Corvil Sims, 92, is representing Monette this year as the 2005 Christmas Angel.
Sims was born, raised and still remains a Monette area girl. She was the second of five children born to John and Della Farmer Hollis, of the Red Onion Community north of Monette. She has outlived all her siblings which included Norvil, Jim, John "Big Boy," and Dollie.
"Being one of the older children, I never dreamed I would outlive them all," Sims said. "It is kind of sad sometimes thinking I am the only one left. I still have some wonderful memories of us all growing up and the good times we had."
Sims was raised in a big log house, of the dogtrot construction, with large rooms on each end and a breezeway in between. Like most of these style homes, as the family grew the breezeway was enclosed to make more room.
"We raised almost everything we ate," Sims said. "We canned fruit and vegetables, killed our hogs and had chickens to eat. The food was always plentiful.
"I recall us picking field corn and taking it to the mill to have ground into cornmeal. That cornmeal sure made some good cornbread, which we had often. I still enjoy eating it today, but it is not the same texture as our bread use to have.
"We would always look forward to Christmas. We would hang our stockings up on nails, not fancy ones like they have today, but just plain wearing socks. You could tell at a glance whose stocking belonged to who buy the size of the foot. We would sometimes get hard rock candy in them. Momma would hide apples and oranges around the living room for us to hunt. It was kind of like an Easter egg hunt, looking around and behind things to find the fruit. We got as excited about getting that fruit as kids do today about expensive toys and such.
"Momma always fixed chicken and dressing on Christmas. We always ate good, but extra good at Christmas. People would come in and out to visit on the holidays, especially ones who had come back home for a visit. I loved that."
Sims attended Red Onion School, west of her home, and Cockrum and Buck Donic schools across the state line in Missouri.
"We lived on the last road in Arkansas just before you get to the state line," Sims said. "State lines didn't mean much to us then, as we shopped in Cardwell, Mo., and went to school in both places, whichever we could get to.
"After I was grown, I met Thebert. We got along good right from the start. I liked to laugh and he liked to poke fun at me. We decided to get married in 1931, and drove to Mr. Harris' home, who was the Justice of the peace, in Cardwell.
"Our first home was on the Lancaster place, at Red Onion," Sims said. "I loved turning our first house into a home and having it all to ourselves. We moved around some and ended up coming back to my homeplace to live.
"We always had a good garden. Thebert and I both enjoyed working in the garden, even though he was a farmer.
"We wanted to have children of our own, with both of us coming from large families. We only had one, who just lived five minutes. We named her Ruby Irene and we buried her at the Cockrum Cemetery, near my mother. We have been fortunate to have lots of wonderful nieces and nephews though, and are thankful for them."
Sims loves to sew, and has been quite an accomplished seamstress and quilter. In the past she always made her own dresses, even though now she goes shopping for them. Sims never wears pant suits, any time you see her she is dressed in ladylike fashion, wearing a dress.
"I just never wore pant suits," she said. "I am a member of the Assembly of God Church and was brought up to think women should always wear dresses. I recall as a child , I once wore overalls to the field to protect my knees as I crawled around. I remember coming back to the house and pulling them off quick and putting my dress back on. I just feel more comfortable in dresses, even though these winter months sure make me cold when I get outside. I can't stand the cold as well as I once could."
Thebert and Corvil Sims moved to Monette in 1972. They lived on Virginia Avenue.
"Our house was built small but was large for two people," Sims said. "We had a nice size yard and room for a good garden out back. Thebert died in 2000 and I finally decided to move to Country Estates East three years ago. I really like it here, and I can keep it nice and warm in the winter months."
Sims is still a very independent lady. She keeps her own home, cooks well balanced meals, and drives her car shopping whenever she wants to. She actively attends Monette Assembly of God Church, even though she is quick to point out her membership is at the Happy Corner Assembly of God Church.
"I am the oldest person at the Monette church," Sims said. "Sister Hatcher is next oldest, with me being from April to December older than her. I like the fellowship there, and it is a highlight of my week. I love the Christmas programs and songs. Our members are sure good singers and musicians.
"Thebert and I didn't always put up a Christmas tree, but I have a nice shiny one this Christmas," Sims said. "I just love looking at the shine and the star on top. I have set it next to my front window and turn it on at night."
Mrs. Sim's likes to cook and eat sweets and two of her favourite recipes are Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie and Carolina Chews.
"My nephew, Vernon Sims, of Paragould is very good to come check on me and to take me out for the holidays," Sims said. "I went over there for Thanksgiving and we had a wonderful meal. I may not go out on Christmas as it is so cold and I like staying by my nice warm heater. Whether I go anywhere or not, I'll celebrate Christmas, as it is not all about gifts and presents, but rather the birth of Christ. That is reason enough for me to celebrate."