For many years I did not think any Christmas could top 1989. That was the year Horry County woke up to more than a foot of snow.

On the heels of Hurricane Hugo, record-breaking cold set the stage for the only white Christmas most people in Horry County can remember. The unexpected storm paralyzed coastal areas of South Carolina and North Carolina and left thousands of people scrambling to rearrange their holiday plans.

More than a foot of snow fell in Conway and more than 17 inches of the white stuff covered Cherry Grove.

The weekend before Christmas, a frigid cold spell covered roads in Horry County with a thin sheet of ice.

For many, the Christmas of 1989 turned into a winter wonderland.

Snowball fights erupted as soon as children could get outdoors. Snowmen sprouted up faster than a tobacco plant and those with four-wheel drive vehicles could be seen towing skiers along streets.

It was traditional for my wife to take our children over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house in nearby Marion County.

We had resigned ourselves that this Christmas would be a stay-at-home holiday since the roads were almost impassable.

Imagine our surprise when a pickup truck pulled into our driveway and out popped my wife’s brothers. They had loaded concrete blocks in back of the truck to provide better traction and followed Ma Ma’s instructions to get the rest of her brood to gather around the Christmas tree.

The Christmas of 2020 is going to be another occasion that will be with me for the rest of my life, but for a much different reason.

This year, knights in shining armor won’t be arriving at our driveway to save Christmas.

Normally, we will have as many as 36 people at our house on Christmas eve to eat, enjoy fellowship and exchange gifts. It’s always a chaotic, but joyful occasion.

Because of the pandemic, we had to cancel this year’s gathering, as have many other families across the United States and around the world.

Even Christmas Day will be a more subdued affair with just immediate family meeting to exchange gifts.

I’m sad we won’t be able to have a traditional Christmas. I’m even sadder for the thousands of Americans who have lost loved ones during this terrible plague. Some of my friends are among those who died from COVID-19 and they will be sorely missed.

But, Christmas is also a time of hope and I feel blessed to see light at the end of this dark, dark tunnel.

Under President Donald Trump’s leadership, scientists and doctors were able to develop a vaccine in less than a year. This is truly a miracle and it couldn’t have come at a better time. People need hope and now they have it.

On behalf of everyone at our newspapers, I’d like wish our readers and advertisers a very merry Christmas.

Thank you for the continued support of your hometown paper.

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Steve Robertson is owner and publisher of the Waccamaw Publishers family of community newspapers

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