Christmas was always a happy and eventful time in our life there on the old cotton farm. Those are some of my fondest memories.

Daddy always would go out in the woods to find the prettiest cedar tree he could find. We didn't have pines or firs on our land. Later after I became older I asked if I could take on the task of going and finding and bringing home the tree. Sometimes it took hours to find one that was shaped just right for a Christmas tree. We always had a big tree so it was a pretty good task dragging it though the woods. Daddy would take his handsaw and cut the bottom of the tree so it would stand straight. Then he would make a stand out boards and nail the tree to it.

We didn't have Christmas lights back then but my mother and my sisters always made a lot of pretty things to hang on the tree. We used a lot of tinsel and paper roping with different colors. It seemed like it was prettier every year.

Daddy would take mother into town to do all the shopping for us kids in one day. There were a lot of kids so it took all day. We were always shuffled off to relatives by the time they got home so the could hide the gifts from us. She did a good job too For as many as there were of us we could never find where they were hidden. We all got just one toy each to last us all year. We didn't get any more until next Christmas. Every year I would get a little red wagon until I was eight years old. When I got up on my eighth Christmas I looked around for my red wagon but didn't find one.

There was a big cardboard box with my name on it and mother told me to take a look inside. There was the prettiest little puppy I had ever seen. He was an English shepherd and became my constant companion until I grew up and joined the navy. Old Mac was the smartest dog I have ever seen. Except when I was in school we were inseparable. He was always very good with the livestock to bring them in from the pasture at milking time. Old Mac was with me always with me when I went fishing. I would sneak off from him just to see if he would find me. He always did

The girls mostly got dolls for Christmas; I can't remember what my brothers got. I was too busy checking out my own gift. We all saved our shoe boxes from the one pair of shoes we got each year when school started and instead of stockings these were placed under the tree with our names on them. On Christmas morning they were filled with fruit and candy.

Mother always made us go to bed early on Christmas Eve. We were so excited I don't remember any of us getting much sleep She and daddy would get up sometime during the night a put out our Christmas gifts. She would not let us get up until she had a good fire going in the fireplace and fixing us a big breakfast; she made us all eat a good breakfast before we could look under the tree, knowing we would gorge ourselves on candy and fruit. Daddy would always stand back with a smile on his face and I think I remember a tear or two. He loved us so much and was so proud of us

We always spent Christmas Eve with my maternal grandparents, grandmother and Granddaddy Roberts. They lived in a little two room house with a kitchen in back. My aunt and uncle lived with them. There were relatives all over the place and when the weather was bad we were wall to wall people. If it was pretty most of the time us kids would be outside playing until we were called in for dinner (people call it lunch now) my mother and her sisters always prepared a feast. Mother always made gallons of boiled custard to take. No one has ever been able to make that like mother did. Some of our neighbors would bring the milk and eggs and mother would make theirs too. She always baked several cakes too, all from scratch like everything she cooked. We were always pooped out by the time we went home and went to bed early.

We always spent Christmas Day with my paternal grandparents, Papa Young and Nanaw. There was always a lot of people there too, all relatives. Again we had a feast; people back then really knew how to cook, Papa Young ran a general store about a hundred yards from their house. After dinner he would go down to the store and bring back whole boxes of fruit and candy and tell us to pitch in. You can bet we did. He also brought bananas and pecans.

One year, I think about 1950 we had a big surprise. Our bachelor uncle Harold who lived with them had bought the first television any of us had ever seen. We could hardly get anything but snow but every now and then a faint picture would show up. We couldn't believe there was such a great invention. We weren't too crowded there for their house was much bigger but we enjoyed both days so much.

We had some joyous Christmases in those days but we were never not aware of why we were celebrating that time of year.

If you wish to use Jack's story, please contact him for permission.
©Jack Young November 10, 2010 Used With Permission All Rights Reserved By Author Mail


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