat squirrel.

Some meat draining and ready for eating. Yummm Gooood!

Yes, there is work to it - but what wonderful results!

Taste this and you'll become a happy harvester!

A "mess" of turnip greens, gathered from the patch on the farm where the deer was harvested! They go great with any meal.

About Me

My photo
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.

TheCabin on Day One

TheCabin on Day One
Fred Alton