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A grand Christmas vacation that lasted for several days

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Christmas time is so wonderful when we celebrate the birth of Jesus and exchange gifts with those we love. In addition, Christmas offers each of us better dispositions as we greet others and wish them Merry Christmas!

It is also a time when we recollect the wonderful times past, which brings out the best in each of us.

I recently celebrated my 90th birthday — something I never thought I would accomplish when I think about the health problems which cropped up during the years. A case of pneumonia when I was 18 years of age had me in bed for 10 days and tremendously ill to the point that I didn’t care if I lived. But somehow, I got along, and, on the ninth day, I began to feel much better. On the 11th day, I went back to my job in Philadelphia, even with the 30-mile, hour-long trip.

Going back so soon turned out to be a bad decision. By the time I arrived at Pennsylvania Railroad at 32nd & Market Street I was drooping.

I was invited to son, Greg and Belinda’s beautiful home alongside a stream in Rocky Mount last weekend. It was quite a wonderful time as they gave me some excellent gifts, including a new cell phone which I had been needing for some time. I’m happy to have my phone back in service.

Greg and Belinda treated me like a king with some wonderful food, too. We had a delicious fruit salad for which Belinda is known. Here are the ingredients: black seedless grapes, green grapes, Gala apples, pears, strawberries, kiwi, and blueberries. Try it, I think you’ll love it.

This is what Greg prepared for Saturday breakfast: scrambled eggs with grilled peppers and onions, Smith’s Red and White homemade sausage from Dortches, sausage casserole, potato cake, fruit bowl, pineapple-grapefruit juice and coffee.

Here is something I learned over the weekend: Claxton Famous Fruitcakes are made in South Georgia and were first made in 1910. To my surprise, my daughter-in-law, Ginger, bought me one Sunday from a local store.

For many of my generation, Sophia Loren, now 85, is the epitome of beauty and grace in an Italian actress. There’s also Gina Lollabrigida, who is 92. I met another charming Italian actress recently who happens to be the wife of my son Jimmy’s brother-in-law Sam. Barbara Saba is an actress, singer, writer and tango dancer. She knows Italian, French, Spanish, Latin and ancient Greek, and she has graduate degrees in philosophy, theology and human resources. She came to the United States about four years ago from her hometown of Rome, met Ginger’s brother in Los Angeles, and married just a few months ago. I very much enjoyed meeting her, and hearing all about her life in Rome and her thoughts on living in the United States.

I’d like to dedicate this column to Patsy and Larry Walker from Spring Hope. They drive 17 miles each way to Louisburg to get a copy of Roving Around in The Wake Weekly every week a day early. Patsy is my daughter-in--law Ginger’s first cousin.

Bob Allen, publisher emeritus of The Wake Weekly, invites comments at