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Book details
  • Genre:HUMOR
  • SubGenre:Form / Essays
  • Language:English
  • Pages:124
  • Hardcover ISBN:9798350931204

Christmas Yarns

Stories From the Way We Were Based on a Few Actual Facts

by Frank Loudin

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I don't pretend to be any kind of historian. These stories are just that. In my family back in West Virginia, I was a preacher's kid. Being brought up in a "churchie" atmosphere probably made me more aware of the "Christmas spirit" than any other kid. When your own father gets more excited about something than you do it almost gets out of hand. This gave me a whole different view of the Christmas season, the high point of Christian upbringing. My parents were responsible for every facet of the church, from spiritual salvation to cranky old furnaces and plumbing. I was their maintenance tool for everything from chopping frozen ice from the kitchen steps to ringing the bell at the prescribed times. I also became a part of every Christmas event at the ground level so even now when I hear children struggling through Adeste something or other, I can picture those images in my heart. I have been creating snowy Christmas scenes for maybe seventy years now, and I still get sentimental about just the thought of it. My dreaming mind flicks through the snowy memories like an old-fashioned slide show, with many smiles and a few tears. As I've created paintings of winter days gone by, my heart has been filled with just how a snowy memory can live within you for a lifetime. I like to think that these images and the spirit of their accompanying yarns will stir your own snowy Christmas memories.
Growing up in the 1930s and '40s, any story that dickered with the truth was considered to be a yarn. It was intended to be just passed on down to a group of rapt youngsters. These stories do however reflect the life of a young whippersnapper living in a small town in the middle of 20th-century America, and could be a sort of chronicle of same. To witness my yarns all dressed up into real books is a thrill and I hope you enjoy them.
About the author
My family lived a storybook life. I don't mean like Snow White or Mary Tyler Moore. Dad was a great storyteller. Being a Methodist minister, most of it had a religious inspiration but our family appreciated the characters that inhabited the church community. As we moved about small-town West Virginia and then to like situations in New Mexico, those different cultures enhanced our experience. Being dropped suddenly into an already thriving church community, trying to fit in could be a challenge. My father could handily make a friend and my mother and two older sisters learned to cope with the same social challenges. I came along as everybody's "little brother." I soon leanred how to fit in at school as well as church. Typically, there would be a social potluck dinner to celebrate the new preacher and his family. We were already celebrities by just being there. In the privacy of our breakfast or sometimes later, we would discuss the new neighbors and church happenings. My father had observed the whole celebration with a keen eye for personalities. Hey, that was his business - to get to know his flock so as better to address their need for spiritual comfort. As the new kid in town, I had the same experience at a different level but from the point of view of a 12-year-old. I have carried many of those observations with me through the years, adding to them at my own level while growing up. I was totally overcome by those MGM musicals and RKO westerns, and then WWII came along to give me many new inspirations. I liked the illustrations in all of the magazines from True Romances and Wings to Exotic Adventures. Particularly the illustrations, to the point that I wanted to do that for a career. But by the time I got through art school, majoring in illustration, the magazines had all gone defunct. I was lucky enough to get a position in an architectural illustration studio where I learned many techniques that I used in my approach to Americana subjects in the manner of story illustration. My particular interest became venerable houses, barns, back porches, and quilts - all representing history that I recalled from those youthful experiences of my childhood. Potluck dinners. Model A Fords. Snow sleds. Petunia beds. Jannie, my wife, and I traveled the backroads of America searching for inspiration. The results turned out to be popular in several art galleries and I still am involved in that, with the addition of the written word. I now create stories from those memories, with maybe some additional altered facts in the spirit of adventure. Yarns, I call them, after my dad's influence in storytelling.