The fourth and final holiday story in Christmas Blessings is mine, Hometown Blessings. The title's "hometown" is fictional Harper, Georgia, which is located vaguely near Cleveland, Georgia, in the mountains.
If you visit Cleveland (or any of the area's towns) you'll get a feel for the small town of Harper. My mental model for the town actually was Jasper, Georgia, but I wanted it located a bit closer to Gainesville and Atlanta. Folks in the North Georgia mountains get along. As with most small towns, they band together to help neighbors in need. Plenty of churches of all denominations dot the landscape, and there's a town square with the county courthouse and surrounding local businesses.
And there's good eats! In fact, the "Good Eats" man himself, Alton Brown, is from Georgia. The Smith House in Dahlonega and the Dillard House in Dillard are just two of the many family style restaurants where great local cuisine is served in large bowls (all you can eat!) that get passed around the table. Some of these seat you at large tables with strangers, but you won't be strangers long. Nothing breaks the ice like breaking bread together--usually cornbread.
The Moonlight Diner sits right in the center of Harper, right on the town square, and owner Maudine Jones serves the best biscuits in the South. It's where locals gather for the lunch special or simply for a coffee break. If you're law enforcement, Maudine gives you free coffee, so guess where local cops take their breaks.
Right before Thanksgiving, Harper decorates the town with lighted candy canes on each lamp post. Every place of business participates with lights of their own. The first Saturday in December is the parade and festival, followed that evening by the tree lighting and, weather permitting, street dance.
Welcome to Harper, Georgia. Y'all come on in and sit a spell. Get to know the friendly folks and yummy food. Enjoy Hometown Blessings.
And don't y'all forget to enter the giveaway! You can enter again today even if you've already participated.