Christmas, 1947By Jim K.
About 1 o’clock in the afternoon, Christmas Eve, 1947, my Dad walked in the house. He gave me a pat on the head, kissed my Mom, patted “Lady”, our cocker spaniel. He said he had left the car in the driveway and he was going over to the Cabbages to have a few ‘belts’ with the boys.
The Ford dealership had closed at noon. By the time they got the cars out and the doors locked, it was 12.30 or so. Nick, the owner, told the men, “Merry Christmas, and they had the rest of the day off with pay. The all said they would go to Cabbages for a drink.
Dad yelled, “Come on Lady.” In front of our house was Sherrill Road, a side walk, a railroad track, and “Long” Lane, then the highway. Dad and Lady had crossed all of them. Dad went in the bar and Lady waited out front.
Mom had been wrapping presents in the kitchen. If you were getting socks, you got one in each box. Mom wanted Christmas to be special – the more presents, the better. One year I got mittens – one in each box.
Around 4.30, Mom said, “I can still see Lady, so Jimmy’s still at the bar. Let’s get the tree.” The Christmas tree was in the garage. Most people cut the tree and kept it in the back yard, but we got the tree late, so we had it in the garage. Mom brought it into the house and I followed picking up pine needles, dirt, leaves, and cleaning up water. We put it in the stand. I turned the screws but the tree was crooked. Mom pushed and pulled, but there was no way this tree was going to be straight.
Dad had a lot of expressions about people who had had a lot to drink. So about dark, Dad came home and he was “three sheets to the wind” – one of his favorites. Mom told him about the tree. He smiled and asked me to go to my room.
I sat there and I heard talking – then hammering. “What is going on?”
It seemed like forever when my Dad called, “Jim, come out here.” When I saw the tree, I was shocked. Dad had put 3 wires around the tree and nailed them to the hardwood floor.
We had a great Christmas – lots of boxes and presents, and the tree was straight.