Five generations sat together at Ramseurâ€™s Sandwich Shop on Tuesday morning celebrating Christmas and fawning over the newest addition to the family.
Ages ranged from 85-year-old Grady Abernathy to two-month-old Sydney Grace Hudson, the daughter of Shannon Hudson and her soldier husband, Shane.
â€œItâ€™s special because it was her first Christmas, and I was worried he wouldnâ€™t be here,â€ said Shannon.
Shane learned about his wifeâ€™s pregnancy over the phone while he was stationed in Iraq.
â€œIt was strange because I was so far away,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s kind of hard to celebrate that over a phone.â€
Unlike so many soldiers, Shane was lucky enough to make it home for the birth of his daughter. He even helped his wife through a portion of her pregnancy.
â€œHe didnâ€™t want to miss anything. Heâ€™s such a good daddy,â€ said Shannon.
During his time in Iraq, it wasnâ€™t the danger that bothered Shane the most, it was being away from his family.
He works as a geospacialist intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army, which means he sized up terrain and enemy positions.
His fondest memories of his time overseas was kicking around a soccer ball with Iraqi contract workers and getting the thumbs up and the peace sign from local children.
â€œItâ€™s very different from what the news said. Most of the news channels show the bad side, but they rarely show the good thatâ€™s going on,â€ he said.
His wife keeps up with the news now, but while he was stationed in Iraq, she did her best to ignore it.
â€œI didnâ€™t watch any,â€ she said. â€œIt was too much.â€
She was relieved to learn that her husband would be home in time for the birth of their daughter, who shares the fifth generation role in her family with her cousin.
This Christmas is little Sydneyâ€™s first trip to North Carolina, the home of both her parents.
â€œAs soon as we got home, Papa said â€˜Youâ€™ve got to come to Bobâ€™s and let everybody see Sydney,â€™â€ said Shannon.
Her grandfather, Don Devine, has been taking his grandchildren to Ramseurâ€™s Sandwich Shop for the length of their lives. He plans on continuing the tradition with his great-grandchildren.
â€œI love it. I love my grandchildren,â€ he said.
Devine went to school with the shopâ€™s owner and enjoys the downtown Lincolnton diner for its fellowship.
Along with the rest of the family, he spent Tuesday morning breakfast making faces at Sydney in order to see her smile.
â€œI hope I wonâ€™t be around too long to spoil her,â€ he said.
While all of his children and grandchildren have gone to Ramseurâ€™s Sandwich Shop with him for years, Shane is still considerably new to the diner.
â€œItâ€™s a tradition,â€ said Robin Goodson, Shannonâ€™s mother. â€œShane just married into it.â€
â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”by Sarah Grano