We'd feast on lunch meat, cheese and olive sandwiches made with bread from the Black Lab Bistro, and a cake from Redner's. Yes!

The orange Firebird tricycle you readers and Marty McCabe sent me would be the gift site.

A three foot Balsam tree, sent by the Harrisons in England, with twinkle lights, dominated the counter near the sink drainboard.

The trike proved to be a perfect place for many small red-tissue-wrapped gifts, and the big basket at rear of trike would hold larger presents.

A SpongeBob SquarePants fit on a pedal. A ladybug jewelry box, Wolferman's English muffins, novelty socks from Snevets, and a book entitled Penned from the Heart, compiled by Gloria Clover, a white mailbox, which I requested to replace the yellow rusted one, kept company in the basket. Not to be forgotten, two soft play balls from Heidi Sue's on Bridge Street, sprawled in the basket, too.

A holiday-logo nightgown, from Groff's Country Store, Phoenixville; balanced snugly on the frame of the trike. A gift card from Majolica restaurant lodged evenly into the toot toot horn crevice.

About 45 Christmas cards gladdened the black GE refrigerator and washing machine surface.

After the meal and gift opening, contests flowed in the house. Danny, Yo-Yo King, 15, gave an exhibition of his skill with the yo-yo. Rock the cradle, Eiffel Tower, Atomic Bomb were some of his executions. Chris, 10, followed suit and showed his expertise.

Bridgett and Paula did a clever charade of shepherds tending their in the fields.

Jack rendered a memory of his boyhood. I read excerpts from past Christmas of 1996, 1997 and 1998.

We filtered into the Nutt Road room to play Catch Phrase, a team effort to guess what word defined another word.

A broad-jump competition found Chris the winner.

The funniest gift prize went to Fafa, Madeleine and Fred, from California. It was an orange, spikey plastic which everyone stretched this way and that. It fit on Ben's head. What a fun Christmas!

Elsewhere in Phoenixville, neighbor, Dallas, enjoyed the Model Railroad Show's annual Open House since 1975, held at the mansion across from the Phoenixville Public Library on Main Street and Second Avenue.

The Schuylkill Valley Model Railroad Club was formed in 1968. Ten freight and passenger car trains are seen rumbling through towns, over high trestle bridges, around mountains and through tunnels along the right of way from Reading to Philadelphia. Admission is free and the show runs again on Jan. 8, 9. 15, 16, 22 and 23. Call 610-935-1126, if you need more information.

I've found another clue for you readers to help me date the "Phoenixville Recipes" book. The continuing advertisement in the book is Knox Gelatine. I may check Knox on the Internet, and see when they sponsored a "Phoenixville Recipes" book. Meanwhile here's a recipe by a local name very much in evidence today: Harrop.

(Haven't heard many jokes about Christmas fruitcakes, except in the comic strip Crankshaft in The Phoenix.)

Black Fruit Cake

1 pound powdered sugar

1 pound flour

10 eggs

3-4 pounds butter

1 1/2 pounds currants

1 1/2 pounds seeded raisins

1-4 pounds chopped almond

1/2 pound citron

1/2 pound figs

1 gill grape juice

1 grated nutmeg.

Bake at least 2 hours in a slow oven.

Mrs. Henry Harrop

The Knox Gelatine ads vary somewhat. On page 199, it says: Knox Gelatine comes in two packages - plain and acidulated (lemon flavor).

We're headed for the new year, as if you didn't know. Here's hoping you continue to phone with our comments and advice, Remember my slogan: You don't read! I don't write!

With 2005 hopes and Valentine love, I remain: Keystone Connie at 610-933-0669.

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