The Christmas Poncho And Other Holiday Tales


Saturday morning our crew of three woke up and headed to Mississippi so that we could celebrate Christmas with D’s side of the family. I was sort of annoyingly excited about it because over the last couple of years I have discovered that I am a person who enjoys having Plans At Christmas. I used to think I was a person who just wanted to roll with it and be all devil-may-care-ish at Christmas, but then there was The Unfortunate Holiday Season of 2009 where we didn’t get to see any of our family on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day or New Year’s.

Needless to say, The Unfortunate Holiday Season of 2009 TAUGHT ME SOME LESSONS. And now? I make a point to map out a Christmas plan. We don’t need a calendar filled with mindless activity, mind you, but I have discovered that it’s good (for me, at least) to have a reason to fix my hair and put on a little make-up and interact with other humans. Cold, gray weather tends to put me in a funk, and I do a better job of fighting the funk when I’m surrounded by happy people and good times and the occasional cream cheese-laden appetizer.

Apparently my emotional needs tend to err on the side of simple.

Our first Mississippi stop was Martha’s house. You will not be at all surprised to learn that she greeted us wearing one of her favorite jackets, only this time it was a cute gray one (but not as cute as the one she found at Hudson’s Treasure Hunt! because it’s just the cutest! and it looks like ostrich! and it’s just so cute can you even believe how cute JUST LOOK HOW CUTE IT IS!). Martha hosted three dessert parties last week – each for a different group of friends – and so she regaled us with tales of the dessert parties and who was there and what they wore and how much fun they all had.

Listen. I don’t know what the 70- and 80-something set is up to in your hometown, but in my hometown, they are DECKIN’ SOME HALLS.

After we visited for a little bit we went out to lunch with Martha and David’s brother’s family. We had a great time, then went back to Martha’s to exchange presents. We knew that Scott and Rose were giving Martha a Kindle, so one of her presents from us was a gift card from Amazon. Her other present from us was a little something I picked up in Steinmart because I thought it might be a fun alternative to Martha’s beloved jackets.

Yes indeed. We got Martha a poncho. And considering that she put it on as soon as she took it out of the box and continued wearing it for the duration of our visit, I think she was a fan.

She was also a fan of her Kindle, but I think it’s going to take a little practice before she’s completely comfortable with it. I say that because when we left her house late Saturday afternoon, Martha was tapping the screen to turn the pages with such vigor that I feared for the Kindle’s well-being. It reminded me of when D and I were first married and the cashier at the Walgreens near our house poked the keys on the cash register so hard that I worried she was going to knock the keyboard off of its pedestal. She’d look over her reading glasses, dart her eyes this way and that as she tried to find a 7 or a 3 or a 9, and when she finally found it, she’d practically punch whatever number she was looking for. It was almost like she thought she was playing Whack-a-Mole and needed to smack the number before it got away from her.

So that? Is pretty much Martha with a Kindle.

It really was such a fun visit, and on the way home we decided to stop for supper in Livingston, Alabama. Scott told us that we needed to try a restaurant there, and he raved so much about it that our curiosity wouldn’t let us pass by the exit without giving it a try.


I’m gonna tell you what.

If you are ever on I-20 and wondering if there is anywhere to get a good steak near Livingston, Alabama, I am here to tell you that the answer is YES, A MILLION TIMES YES. I should’ve known that any place called Diamond Jim’s & Mrs. Donna’s was bound to be good, but I was not prepared for how out-of-this-world delicious their steaks would be. However, I suspected that I was in for a treat when I first sat down at our table.

I haven’t done any sort of scientific poll, but restaurants that leave crackers on the table almost always have the best food. It’s as sure as the sun.

And as an added bonus, Diamond Jim’s also served some mighty fine fried dill pickles.

The fried pickle spear is a little bit of a step-out in this part of the country; we usually favor fried pickle chips. But OH. The fried pickle spears at Diamond Jim’s were delicious, and I’m pretty sure that at least part of the batter was bread crumbs. Delightful, they were.

After supper we rolled back to the car and finished the last leg of our trip. I figured that we had probably exhausted most of our weekend fun, but Sunday after church some old friends who were in town came over for lunch. It did our hearts good to get to spend the day with them, and it was so pretty outside that the kids ran and played in the backyard for, no kidding, about four hours straight. It was a ’bout-near-perfect afternoon.

So that’s what’s going on in our neck of the woods. I’m about to make a big batch of these super-addictive crackers, and then I may play a little bit of a new hidden object game that I downloaded last night. So far it hasn’t sent me into a spiral of obsession quite like my beloved Dire Grove did, but I’m optimistic that it’s going to be a good ‘un.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted. Between my new game, Martha’s new poncho, and my new favorite Alabama steakhouse, I have to say that the week is shaping up nicely.

Merry Christmas, y’all.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email


  1. I love a plan, too. Also? Martha looks divine in the poncho! Thanks for sharing and have a Merry Christmas!

  2. Martha looks FABULOUS! I’m so glad you had a fun weekend :)

  3. You know what I’m asking for this Christmas? For you to post about Martha at least once a week. Any post about her just cracks me up. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  4. Another great restaurant in downtown Livingston is The Bakery. It’s run by Mennonites. All of the bread on their sandwiches is made there, and the food is all excellent. Also, who can pass up Mennonite cinnamon rolls?! They open around 6 a.m. and close at 2 p.m. and there is a LINE at lunchtime. Oh, and they take cash and checks, but no credit/debit cards.

    Love, love, love your blog. It always brightens my day. Some days I can hardly breathe for all the laughing.

  5. Happy, Happy Holidays and Merry, Blessed Christmas :)

    Martha looks, as always, just cute as a button and perfectly put together. She reminds me so much of my little perfect China doll grandmother, that my heart hurts just a little every time I see a picture of Martha…

    You may want to stay away from Drawn: The Painted Tower on BigFishGames… I downloaded and ended up staying up all. night. long until I beat it. I am now in need of a 12-step.

    Love you.

    Hope you and D and A (and every other letter of the alphabet) have an amazing Christmas and New Year.

    Now step away from the blawg.

  6. Martha rocks whatever she puts on.

    Merry Christmas!

  7. I love Martha and she looks just adorable in her poncho!!!!

  8. LOVE, LOVE Martha and her poncho!
    The picture in the background of the little girl, gave me a flashback to a memory of my grandmother’s house….I think she had the same one!

  9. Happy Christmas. Yes, something about your post made me wanna shout happy. I am even loving Martha’s poncho enough to consider wearing mine…hmmm.

  10. Mary Kat's Mom says:

    How cute is Martha in that Christmas poncho?!?! Adorable! ! ! She is precious! I’m so excited about the Kindle for her and want to get a report as soon as you have one please.

  11. Restaurants that have crackers that are a combination of saltines and club usually have really good salad dressing. Martha is the best. I would love to be a fly on the wall when she tells all of her friends about her Christmas gifts.

  12. Martha looks DARLING!

  13. I can’t get over the poncho on Martha. She looks so stylish in it. And yes, the name of the restaurant tends to be a good indication of how good it will be. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. Glad you had fun!

  14. I am so excited you love the restaurant! I am good friends with their daughter Shannon who makes awesome cakes in Birmingham!! :)

  15. Martha looks adorable!

    That restaurant sounds amazing too!

  16. Aunt Marta is adorable! She’s no bigger than a minute. Love the poncho.

  17. I am so glad that Daph encouraged her FB friends to check out your blog when you were in Ecuador. I am loving it! First, I check email, then mls, then fb, then boomama. You’re #4! Woo-hoo!

  18. Martha was BORN to wear a poncho. Fantastic.

  19. Oh! Martha looks just DARLIN’ in that poncho! Just DARLIN’! And look how the sleeves just DRAPE so NICELY! And it’s so COZY! and WARM! She looks WONDERFUL in that! I’m sure she’s going to be a poncho convert in 2012. I mean JUST LOOK AT IT!

    Sorry, posts about Martha tend to channel my inner Martha. That woman just tickles me.

  20. I love the poncho! I must know what game…I tried Dire Grove (much to my son’s delight) and loved it…now I have a new addiction! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  21. I am now craving Fried Dill Pickle Spears!
    Please share the game. Marooned is sort of a mystery/find the hidden object game if you have an Iphone.

  22. That poncho goes great with what she had on! (I’m assuming she didnt have to change) Your very blessed to still have her, it makes me a little sad, missing mine.

  23. I believe that any time Martha is involved in a story, it will be a good one that ABSOLUTELY ALWAYS brings a smile to my face. I LOVE the poncho on her. It looks great! You did an absolutely fantastic job picking that out for her!

    I am dyin’ to try a fried pickle spear. I have only had fried pickle chips. I wonder how far this Alabama establishment is from my home in Texas. Because I don’t know, but a fried pickle spear seems worthy of a 1-2 day car trip.

  24. oh I LOVE me some fried pickles. I mean seriously love.

    Also, that Martha cracks me up, love her!

  25. Martha is precious….Being new to your blog, I have never seen her before…but I love her already. And I think how sweet that she wore the poncho the whole time. What a way to show someone you like the gift. I’ll try to store that one in my “GOOD IDEA!” file. :)
    Aloha, and Mele Kalikimaka!

  26. Martha and I have the same taste in clothes. I’m praying to get her smile next. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  27. I agree about the crackers. They get extra points with me if they are Captain’s Wafers.

  28. Last night a made a half batch of the Ritz cracker mix… and I ate myself sick.
    But I will probably go in for more tonight on our family trip to see Christmas lights! Thank you for sharing! (Well, kind of, my tastebuds thank you, my stomach and thighs, not so much!)

  29. Sounds like a fun weekend!

    Martha is adorable in her poncho. :)

  30. Well with the “easy fit” of the poncho, Martha can’t tell you that it’s too big! LOL! Your Christmas decor is lovely. Wish I would have found I nifty countdown to Christmas placemat thingie. How cute! Hope y’all enjoyed your festivities.

  31. Haven’t been by in awhile…sort of out of the bloggy loop. But, I love me a good Martha story. She is too cute in her poncho! I do better with Christmas plans too. I used to get all stressed by the family visits…but a few years ago, God changed my heart on that. Come to think of it, it may have just been Christmas 2009 for me, too (or maybe not…time sort of blends together these days/years). I was ranting about going all these places for “my” Christmas, when that still, small Voice whispered faithfully, “It’s not YOUR Christmas, it’s MINE. And, I want you to love the people I gave you to love….all of them.” So, now…I go without grumbling….and He puts the love there. In the midst of it all, I’ve come to love the Christmas plans…and the people.

    Anyway…Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to you and yours. Thanks for being you.

  32. Having recently moved back to my beloved Starkville from a 6+ year stint in Livingston, AL, I can’t tell you how tickled I am to see you tried Diamond Jim’s!! It’s quite a name and, yes, quite a steak!! So fun!!


  1. […] My friend Sophie, who I actually see quite a bit in real life, has a post up called “The Christmas Poncho And Other Holiday Tales.” This one’s worth reading just for the mental image of her mother-in-law learning how to use a […]