With Christmas 2023 here, I’d like to share a portion of one of the chapters in my new book, “Bamboozled By A Bobcat” regarding what Christmas was like during my growing up years in Goldonna.
Christmas at my house growing up. Man, what special memories. I think it all started with a trip our family took to the woods out back to find a Christmas tree. It was not easy to find one perfectly shaped. One side would look good, but the back side was skimpy because of growing next to a big tree.
No problem. Mother would just set the tree in the corner and turn the skimpy side to the wall. Decorations were simple – red roping, icicles, a few colored balls. No lights for one simple reason – electricity had not made its way to Goldonna during the early years of my growing up.
Another favorite memory are the smells that came from my mama’s kitchen – wood duck roasting in a cast iron pot, gravy dark and rich, cornbread dressing, a hen, not a turkey, roasting. We never had turkey growing up, but no problem, we were catching a chicken from the yard, wringing the neck, and scalding it.
Desserts? Oh my! Chocolate pie, pecan pie and my all-time favorite, applesauce cake. Even today, my wife Kay and my daughter, Cathy, make me an applesauce cake for Christmas. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without it.
The night before Christmas, Tom and I would go over from our house on one hill to the next hill where our cousins, Doug and Sambo, lived. We’d build a big bonfire and shoot fireworks. I especially remember those big red two-inch firecrackers that could removed a finger if handled carelessly.
After fireworks, it was off to bed, but sleep was not easy to come by because I couldn’t help thinking about what I might find under the tree the next morning. Tom and I would often wake up and jump out of bed long before daylight to see what was under the tree, and I was never disappointed.
We didn’t get the fancy stuff kids get today but a BB gun, toy truck, hard candy, apple and orange, and maybe a board game.
My most memorable gift was when we were really small and we each got a pedal car. Daddy had found them somewhere, maybe in somebody’s garbage, but he brought them home, hammered out the dents and gave them a shiny coat of blue paint. I guarantee you no brand-new, store-bought pedal car would come close to providing the thrill we got when we saw those blue cars under the tree.
Probably my favorite Christmas memory was when it came time to sit down for the noon meal Mother had prepared. Before we sat down, she prepared a tray with everything we were about to enjoy, and the whole family would walk through the pine thicket to the home of an old couple and share our food with them. Otherwise they would not have had such a fine meal.
It taught me something that has stuck with me all my life, and that is the joy of giving. What sticks out in my mind the most is the lesson it taught us kids as Mother and Daddy used the occasion to remind us about the greatest gift ever given when God sent his son Jesus Christ to Earth to show us how to live and then to die and take the penalty of our sins on himself.
Though our faith in what He did, we have the promise of life everlasting in His presence when our days on Earth are ended.”
Having said that, I’d like to wish my readers and listeners your very best Christmas ever.