Patricia Benoit

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Santa Claus and his aeronautical “tundra hoofers” dash away every Dec. 24, no matter the weather or the chimney size.

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Quilts have four basic parts — backing, batting, pieced top and stitchery. Yet, sewn together, these random swatches of cloth define family, fine art, comfort and warmth.

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Thanksgiving 1919 was a joyous time. Soldiers were returning from the Great War. Things were getting back to normal. Texas legislators had given women the right to vote in local and state elections the year before, and the 19th Amendment allowing women the vote seemed assured. Despite women’s advancements on the political front, the kitchen was clearly the “realm of the little woman.”

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In 1943, a 13-year-old boy moved to Bell County with his family. His mother needed surgery requiring a long convalescence; his father, a nomadic Methodist minister, was able to get a sabbatical from his church.

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Maybe it’s the sudden cold snap or the enticing whiff of hot soup, but this season brings on memories. It’s not coincidental that the first two days of November, next Friday and Saturday, will be among the most solemn liturgically — a time for remembrance, All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

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Jasper Newton Preston doesn’t get the attention he deserves even though thousands appreciate his work each year. Preston is one of the many early builders and architects in Bell County whose work still stands.

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