Forever dreaming of a white Christmas

Beth KinnaneFountain City, Our Town Stories

The young and young at heart are all a-gaggle with the weather forecast for later this week. The holiday travelers and shopping procrastinators are, no doubt, starting to pucker up a bit. Whatever you’ve got to get done, best be doing it before close of business on Thursday. Snow or not, precipitation is coming followed by a deep freeze. Indoors with the faucets dripping is everyone’s best option.

But for those who dream of a white Christmas, there is the hope that there will be more snow than rain, and that temps will keep it around until Sunday morning. Right now, all we can do is wait to see what we get.

Beth Kinnane looking skeptical with Santa Claus at Miller’s Department Store.

Snow at Christmas is rare in East Tennessee, especially down here in the valley. I personally blame my forever wish for it on Christmas, 1969. I had recently turned 4, so memories of the holiday were still a new thing.

The weather forecast had called for rain, maybe some flurries. Of course, I was unaware of this. I was far more concerned with how on earth Santa Claus was supposed to get in our 1950s rancher without a chimney. Daddy assured me Santa would just come on in the back door.

What we got instead of rain in my Fountain City neighborhood, Sherwood Forest, was 7 inches of snow. I was young and impressionable, so I grew up expecting it to happen all the time. Even with age and reality and the unwelcome truth about the man in the red suit, I have always been a sucker for a snowstorm.

Marvel the Mustang

The snow only added to the magic of that particular Christmas. My older brother got his first bicycle, I got a Marx Toys Marvel the Mustang. For me, it was as cool as Ralphie getting his “official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time.” I was a horse girl from jump, and short of an actual real live pony tied off in the backyard, Marvel was the greatest toy ever.

Wish I still had the thing, in mint condition they sell for $250 and up. But the thing about a toy in mint condition is this: they’re never played with. Therein lies the rub. I did, eventually, get an entire real horse, but not until I was 18.

Tennessee Theatre ad for 101 Dalmations (Knoxville News Sentinel digital archives).

In other news from that Christmas Day in 1969, the war was still raging in Vietnam, and Richard Nixon was wrapping up his first year as president. Locally, the Vols were on their way to the Gator Bowl to play Florida (we lost, 14-13). The Tennessee Theatre was showing Disney’s 101 Dalmations, while the original Riviera featured that ‘other’ James Bond, George Lazenby, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

However you are celebrating this coming weekend, take care in your travels, have a thought for those less fortunate than you and a kind word and a smile for everyone working in retail and restaurants right now. You know, that peace on earth, good will to men stuff.

Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Beth Kinnane is the community news editor for

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