Whitesburg KY

Our family’s first Christmas tree

Merry Christmas everyone!

It is hard to believe this will be the last time I will be using those words to those who read my column. This year will soon come to a close as time doesn’t wait for anyone.

We’ve been having a bit of winter, which is just a little reminder of more to come with lots of long, bitter cold weather before spring will make its return. With the final days of Christmas upon us it brings back childhood memories.

I realize that I am not the only one who didn’t have much as a child. As I think back my childhood once again, I am not trying to seek sympathy or poor pity me.

Daddy was a coal miner for most of his life in the small mines, digging coal on his knees making the coal mine owners lots of money while he and the other miners didn’t make enough to earn a decent living. Then having to spend it at a company store called a commissary because he was being paid in script.

Sometimes I just don’t understand how Daddy and Mommy didn’t realize that we kids were old enough to realize that other children received a few things for Christmas. As I have written about several times before, we never knew what a Christmas tree was until I was about 10 years old.

My cousin Bessie Jane Gibson and I took an axe, sneaked into Hiram Mitchell’s field where we found a short needle pine tree and cut it down. There was about knee-deep snow on the ground.

Somehow I stumbled and fell on the ground face first. I was bleeding so bad you could track me like a wounded animal through the snow. We finally made it home, and we found a bucket and put the tree in it.

I mopped Martha Mitchell’s house and cleaned some for her, and Martha paid me a dollar. I bought a strand of lights and a box of silver icicles and Mom thought that was the most beautiful sight she had ever seen, and so did I.

Southern Ohio

Wallace Lee, Loretta and Jerry were so excited as they were little. Of course there were no presents under the tree.

Daddy always managed to get us oranges, huge Red Delicious apples, along with an assortment of chocolate, pink, white and yellow bonbons, along with chocolate drops, mixed hard tack candy, plus a big peppermint barber pole.

Daddy loved coconuts, so he would get two coconuts, drive a nail in a hole and let us kids drink that sweet coconut milk. Then he’d break it into small pieces to divide among us.

There have been many times I have cried in privacy because there were no presents. Daddy and Mommy never knew I was hurt, not just for me, but for the other little ones. As I have grown older I still can’t understand the lack of at least one little present, but we never went hungry.

The first year we were married I had just a few things for our tree. Now I wish I just had a few things less .

Our children always had a good Christmas. Nowadays children have more than they need, and want more.

To be honest, I might have never had the material things that my children and grandchildren, and even my great-grandchildren have, but I realize that I was far richer by not having toys.

I can close my eyes and still smell Mom’s old-fashioned stack cakes. To this day I’ve never found a recipe like Mommy made as she didn’t use molasses, and stirred hers up like cake batter. If she had dried apples she would put that between layers, then cover the top layer.

Mom would try to keep a mess of shucky beans for Christmas dinner. The rest was just everyday cooking of fried potatoes and some kind of fried meat.

Enough of letting my thoughts travel back to bygone years.

I finally found enough energy to call Les and Pat Wagner to check on them. Les’s brother Jim Wagner had several members of the family for a delicious meal.

Once again I haven’t talked to anyone this week. I hope Johnny and Ann Callihan along with Doyle and Betty Ison are doing all right.

Ricky Caudill has a bad case of the flu or a virus of some kind, he is very sick. Sunday, Ricky was too ill to go anywhere.

Hello to Mike and Marcia Caudill, Laynette and her husband and everyone who reads my column.

Until next time

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