Curt Hall Peterson Sr. has a message he wants to share with the McDowell community this Christmas season.
A resident of Marion, the 66-year-old Peterson is a native of Waltham, Mass. who’s also lived in the Fort Myers/Cape Coral, Fla. area for around 38 years. After that, he’s lived in North Carolina for the past 12 years and Marion has been his home since 2006.
Most of his career was spent working as an automotive mechanic and service advisor. Peterson worked at Advance Auto Parts as a sales associate from 2008 to 2017. But Peterson had to fully retire from his work at Advance Auto Parts when he suffered a stroke on July 3 of this year. He now suffers from a condition called aphasia, which affects his ability to speak, according to his family.
Peterson went through several months of speech therapy following the stroke.
“It’s been a process,” said his daughter Evie Peterson.
During that time, he’s received the love and support from his large family. He is the husband of Deborah Peterson for the past 46 years. He is the father of eight children - five sons and three daughters. He is the grandfather to 17 grandchildren - nine grandsons and eight granddaughters and the great-grandfather to one great-granddaughter.
In addition to his work and his family, he’s enjoyed listening to music and experiencing the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. A particular passion of his has been the writing of poetry.
Peterson has written poems since he was 8 years old. In 1971, he published a small book of poetry titled “Until Yesterday.” He’s been published in the Informer International Poetry magazine, Envoi magazine, Poetic License magazine, Yearbook of Modern Poetry and Echoes of Faith Book of Poetry, according to his family.
“I didn’t get to make a living at it,” he said with a laugh.
Ten years before his stroke, he wrote a poem about Christmas, which he submitted recently to The McDowell News in hopes it can be shared with others. His poem is “The Magic of Christmas.”
Peterson said he originally wrote this poem in 2007 as a gift for his family and all of his family members received a framed copy. But now, Peterson wants its message to be shared with others.
“I’ve always thought this is important for children and for families, something that families and children should enjoy,” he said to The McDowell News.
His family said Peterson’s ultimate dream is to see the poem published as an illustrated children's book with one to two lines per page.
Even though he now has difficulty talking, Peterson hopes his poetry can convey the message that is in his heart.
“He is thankful to be alive today and gracious of the fortunate outcome he experienced,” said Evie Peterson. “He wishes everyone in McDowell County a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”
The Magic of Christmas
By Curt Hall Peterson Sr.
The magic of Christmas be not merely in snow
Not in gaily wrapped presents done up with their bows;
Nor is it the tree shining with ornaments and lights,
All colors and smells, Oh such a sight!
It’s not from those songs that warm our hearts,
Or the aroma from goodies that bake on the hearth;
Not the laughter and stories of family and friends,
Of memories, made each moment, till day reaches end.
No, the magic of Christmas be not stockings stuffed full,
Nor the dolls with their curls or the wagons to pull;
The wide open smiles that came with the dawn,
Lasting through evening then turning to yawns.
No, the magic of Christmas be not Santa Claus;
But it is in the time we take to pause;
To love one another, be they stranger or friend,
In the name of our Lord and our glorious end!