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December 2022


Christmas in the Country

Verrett, Louisiana

Saint Bernard Parish

            As children it delighted us to spend Christmas with the oldest member of our family, Georgina Smith Williams. This feat would not have been possible without our aunt Margery. Aunt Margery would stop on her way to Verrett, Louisiana; pick us up and take us with her to spend Christmas with “Ma-Jena”. I found it intriguing that she and our grandmother were sisters but could very well have been twins. The resemblance was uncanny.

          While at Ma-Jena’s house we helped light the fire in the fireplace and set the table for dinner. We always had the biggest turkey with an abundance of dressing, and all the side items. The smell was amazing, coming from the kitchen. Ma-Jena would say the blessing followed by a blessing from each of us. By the time we finished eating we were stuffed. Once we finished eating we would gather around the old upright piano in the living room and sing Christmas carols. Aunt Margery’s voice was beautiful.

          When our songfest ended, we began our trek throughout the village. We visited the homes of our family, friends and schoolmates. We looked forward to the hugs and kisses from everyone at the James, Winesberry, Smith, and Robinson families. We would walk from one home to the other and visit with the parents as well as the children. We heard stories about their childhood. We laughed until we cried and forged a bond that still exists today.

          Verrett was a vibrant place at Christmas time. The homes were decorated and each home had a beautifully decorated tree. There was plenty of food to be had at each home. The experience was heartwarming and memorable. I often think of those days with fondness.

          The heads of the families have since passed. Many of those who walked the village with us have bid us farewell as well but their memories still linger. Those of us who remain have gone our separate ways but each year at Christmas I remember how we celebrated the holiday season with laughter, joy, happiness and love in our hearts for each other.

Yvonne Richard-Sanchez

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