Whitesburg KY

Senior letters to Santa

Daddy’s Dinner Bucket”

A coal dust covered, dank smelling miner

Comes whistling toward home feeling much finer

Swingin’ his bucket and singin’ a song

Shinin’ his headlamp as he goes along.

White teeth smilin’, eyes glowing bright

Glad to be home from the long dark night,

Spent half-bent over working underground.

Nothing feels better than to be homeward bound.

Five children come running, waiting to see

The things brought home in the bucket for me.

A cake left over or a piece of bubble gum.

Or sometimes a mint for us to bum.

The round aluminum bucket held wonders galore.

In its separate compartments we could always find more.

Each section we lifted to check for a gift.

Anything Daddy hadn’t used on his shift.

A child doesn’t think about what’s in the heart

Of a dad who works faithfully from daylight ‘til dark,

To make a good livin’ for his wife and five kids.

Because we only wanted what was under those lids.

His life was spent mining week after week

Working through pain to make ends meet

How was it that we never really saw,

The love and commitment behind it all?

Daddy’s dinner bucket was dented and gray,

From a rock in the mine that fell into his way.

The dangers he faced marked his health and soul

(But that’s true of all those who worked in the coal.)


How sad for us that it took years to start

Seeing underneath the lid of his heart.

With its layers and compartments and treasures untapped

Melting like candy that has been left unwrapped.

A heart filled with memories and sweet devotion

Rarely revealing his strong emotion.

Standing in the background of Mom’s lavish praise

With his feet to the grindstone all of his days.

His standards and rules he made sure we knew.

The spankings he gave us were more than a few.

We didn’t know that under those layers,

Of firmness and discipline were heartfelt prayers.

He prayed we would grow up wise and kind

That someday soon the Lord we would find

A God who would give us the sweet bread of heaven

Broken for us and containing no leaven.

Daddy won’t come home from the mine anymore

Swingin’ his bucket all the way to our door.

His home is now grander — A place filled with light

No headlamp is needed to make things bright.

No need there to bring a bucket of lunch

Or to save things for children who haven’t a hunch

That there is more in his bucket than candy and gum

There is an eternal love that you’ll find when you come!

This poem was written by my sister Lucille Tacket Graves in memory of our dad Marshel Tacket.

Our dad will have been gone for 14 Christmases now and although we carry on with the tradition of meeting at the homeplace on Christmas Eve to open our gifts and enjoy Christmas dinner, it still isn’t the same without him. He and my brother always pulled some pranks with gifts. One year my brother bought him a tool and a note was inside that said “Batteries not included.” Then the next year Dad got him some batteries and a note was with it that said, “Tool not included.” Well, that’s kind of what started our gag gift giving that we do now. The thing is I have really good ideas about what to get the others by things that happen to them throughout out the year, but by the time Christmas rolls around my husband and I are racking our brains to figure out good gag gifts.

I have two more Santa Claus letters from the Senior Citizens and these are doozies:

Dear Santa,

What I want for Christmas is first of all my health, then I’d like to have a rich man to take care of me, a new car, a fancy house and maids, that’s all I want.

Dear Santa,

What I want for Christmas is a new coat (size large), new shoes (size 9), new watch (Timex), diamond ring, a good-looking rich man.

Our Christmas dinner at Senior Citizens will be this Wednesday, the 20th, at 11 a.m. Pizza and finger foods are on the menu. Participants are asked to bring in the finger foods and money is being taken up for the pizza. Putting a dinner together to feed a group this large is a lot of work, so we want the Deb, Carmen, and Sue to know how much we appreciate them for all they do for us.

Mom and I visited her sister, Linda Hall, today at Letcher Manor. Her roommate is Doris Banks from Cowan. Doris fell and broke her hip and she said she is mending, just not fast enough to suit her.

We are so sorry to hear of Herb Caudill’s passing. His business, Caudill Lumber Company, used to be an important place in our community for all kinds of building supplies. Remember this family in your prayers along with all the others who have lost loved ones recently. Please remember my pastor, Bill Jones, and his wife Sandy and all his family in your prayers continually.

Merry Christmas everybody. I wish everybody could have as blessed a Christmas as we have. I can’t think of a material thing I need. And last but not least, remember what Oma would always say, try your best to attend church somewhere this Sunday and I say if your church has services Sunday night or throughout the week, God would want you there then, too.

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