Today, as I listened to talk radio during my rounds they were asking people to call in and talk about their most memorable Christmas as a kid. Well now there was all sorts of stories for sure. People who had grown up during the depression years or during world war two of course related a different style of story to those who had grown up in more prosperous or non-rationed times. So I got to thinking, what Christmas was my most memorable and I came up with two that stand out in my foggy memory.
My second most memorable Christmas was when I was in the third or fourth grade. I loved to squirrel hunt. I always took Dad’s single shot 22 rifle (of which I had been trained to respect its use) and would traipse through the back woods on the farm for hours. Just as the big game hunters stalked the lions in deepest darkest Africa, I stalked the illusive squirrel.
Well that Christmas I got a Remington, bolt action, 7 shot 22 rifle for my major Christmas present! I was overwhelmed! Proof that I had “come of age”! I had reached “man-hood”! I must have shot a box of shells that day at tin cans and other trashcan targets, but alas, squirrel season was over.
Then fate took a turn. The next morning I awoke to the sound of our coon dogs treed in the proximity of the barn. I clamored from bed, grabbed my brand new rifle and set out to find what varmint had invaded the premises. One step out the back door and I knew already! Skunk and the dogs had done a good job of riling him up.
Upon finding the varmint, I took careful aim and ridded the farm of the smelly egg stealer. My first trophy with my new rifle! Now it was “brag time”! I carefully unloaded my rifle, grabbed the skunk by the tail and ran straight to the house to show mom and dad. The house was still dark when I ran into the bedroom with the skunk held high. They were not near as proud of my trophy as I was just because it took two weeks to get the smell out of their bedroom!
Now my MOST memorable Christmas was when I was a freshman in high school. Dad was the lead man for Permian Oil Company and had about 4 drivers under him at the time. He and mom had planned a company Christmas party for the other drivers and their wives on Christmas Eve. Mom had worried herself silly cooking all sorts of treats and had out her fancy dishes for the occasion.
Dad had to check “one more thing” out at the pump station before the day’s work was to be complete. Mom sent me with him to sort of “make sure” one thing didn’t become two or three and that he would be home on time!
On our way home, there was a car parked beside the road with the hood up. Dad has never passed up a person in trouble, so he stopped to see if he could help. (I looked at my watch and thought to myself we still had a little time). As it turned out, he was a service man with his wife and two very young kids who were trying to make it home for Christmas before he shipped out to Viet Nam.
Dad worked there for a while as I worried about getting him home before Mom got into a tissy! With the sun setting, Dad gets out a tow chain and hooks to the car. I am thinking “Hey Dad, we got a party tonight!!” But none the less, Dad drags the car back to our house just as the guest are arriving. Mom is standing in the door as we push the car (with the help of the other drivers) into the lighted carport.
I’m thinking to myself that Dad is fixing to get in trouble when Mom comes to the car, but I am wrong. Taking one look inside the car, Mom starts making the tired woman feel like a long lost relative and ask her to come in and visit. “We got plenty to eat!” All the men stood around and helped Dad as the women busied around ohh-ing and coo-ing with the young kids.
They finally got the car running about the same time for the party break-up. Most of the food was gone, everyone had a smile on their faces and the service man still had barely enough time to get “home for Christmas”. They looked at mom and dad and asked what they “owed”. Dad just said, “drive careful”.
I don’t remember what I got for Christmas as a present that year, but I do remember what I got as a sense of pride for just being a “Douglas”.