Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Holiday surprises

Posted December 29, 2008

What did you get for Christmas this year? Any coal in the stocking? Any surprises? Please share your stories.

My wife Cindy gave me a neat 2009 calendar using a dozen of my father’s watercolors to usher in each month. I really liked the iTunes gift card she gave me. I look forward to many hours of downloading new and exciting music. The most unusual gift I received from my wife was a certificate for a facial from a therapist Lynda Loveland has been raving about for several years. I’ve never had a facial and only one massage. I’m a little nervous.

I gave a lot of books away for Christmas and it’s been fun to hear from friends who commented on the one I wrote. I appreciated the nice message this morning from mdoodle who said Blue Ridge Reunion was a “big hit” with her sister-in-law.   My sister, Miriam, gave me a great book on the most remarkable trees of Virginia. It’s a beautiful coffee table book with stunning photographs and delightful essays.

I’d love to chronicle the most remarkable trees of North Carolina. Any suggestions? Right off the bat I think of the bald cypress trees along the Black River along the Pender/Bladen County line. They’re believed to be the oldest trees east of the Rockies. You’ve also got the 400 year old trees in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest in the mountains. UNC Chapel Hill boasts the Davie Poplar and some ancient oaks on campus. Please help me with this and also comment on your gifts.


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  • bleslie Dec 30, 2008

    Great news, jd - glad things are looking up!

  • jdlewis76 Dec 30, 2008

    My best Christmas present was having my little girl home for her first Christmas. She was in Pitt Memorial Hospital for her first two months of life, but now she is well and was out in time to see Santa Claus and tell him what she wanted (with a little help from Daddy).

  • tangerine Dec 29, 2008

    My mom gave me a copy of the letter my grandmother wrote to her in appreciation of the 50th anniversary party she and her siblings threw for them in 1994. In the letter, my grandmother thanked my mom for me & my brother, stating we had "brought a lot of sunshine" to her life. My grandmother passed away in 2002 and this is our 7th Christmas without her. What a treasure she left and what great a mom I have for such a meaningful gift.

  • mbwatson Dec 29, 2008

    My husband got 10 bags of top soil from our two pet Beagles, Freckles & Scooter, since they dug about 50 holes in the side yard. ☺

  • TheDude abides... Dec 29, 2008

    I believe the oldest known tree in Franklin County is a Baldcypress at the old Daniels & Daniels Dairy Farm in Louisburg. It is said to be 500+ years old. At the base is a knot-hole big enough for someone to live in!

    We had to cut down an old red oak in my front yard several years ago due to a lightning strike. It was well over 100 years old (rings got too tiny to discern half way thru), and when we busted it up for firewood, we found an old horseshoe and rope inside it (several feet deep). It was used to tie the horses up when visitors came, way back.

  • mom2kids71 Dec 29, 2008

    Bill - you should check out the oak tree on my family's farm off Sunset Lake Road between Holly Springs and Fuquay. It is over 100 years old and over 15 ft in circumference and is supposedly the largest in Wake County.

  • ladybugs-mom Dec 29, 2008

    My favorite Xmas "gift" this year was getting to go to breakfast with my Dad on Xmas eve. Every year since I was small we've gone shopping at the crack of dawn on Xmas Eve to get gifts for my mom...and in later years he's gotten an outfit for me too.
    I told him I knew times were hard this year so we didn't have to shop...just breakfast to spend some time together would be nice, so we did. It was wonderful. The best breakfast ever.

  • TheDude abides... Dec 29, 2008

    My mom always tells us, "This year Christmas will be smaller than normal." We never expect any expensive gifts, but she has to be one of the best at giving "Cool" gifts. This year I got A Daniel Boone biography and and autographed copy of BRR (that was my "cool" gift.)

    Many remarkable trees have a definite story behind them. Much of the time it is either where a life was taken away (lynching) or where lives were changed (i.e. Freedom Trees across the South where people gathered to hear the Emancipation Proclamation read for the first time).

  • 2thebeach Dec 29, 2008

    Didn't Robert Rourke make a tree in Southport famous?

  • k8ered Dec 29, 2008

    I received an interesting book from Mom & Dad called "From Beach to Bluegrass"; it's a book about Virginia (my home state) that chronicles stories from places all along US 58, that loooong highway that stretches from Va. Beach to the Kentucky border. Very interesting.




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Bill Leslie