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Gallipolis Ferry couple shares more than 50 years of holiday memories

Dec. 10, 2012 @ 08:54 AM

GALLIPOLIS FERRY, W.Va. — Ronnie and Naomi Cremeans have spent more than 50 years together enjoying the Christmas season.

They have always collected Christmas decorations, starting with a special set of gold angels that sit on their piano.  From there they have added a bit here and there each year.

Naomi Cremeans, who is responsible for the inside decorations, has incorporated her doll collection into the décor.  Ronnie Cremeans pointed out their daughter’s former bedroom when she was growing up. At the end of the bed is a lovely white tree all lit up with sparkling lights. Nestled around the tree are a variety of dolls along with some seasonal figures.

“We always put a tree up in this room as part of our celebration,” he said.

In the living room is a tree devoted to the couple’s six grandchildren. All of the ornaments are photos of the children, and it’s obvious the couple takes special pride in the tree. Other trees adorn the dining room and family room. The fireplace in the dining area is a made-to-order backdrop for a Christmas tree and Naomi Cremeans has taken full advantage of it.

Lighted garland and greenery show off the santas, snowmen and angels gathered around the hearth waiting for the big day.  The holiday theme continues into the family room where a train circles that tree.

Outside is a real treat as well in that loads of lights grace the yard, porch and driveway.

“This is my domain, and I do all the decorating out here,” Ronnie Cremeans said.

The first thing one notices is the child size train that sits in the driveway with, Grand Kids Express #6 written across the side of the locomotive. The six-year-old train has become a centerpiece to the decorations.

Ronnie Creams, who gives nightly rides on it to friends and family, remembers how it came to be.

“My daughter-in-law saw one similar in a parade in Marietta (Ohio) that belonged to a young preacher up there,” he said. “She was telling me about it, and we went up to see him to see how he had made it. I knew I needed a riding lawnmower motor to power it and a neighbor had one for sale. I offered to buy it but when he found out what I was doing with it he gave it to me. The railroad cars are made out of plastic barrels and will seat one child in each car. You know Christmas is all about the kids and they know if my lights are on, I will give them a ride on it.”  

The couple knows the reason for the season and likes to share the good news with those who visit their home. Atop the house are the words “Happy Birthday Jesus.” Saying “Happy Holidays” is not the greeting they extend.

“We like ‘Merry Christmas,’” Naomi Cremeans said. “We think it shows the joy of the season at this time of year.”

After one of the train rides, the couple gives out candy canes and a pamphlet with Bible verses that tell the Christmas story. It is a puzzle as to who gets the most joy out of the Christmas decorations, the couple or the children who frequent their home.