I was talking to a friend today about Christmas,and life in general. We were both amazed at the differences. He remembers when he lived at home and there was no running water, and his folks owned two cows because he loved to drink milk so much. His Dad was a WWII vet, who spent the first 7 years back from the War mainly at the VA hospital and was never in good shape after he got out. They never had much, but his Dad steadfastly refused to take “charity” even in the form of Christmas gifts for his children. He remembered one year that a man offered some Christmas presents but his Dad refused. His Mom drove them to the man’s house and they put the presents in the trunk. After they already had them, and had them opened on Christmas morning, his Dad’s anger quelled somewhat at the site of them playing with the toys.
It was that way with a lot of our Dads from that generation.
I was a happy boy every Christmas at my Grandparents, where we usually spent Christmas, to receive my one “big” present and one little present. I also got a few more comic books to add to my burgeoning collection. Most of the time we got a few more things than that, especially after I hit my teen years and Dad’s job and pay got better. But, the joy of the younger years lingered and perhaps even outshone the later years. Having to decide what you really wanted the most…it was a story similar to Ralphie’s obsession with the “Red Ryder” BB gun.
The other thing which was exciting and which we looked forward to, was the big “brown paper bag” of goodies from the local church. There were apples, oranges, nuts, and candy. More candy than I would see at any other time of the year with the exception of Halloween. The Halloween candy was long gone, and my favorite candy of all time, the “orange slice” was in that brown bag. I was able to trade with some of the other kids at the church, and ended up with as many orange slice candy as possible. Grandpa would buy those soft peppermint sticks by the box too, and they disappeared quickly if he didn’t hide them.
….and so my friend and I talked about old times. Once a season pig killings, hunting hen eggs, eating squirrel and rabbits and churning butter. Catching fish, and going to the “little shack out back” with the Sears and Roebuck catalog sitting there waiting on us. Things most folks wouldn’t know how to do, or want to do nowadays even if they had too.
Well, I gotta go now and get on Amazon and see if they can ship that last Christmas present I need for someone special and get it here for Christmas.