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Tuesday, December 20, 2011



After I painted this, I sprayed the canvas with spray adhesive and then 
sprinkled mica flakes onto

Sherry Hill

*Best to use the spray 
and mica flakes outside.




Sherry Hill


Wishing you a Merry Merry Christmas wherever you may live. Christmas is much more than gifts, trees and sparkly things:  It is a feeling of wonderment and one that makes you feel warm inside. Being with family and friends is what Christmas is all about--that and giving. May your Christmas be bright and happy!

Sherry Hill

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


“A True Christmas Miracle”

It happened so fast that I went into panic mode.
It was Christmas time and I was teaching that last day before vacation---28 years ago to be exact.
As usual, my teacher friends and I exchanged gifts.
I was the recipient of a beautiful box of cashew nuts; thinking I’d better not eat them in front of the kids [oh how I wanted to!] I remember putting some of them into a bag and shoving them into my pocketbook.
My then younger son was a student at my school but in the fourth grade and my older son was in junior high school.

Had it not been for the fact that I had asked the principal to show the movie “The Hemlich Maneuever” I wouldn’t be writing this article. In fact, I wouldn’t have been writing anything.
The movie had been shown a week before Christmas to all of the students at school.

As usual on the last day for Christmas vacation, when the bell rang for dismissal everyone scattered out as fast as they could…students, teachers and all.
As for me, I had to go to “Magnet Bank” on Washington Street to cash a check [Magnet Bank is now a BB&T branch drive through.] Before I made a left turn across from the mall, I thought about those nuts in my pocketbook.
Quickly I popped a bunch into my mouth; major mistake as I had nothing to drink with me in my car.
I drove like a maniac into the bank drive through thinking they would have cookies or something since it was Christmas time .Wrong.
And my throat was closing up as fast as lightning.

When you get into a panic mode all you can do is think how to survive. I ran red lights and sped down West Washington Street to the Valley Bell [long gone, now the home of Rite Aid] and pointed to my throat. One girl realized I was choking and gave me a glass of water with crushed ice.
As I tried to drink it, it didn’t help.

I fled home feeling my throat getting tighter and tighter and I knew I was going to die before I could get out of the car.

It had to be a miracle that my then husband and my two sons were sitting at the kitchen table when I walked in.
Couldn’t talk. My older son said “Why is your face purple?” Pointed to my throat and my younger son immediately got up and did the Hemlich maneuver on me.
The cashew nuts that had been stuck in my throat came flying out all over the floor. I was alive! I wasn’t going to die.

Speaking of miracles and especially ones at Christmas, this was a true one.
For if my son had not been a student at my school or watched that specific movie, I wouldn’t be alive. Best of all was that he was home and knew exactly what to do.
My son is now grown with three children of his own.
And he may have forgotten the fact that he saved my life; after all it was quite a while ago. But to him I am so very grateful.
He was a lifesaver: at the right time, right place and one who always remembered movies. Thank God for that and for him.
Miracles all around us: I am living proof.

Sharon Reed Hill

*Published in the Charleston Gazette

Sunday, December 4, 2011


A Memorable Christmas

My most memorable Christmas happened in the 50’s when I was 6.
I was an only child of two working parents with one of them always home by dinnertime. Yes, I had a babysitter but that’s another story in itself.
All three of us had gone the night before Christmas Eve to pick out a tree.
Didn’t matter if the weather had been balmy before, it was on that day so cold that you literally shook. And it wasn’t just one of us who liked big trees, we all did. Back then no one bought trees early or decorated early like today:  it just wasn’t heard of. Somehow the man who sold the tree to us managed to secure the giant tree on top of our semi-frozen car and my parents dragged it into the house leaving a trail of Frazier fur needles throughout.
The tree was put into a corner as my dad had to go somewhere for his job on Christmas Eve day. He had promised to be home early that next day.
The day whizzed by and it started getting dark; my dad was not home yet.  My mother decided that she and I would get the tree upright. But first she had to go to a neighbor’s house to get some rope to anchor the tree to the window casing. My job was to try to hold the tree against  the window until she returned. That didn’t happen as in a matter of minutes it fell right smack backwards on me smashing me to the floor. Soon afterwards, my mother opened the door and started screaming because although she saw the tree on the floor, she couldn’t find me. Luckily, she found me underneath and managed to pull me out through the branches. I looked like I had been in a cat fight but other than that, I was fine. Can’t say the same for the tree: some branches were off and so were lots of pine needles. And I thought I was going to be grounded for life but it didn’t happen. We managed to prop up the tree and she tied it to the window casing. It’s amazing that a 90 pound determined woman and a little six year old girl could do that considering the tree was about seven feet tall and big around. But we did it!
After resting for a while, we put on the lights, garland and the ornaments and stood there in awe.
It was truly beautiful and we had done it by ourselves when usually my dad was there to help.
As luck would have it, it started pouring the snow and I heard my dad drive up to the house.
He just couldn’t believe that the tree was standing [well sort of] in its full glory. Nor could he believe it when he saw me covered in scratches.
We told him the whole story and he just shook his head. “Determined women!” he said.
That night was miraculous in lots of ways. The tree was up, it was snowing,  my dad was home and for the first time in my so-called little life, I had help accomplish an unbelievable task. There were to be lots more Christmases in my life and hopefully more to come, but that truly was the most unforgettable one ever.  The presents I received were just what I wanted, the family was together and all was well. But the best present I received or ever received was a feeling of self-esteem and accomplishment.
And I would hold onto that from then to now. Sometimes what you think will turn out to be tragic will be exactly the opposite. That’s the miracle I experienced that Christmas.

Sharon Reed Hill

Published in the WV Gazette


The Christmas Present
By James Michener

It was the turn of the century and I was a mere boy of 10. During the summers, I cut the grass of an elderly lady who lived near me. Approaching the end of November, she told me that she would have a present for me for Christmas!

I ran home full of glee and wonder. Could it be ice skates, a basketball or a bicycle?
On the first day of December, I asked my mother if I could go to the elderly lady’s house for my Christmas present. I got a resounding “No!” On the fifth day, I asked again and received the same answer, “No!”
My mother said it was not at all near Christmas yet.

Finally, on the 12th day of December, I could not stand the suspense any longer for all of my thoughts had been concentrated on the amazing present the woman would give me.

With excitement, I walked over to her large house, walked up on the front porch and knocked on her door. She opened the door and said, “Why James, have you come for your Christmas present?” I could not help but say “Yes, I have!”

She ushered me into a parlor where there hung heavy dark red velvet draperies and told me to sit down on the couch. Then she left to get my present. I could hardly stand waiting because I knew that it would be one of the three things I wanted more than anything in the world.

When she came back into the room, she was holding a wrapped present that was about a foot long, nine or so inches across and about and inch thick. My heart sunk. It was not a basketball, ice skates or a bicycle in that small box.

Gleefully, she handed me the box and told me that it was a magical present. When she said that, I tore open the paper and there in front of me was a thin box that said “Royal Carbon.” I had no idea what those two words meant.

When I opened the “Royal Carbon” box, inside it were 12 sheets of shiny black paper. I asked her “What do I do with these?” At that point, she presented me with some plain white paper and a pencil and told me to put a shiny black sheet on top of one plain piece of paper and write my name on it.
I did. Then she told me to lift up the shiny black paper and there was my name… as if by magic.

I thanked her for my present and went home mostly disappointed but yet there lurked an excitement in me to try the magical papers again.
I went up to my room and collected a stack of plain white paper and many pencils.
Hours went by as I wrote and wrote upon the shiny black paper [carbon paper, I learned] until I ground off all of the carbon on those twelve sheets. I wrote words, and then proceeded to sentences and finally, stories.

I learned more about words from doing this than from any other source. It occurred to me that her gift had not cost her a cent. But she gave me something far better than the three things I wanted for Christmas. She gave me imagination.

During the years, I have received many special Christmas presents but none could compare to the elderly lady’s gift of carbon paper. She opened up a world of writing to me that exists in my soul and in my books.
Sometimes a gift that appears to be nothing can turn out to be the most magical gift in the world.

*James Michener went on to write novel after novel. He won the Pulitzer Prize as well as numerous other literary awards. His books have been translated into just about every language possible and a lot of them have been made into movies. He always credited the elderly lady whose grass he cut for giving him the gift that changed the course of his life.
Sherry Hill