A Taste of Milk & Honey

My only problem with Santa Claus was that dadgum, good for nothing, plague take it (you can tell by my language I am still upset) list. Yes, the list. Granted, Santa knows when you’ve been sleeping, and he knows when you’re awake, but his list is dead wrong. I don’t care if he’s checked it twice, he still does not know who’s naughty and who’s nice. I could have done a better job making the list. Let me be specific.

I had a playmate who shot a redbird with a BB gun. What did he get for Christmas? A brand-new blue and white American Flyer bicycle. A neighbor boy never worked one day in the garden – not one day. What did he get? A real, live pony, dark brown with white stocking feet, that he named Stockings. Down the road lived a boy who played marbles for keeps, which everyone knows is the beginning of gambling. In spite of this criminal activity, he got a whole box of licorice that he didn’t share with anyone. And his younger brother, barely old enough to talk, said the four-letter word for “the bad place.”  Santa rewarded his cussing with a bright red wagon with rubber-tired wheels. And did I mention his sister? Like all girls, she got away with everything, and in return she received a big doll whose eyes closed, and which wet its pants.

And me? I’ll tell you about me. I was faithful in Sunday School for two weeks before Christmas. I took my turn gathering eggs, feeding the hogs, and churning milk. I swept the porch before company arrived, and as Momma will tell you, I usually washed my hands before supper. I could go on. And what did it get me? An apple, an orange, some raisins still on the stem, a few walnuts, a stick of peppermint, a box of sparklers, and a little truck about six inches long that you had to push across the floor. That’s it; you do the math. I don’t care if he checked it twice or two hundred times, Santa’s list was seriously flawed.

Or the whole system was. Naughty kids get nothing; nice kids get loads of good stuff – that’s not the way life is. For instance, I know some beautiful children whose only sin is that they were born into poverty. And what will they get for Christmas?

That’s up to you.

From Dr. Fred Craddock, Milk & Honey, December 2010

THANK YOU!!! Giving Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Without you, we could not enrich the lives of the children and families we have reached out to the last 22 years.  I keep going back to part of our mission statement…”We serve by Sharing.”  Our donors exemplify this!

Sincere thanks to the donors who responded on Giving Tuesday. Your generosity ensures the work of The Craddock Center is sustained and the children and families we serve continue to reap the benefits of our programs.

From the Executive Director

All of us at The Craddock Center hope you had a wonderful holiday season! We still need you to hold on to the spirit of holidays and consider gifts to The Craddock Center to support our programs for the remainder of the school year in 2024. In Dr. Craddock’s article above, he ends with “That’s up to you.”

Our donors respond generously to “That’s up to you” during the holidays (and throughout the year). For the last three years, November has been our most successful month for fundraising! THANK YOU!

The Children’s Enrichment Program is considered the signature program of The Craddock Center and spans 30 weeks of the school year.  Our program is delivered free of charge to schools and Head Start programs in our Southern Appalachian area. Our staff use storytelling, music & song, props, puppets, and movement to create learning experiences that build school readiness, imagination, emerging literacy skills, and creativity. We have specially designed our programs, based on research for optimal learning, to best prepare these children for Kindergarten. We also provide each child with a brand-new book three times during the school year. Our programs become the foundation for these children to achieve their full potential in all areas of their lives.

We have two more big events this school year. On March 2nd, which is Read Across America Day, our children will receive a brand-new Dr. Suess book and in mid-May we will celebrate ‘Summer Send Off’ with our children. Each child will receive a goodie bag with two children’s books, stickers, and arts & crafts supplies to make hand puppets. Items for these events can be purchased at the following ‘wish list’ link on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/33CGISEAZLV36?ref_=wl_share

Will we be able to do this? “That’s up to you.”

What Can We Learn from Winnie the Pooh?

January 18, 2024, is Winnie the Pooh Day! This day celebrates the birthday of the author of Winnie the Pooh, A. A. Milne. Winnie the Pooh first appeared in print in 1926, but the actual stuffed animal that inspired the stories is 100 years old.

Winnie the Pooh is such a lasting character because he can’t be fully appreciated until we have grown up. Only then can we realize all the life lessons the silly old bear has given us.

Positive Thinking – “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.” Although Eeyore is generally known as the gloomy one, even he can look on the bright side occasionally.

Empathy – “What about me?” said Pooh sadly. “I suppose I shan’t be useful?” “Never mind, Pooh,” said Piglet comfortingly. “Another time, perhaps.” Piglet, being a Very Small Animal, acutely understands what it is like to feel useless.

Gratitude – But Eeyore wasn’t listening. He was taking the balloon out, and putting it back again, as happy as could be. It doesn’t matter to Eeyore that Piglet meant to give him an inflated balloon and Pooh meant to give him a pot of honey for his birthday and what he got was a popped balloon and an empty pot. He enjoys his gifts because his friends thought to give them to him.

The Importance of Education – “But to the educated – mark this, little Piglet – to the educated, not meaning Poohs and Piglets, it’s a great and glorious A.” Those who can spell in the Hundred Acre Wood are the ones the others look up to. Owl is wise and often consulted for advice because he can spell Tuesday.

Get Along with Everyone – “Tigger is all right, really,” said Piglet lazily. “Of course he is,” said Christopher Robin. “Everybody is really,” said Pooh. “That’s what I think.” Even though Tigger is strange to them at first, the other characters soon embrace him as a friend. If these woodland creatures are able to put aside their staggering differences, certainly we human beings can as well.

Friendship – “Pooh, promise you won’t forget me, ever. Not even when I’m a hundred.” Pooh thought for a little.“How old shall I be then?” “Ninety-nine.” “I promise,” he said. The overall theme of Winnie the Pooh is the importance of forming solid, lasting friendships. With good friends, you will always have someone to lean on, someone who will go on adventures and expeditions with you, and even someone who might invite you over for tea and a mouthful of something.

On January 18, 2024, or anytime actually, consider reading a story from Winnie the Pooh to your child or grandchild. What wonderful life lessons are waiting for them and for you!

New Books, Knitted Hats and Gloves!! An Annual Tradition of Love Continues

Winters in the mountains can be cold, and many of the children we serve do not have adequate clothing for the cold, winter months. A warm, knitted hat helps tremendously in preventing loss of critical body heat in the very young.

On November 8, 2023, volunteers from The Craddock Center delivered new children’s books, hand-made knitted hats, and gloves to the 1,178 little ones we serve. The area we serve consists of nine (9) counties including Dawson, Gilmer, Fannin, Lumpkin, Pickens, Towns, and Union Counties in Georgia, Polk County in Tennessee, and Cherokee County in North Carolina.

Our volunteers deliver messages of love, hope and happiness through the children’s joy-filled experiences of these gifts. Our mission of “Happy & Hope. We Deliver” is a mission in action that comes alive each day through the work of The Craddock Center.

Thanks to volunteers from United Community Bank in Blue Ridge for packing the hats, gloves, and books for delivery!

Thanks to the following volunteers for delivering these gifts to the children: Pam Hurd, Carolyn Lakes and Larry Brannon, Beth Roberts, and Joe Cantwell.

Thanks also to the following knitters for supporting this wonderful annual event and providing warmth to our special kiddos: Marcia Congdon, Janet Elder, Ann Grant, The Encouragement Project, Blue Ridge Fiber Arts, Lynn Starr, Cindy Minick, Gladys Keith, Emily Matthews, Darlene Bundrick, Ladies of the Crighton Relief Society in Conroe, TX, Linda Sutton, Tricia Colburn, Christina McMichael, the Drake family, Patricia Marchlowitz, Amy Geiser, Abigail Geiser, Rebecca Geiser, Sandy Hansel and an anonymous knitter.

SAVE THE DATE!!! Pinewood Derby at The Craddock Center

On March 2, 2024, our Cub Scout Pack 440, will host their third Pinewood Derby at The Craddock Center. Racing will begin at 10:00 am. Please join our Cub Scouts for this fun, family event!

The Pinewood Derby is a Cub Scout car race where 7-inch toy cars, weighing no more than five ounces, are raced down a sloped track. The concept originated with Don Murphy in 1953. Murphy noted, “I wanted to devise a wholesome, constructive activity that would foster a closer father-son relationship and promote craftsmanship and good sportsmanship through competition.”

Songs and Stories

February 3, 2024 @ 3:00 pm / Free Admission / Donations Appreciated
186 Fred Craddock Drive, Cherry Log, GA 30522

SONGS – The Washington Post describes John as folk music’s “Renaissance Man,” a moniker flawed only by its understatement. “Calling John McCutcheon a “folksinger” is like saying Deion Sanders is just a football player… “(Dallas Morning News). Besides his usual circuit of major concert halls and theaters, John is equally at home in an elementary school auditorium, a festival stage or at a farm rally. In the past few years alone he has headlined over a dozen different festivals in North America (including repeated performances at the National Storytelling Festival), recorded an original composition for Virginia Public Television involving over 500 musicians, toured Australia for the sixth time, toured Chile in support of a women’s health initiative, appeared in a Woody Guthrie tribute concert in New York City, gave a featured concert at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, taught performance art skills at a North Carolinas college, given symphony pops concerts across America. This is all in his “spare time.” His “real job,” he’s quick to point out, is a father to two grown sons. But it is in live performance, like our Songs and Stories event, that John feels most at home. It is what has brought his music into the lives and homes of one of the broadest audiences any folk musician has ever enjoyed. People of every generation and background seem to feel at home in a concert hall when John McCutcheon takes the stage, with what critics describe as “little feats of magic,” “breathtaking in their ease and grace…” and “like a conversation with an illuminating old friend.”

STORIES – The Craddock Center’s own storyteller extraordinaire has delighted audiences as a professional storyteller across the Southeast for over 20 years. A former park ranger, teacher, and librarian, Natalie hails from Eastern Kentucky, a great growing ground for stories. Her interactive style engages listeners of all ages. Natalie has performed at the National Storytelling Conference in Gatlinburg, TN, the Jimmy Carter Library and at schools and libraries all over the state of Georgia. In 2016 she was crowned Georgia’s Biggest Fibber and was the People’s Choice Bold Face Liar at the Festival of Carolina, both of which were actually compliments. She has joined forces with the Craddock Center and is thrilled to be spreading joy through stories and music to the children of the mountain region.