Return to Archive




It’s holiday time at On the Rhodes! No matter how often we say we’ll avoid it, we will hustle and bustle, eat too much, spend too much, and stress over just the right gifts for just the right people. There will also be peaceful moments, when everyone else at your house is asleep and you sneak downstairs to have one last Christmas cookie and watch the lights on your tree twinkle as the snow falls outside your window. During those quiet moments, maybe a memory will cross your mind of a special Christmas with a special Rhodes family member.

For me, it’ll probably be a memory of one of the many
Christmas Eves I spent at my grandparent’s home in Chattanooga,Tennessee. I’ll remember the routines…Mamaw and Papaw preparing the buffet spread, complete with Angel Frost Punch, sausage balls and assorted goodies, having a loving spat now and again over the details of preparation…Christmas LP’s on the stereo in the living room, and finally opening presents! That was always last, much to my dismay. Cathy usually handed them out, making sure that everyone got a present to open before she found one for herself. There were clothes, toys, and someone always bought the latest gadgets, gifting each to the person who would appreciate them the most. In the 70’s it was a yogurt maker for Mamaw and Papaw and in the 80's, a new fangled digital clock for me.

I carry those memories with me, and the holidays I spent with those special people live in my heart. What I wouldn’t give to go back in time, just for a few minutes and be there again.
What and who will you remember this year?

We at On the Rhodes wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

From Kay’s Kollektion of Favorite Recipes:


Holiday Sausage Balls:

•3 ½ Cups Bisquick Mix
•1 Pound Sausage
•1 Cup Grated Cheddar Cheese

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until crumbly Shape into balls the size of largemarbles, or about 1 inch in diameter. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Editor’s Note: The original recipe calls for mild cheddar cheese and mild sausage. I have been making these sausage balls for years and prefer sharp cheddar and hot sausage for a flavor combination that can’t be beat! They are also much better reheated in the oven the next day than they are when they are fresh baked

We are happy to report that Ginger Rollins (Hunt) has joined our monthly newsletter production team. Ginger will be contributing an interesting genealogical fact for each newsletter in her new column entitled “Ginger’s Family Fun Fact”. Welcome aboard Ginger, we’re excited to have you on the newsletter team. But, we still won’t tell you who the PicTunes are going to be—sorry!

Ginger's Family Fun Fact:


Olaf Thorsson was a 7th Great Grandfather of Jennie Belle Hughes. He arrived in Ft. Christina, Delaware, on Nov. 7, 1641 from Sweden. He traveled to America on the third voyage to "New Sweden" of the Kalmar Nyckel, a Swedish ship of war. According to the passenger list, traveling with Olaf were his wife Elise, his son Lars, his son Olle, and his daughter Christina.
For more information on the Kalmar Nyckel go to:

Family News:

Don Rhodes has accepted a new contract design assignment working for Boeing in Huntsville, Alabama. Unlike his former work location of Fort Worth, Texas, Huntsville is a mere 80 miles from his home base of Manchester, Tennessee. Don will be living in Huntsville for the duration of the assignment, but will be able to travel to Tennessee for quick visits a lot more easily now. He’ll be assisting with the design of Boeing’s new 787 aircraft—impressive!! Good luck with your new job and have fun exploring Huntsville, Don!


Website News:

Your On the Rhodes website team is in the planning and implementation stages of the following site enhancements:

A separate section detailing how the website came to be, including the technical tools utilized to make the site a reality. We hope this information will be both interesting and also useful for whoever will take over website maintenance duties when we are ready to pass the torch. We’re all planning on sticking around for awhile, so don’t get too excited yet!

A table of contents page for the genealogy leg. Currently, we have several hundred pages and supporing documentation. Our staff is adding this "Master Index" for the convenience of both researchers and family members.

A monthly newsletter and PicTune archive section, organized for easy location of your favorite past newsletters and PicTunes so you can revisit them any time you like!

Recent Genealogy Updates:

"Memories From a Daughter" : by Janet Lee Coats Burckhart

William and Jennie:
Memories of King Street
Remembering Grandpa
Remembering Grandma

"Daddy's Home": by Shellie Rhodes
"The Tale of a Bird": by Phil Hunt

In Progress:
Robert Lee/Ancestors of A. Catherine (Kay) Taylor
Laura Bernadine/Ancestors of Allen Roberts Tomlinson
Opal Virginia/Ancestors of Francis Lloyd Hunt


Yes, Virginia.  There is a Santa Claus

Dear Editor,

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O'Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernatural beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus? Thank God He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Francis P Church

Reprinted from:
The History of


On the Rhodes is currently seeking stories, memories, poems, and other written materials for use in a special project regarding Kay Rhodes. As stated in last month's newsletter, memories of any family member are welcome at any time, however, we have an immediate need for special items about Kay. Specifically, we are looking for those which illustrate the type of person she was, how she loved her family, and the way she lived her life. If you can help and send us something that communicates the essence of Kay, please email it to: as soon as possible!

That's all for this month's edition of the On the Rhodes newsletter! Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!!!!



If December News does not appear correctly or you hear no sound...please click HERE

Photo / Web

Email Phil



Email Shellie

"The Christmas Song"
Nat King Cole
available at the ITunes Music Store