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I read for awhile then went down to meet and talk to the housekeeper. I introduce myself  and found out her name was Millie and her husband was Buck. They were originally from Stanton. They moved to Brownsville so Buck could work at the Cotton Mill and Millie was referred to my sister by Mrs Bond. The had a small house off South Washington that they purchased with money from Buck’s grandfather.
She enjoyed working for my sister and the Doctor. As she cooked we talked and laughed, soon Mother joined us. Mother was going to do the cooking while Millie was away for Christmas and I would help sister with cleaning. Millie showed Mother how to make out the holiday grocery list and called Rotschild’s  Grocery to place the order. The groceries would be delivered the next day and if we needed anything else we could call and they would delivery.  As mother and Millie talked and prepared dinner I set the table.Sister and John came in from their house call all excited. They had delivered the granddaughter of the first baby John’s grandfather, Dr Fred Dillard, had delivered when he set up his office in Brownsville. Then they learned the father was delivered by his Uncle Jim the doctor whose office John had taken over. We laughed and talked. Millie came in to clear the table. Mother and I helped with the clean up so Millie could get home and pack for their trip tomorrow.

There was a knock on the door Millie answered it and invited Buck in to meet us. Sister and John joined us in the kitchen they had  a bag of gifts for Millie and Buck. Buck followed John to the smokehouse and John got a big country ham for Millie and Buck to take to Stanton. We helped Millie and Buck load their wagon. I noticed when Sister hugged Millie goodby she slipped an envelope in her pocket.
We waved them off as they were leaving I saw Millie pull the envelope out of her pocket she smiled then cried blowing a kiss to Sister. My sister had such a big heart.
Sister informed us we had a quest arriving soon to join us on a ride around Brownsville to see the Christmas lights and hear the singers on Court Square.
“Wear your red dress with the fuzzy coat.” Sister said I noticed a twinkle in her eye as she smiled at Mother and John. I should have known something was up.At 6 o’clock  Mother and I joined my sister and John in the Parlor. There was a knock on the front door. John went to greet our guest .As he rejoined us a tall and handsome man with the most beautiful smile entered the room.
“Mrs.Davis and Miss Lilian Davis I would like to introduce Mr J.G. Bond one of my
childhood friends.” John said.
“Mrs Davis and Miss Lilian it so nice to meet you and please call me James.”
“Well then please call me Lily” I said.
My mother cleared her throat ,I could tell she was suppressing a laugh,
“ Well James it is a pleasure to meet you and am delighted you will join us tonight.”

After some small talk we put our coats on and went to get in the carriage John,Sister and Mother were helped in the back . That left me in the front with James he assisted mother and sister then held my hand as I got in the carriage. Oh boy was I going to have a discussion with my sister.

We started out toward downtown. James and Sister conducted a tour as we rode around we saw the beautiful churches decked out with beautiful wreaths and gas lights, then we saw the Brunswick Stew plant then around to the Opera House on S Washington.
James issued an invitation to the family to be his guest on Christmas Eve to attend a program at the Opera House followed by Midnight Mass.( oh dear handsome,smart and Catholic)

Mother and Sister both jumped on the chance to accept.
I turned and smiled at James “Guess that means we accept.” I said
He took my hand and squeezed it smiled and said “I am glad”
We parked the carriage on the Square and walked to Courthouse lawn.
The gas lights were on around the Square . Wreathes and various Christmas decorations made the night festive. After the brief speech by the Mayor , followed by a prayer and a sing a long of Christmas Carols We met so many people I could not about to remember all the names. Two things I did pick up on was my Sister and John were appreciated and loved.The second thing my escort was was very much in demand by the young eligible ladies of Brownsville.
I overheard  him reject several invitations remarking that he already had plans etc.
On the way back to sister’s he explained he really wanted to spend the holidays getting to know me better. I was both flattered and confused I had not come to Brownsville to meet a new beau since losing my finance to fever 3 years ago I just did not think I was ready.
Over the remainder of the holidays we had a wonderful time. Mother enjoyed cooking, meeting and entertaining new  people. While James and I sent time visiting with his friends and family. I learned he was in his last year of law school and planned on opening an office in Jackson. There was another branch of the Bond family in Madison County not as wealthy as the Haywood Country family.
 but they were family.
We exchanged addresses and promised to write.
James was on the train with us as we headed back to Jackson he of course would go on  to Nashville. As we prepared to depart the train in Jackson James hugged Mother and me only he kissed me on the cheek. Oh dear I was a goner.
(To be continued)

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