BYNG — Sunday, Dec. 3, was the first day of Advent, and it was also the date for New Bethel choir’s presentation of its Christmas cantata, “The Gift Goes On.” Each Christmas when I hear the cantata I think, “This is great! This is the best they’ve ever done.” 

One of the things that always amazes me is these ordinary people in the choir become extraordinary as they perform. The men in white shirts and women in red succeed in looking happily worshipful and not as formal as they would be in regular choir robes. A very lifelike newborn babe in a manger was the center of attention.

The cantata gets its name from the theme: God gave his son, who gave us the Spirit, and the gift goes on as we, inspired by the Spirit, share the good news with all we meet. Soloists were Debra Nolen who sang of the Baby in the Manger “Isn’t He Beautiful?”, Jim Parks and David Painter. Narrators were Tricia Harris, Aren Howell, Jodi Jackson, Ruth Ann Taylor, Sterling Henley, Calvin Nolen and Bill Dixon.

In the finale, children of the church entered carrying gifts which they presented to the Baby.

The choir performed an encore at 3 p.m. at Baptist Village and the church hosted a fellowship time afterward. We were pleased later when most of the choir came by the local retirement center in which my husband, George, is now a resident and sang carols for us. George, who had been napping, was so glad to see everyone that he got out of bed and sat up for a while, thoroughly enjoying this taste of Christmas.

If Sunday’s music plus the beautiful snow we had on Thursday and Friday didn’t put us in the mood for Christmas, there may be some Grinches around who are ready to steal our Yule joy.

As we enter into the hustle and bustle and the hurried pace of the holiday season, if you’re a Byng resident, it might be wise to lift your eyes, if not to the hills, at least to the side of the road and view the new speed limit signs. You may be surprised to find that from Sooner Stop on out old highway 99 until you’re out of Byng town limits, the speed limit never gets above 45 mph. It’s slower than that in some areas. In front of my house, for example, the speed limit is 25 mph. (Since you’re slowed down that much, you might as well stop and say ‘Howdy.’)

However, it may come as a surprise to some that our County Commissioner is not the one for the credit or blame. The county supplied the speed limit signs at the request of the Byng City Council. I talked with John Burchett, Byng mayor, and he says the city council looked at the volume of traffic and the number of wrecks on this highway and determined that a reduction in speed would improve safety in the community. However, he says there has been so much protest that the 25 mph speed limit will be changed to 35 mph at the next city council meeting. The 45 mph limit will stay the same. Burchett’s fellow council members include Robin Rawlings, vice mayor, John Ross, Jack Wallace and Dan Randolph.

Gary Starns, county commissioner, has some good news for the community. Traffic has greatly increased on State Highway 99 north of the Heritage Bank and improvements are needed. Now, thanks to promised funding from the Chickasaw tribe, that road will be widened, some dips and danger spots will be straightened out and the road will be resurfaced to match that through Byng. It will be a cooperative project with the county providing the labor and the Chickasaw providing money for the materials.

I know all of us appreciate the generosity of the Chickasaws. It seems to me they go above and beyond the call of duty in community service. 

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Did any of you try Wanda Brown’s recipe for Peanut Clusters that I gave last week? One reader did and called me to say that she could never get the chocolate and butterscotch chips to melt in her microwave. I was of the opinion that her microwave possibly does not have the heating capacity of some, but I suggested she give Wanda a call. I thought, too, I could have made a mistake in typing the recipe. Wanda told her the same thing I had said, plus Wanda thought perhaps the woman had used too small a bowl. Wanda stresses the need for a very large bowl. If the chips aren’t beginning to melt in two minutes, I think I’d try microwaving them another minute or two.  

While Wanda and I were discussing candy making, she shared another recipe which is the Brown Family favorite. Here is her recipe for Pecan Millionaires:  4 ounce package German chocolate, 6 ounces each of butterscotch and peanut butter chips, one ounce grated paraffin. Mix these ingredients together in the top of a double boiler over hot water. Heat and stir until smooth. Add two or more cups pecans to the mixture then drop quickly onto waxed paper-covered cookie sheets.

I received an e-mail from Judy Clayton (whom I know from Edward Jones Investments) and she says she did not attend Byng School, and she has never lived in Byng, but she reads my column every week and she wants to share her recipe for Crock Pot candy which she declares is the easiest recipe in the world. You’ll need 16 oz. of salted peanuts or mixed nuts, 16 oz. dry roasted peanuts, 24 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips, 24 oz. white almond bark or white chocolate chips, and 1 german chocolate bar. Put these ingredients in order listed into a slow cooker. Cook on slow for three hours. Stir to blend then drop by spoonfuls on waxed paper.

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