<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Christmas 2002
My Favorite Christmas by Keith Watson
When I hear the carolers singing “It’s The Most Wonderful time of the Year” I have to stop and think, yes it truly is the most wonderful time of the year! I cannot remember a Christmas that was not full of joy and laughter and very special times with family and friends. When trying to think of just one favorite Christmas, my mind immediately wonders back to the earliest Christmas I can remember….waking up in the middle of the night and seeing my older siblings Harold, Rex and Carolyn in the living room spinning records on a small portable record player. I was immediately ordered back to bed and of course when I woke up the next morning I quickly found out that the record player was for me and that it came complete with a yellow record playing “Here Comes Santa Clause” and a Red record playing “Frosty the Snowman”. I think that was the same year my parents gave me a mini Santa Clause from Sears and Roebuck. He may have come with a Coca-Cola in his hand, but needless to say if he did, it was consumed a long time ago. I took that same Santa to school almost every year with me and put it under the Christmas tree in my homeroom so everyone could enjoy it. I still have that Santa and he sits under our tree here in New York every year. Our kids have played with it every year and it has now become a tradition for them to put it under the tree each year (at home of course…. New York schools have a different idea about the religious holidays and all…). I do miss the magic of small town Christmas holidays… the marching band in the Christmas parade, Santa coming on the Fire truck, the Tinsel decorations hanging across the streets of Sumiton, Shopping at Dodd’s store, waiting for the Sear & Roebuck catelog so I could make my wish list…going to Jasper to J.C.Penny’s with my mom and the clank, clank, clank of ladies walking in their heels on the hardwood floors and running out to feed the parking meter, delivering endless numbers of cakes my mom baked for neighbors and that case of Florida oranges and Grapefruit my dad always bought… the plastic tree with gum drops and the fruit cake soaking since Thanksgiving….waking to the smell of bacon frying at 5am and hearing my dad calling my siblings homes to see if they were up yet and what time they would be at our house for breakfast… one long table with us all passing the biscuits and gravy, the fried pork chops, the fried bacon, the fried ham, the fried baloney, the fried eggs and the fried anything else that was not sugared or baked or consumed on the way to the table by a grandchild.
Yes, I truly love Christmas and “It is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.
My Favorite Christmas by Hellen Wires Talley
It was a cold December afternoon as I curled up on the couch with a catalog that contained Christmas toys. Now, you see, I was a connoisseur of dolls because two years earlier I had open-heart surgery, and I was not allowed to run and play like all the other children. So, dolls became my favorite past time.

It was this particular evening that, as I thumbed through the pages, I saw, on page 29, what was a little girl's most spectacular dream. It was the most perfect doll in the world with long blonde hair that flowed down her back and curled up on the ends. Not only that, but she had on a dress that would have made Miss America jealous. It was made of pink shiney material and trimmed with white curley lace down the front. The shoes were high heels and colored to match the dress. In addition, there were three other outfits just as pretty, and it came with a large carrying case.

Oh,what wonderful adventures I could have playing with this doll. I chuckled to myself at the thought of showing my new treasure to my friends. I couldn't wait for my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Ballenger, to see what Santa had brought me when we had Show-and-Tell day.

My dream world snapped back to reality when my Mom came into the room. I said, "Momma, if Santa could bring me this doll I wouldn't ask for anything more this year. I'll clean my room, and not complain when I'm asked to help with the dishes as long as I live." My Mom answered in a quiet tone of voice, "We'll see." My thoughts were centered around the doll as I crawled into bed that night. I prayed, "Dear God, if it doesn't cost too much, please let me have the doll in the catalog."

A couple of weeks later, I asked my Mom if Santa was going to bring me the doll I asked for. My Mom answered in an understanding voice, "Santa was not able to order the doll you wanted because he didn't have it in stock." My heart sank all the way to my feet. All of my dreams were shattered with the words that Santa did not have the doll I longed for. I went to my room and quietly cried myself to sleep.

The next day I had forgotten all about the doll, and began helping my Mother in the kitchen. She made a chocolate cake and let me decorate it with the hickory nuts my dad had cracked. Oh, what wonderful smells came from our kitchen at that time of year.

My sister asked me to walk to Dora with her, and I was so excited about looking at the toys on display at Palmer's Store. While we were in the store browsing, Mrs. Minor came up to me and asked me what Santa was going to bring me for Christmas. I told her that my Mom had ordered a doll for me, but Santa was out of them, so I didn't know what Santa had for me. She told me she was sure Santa would bring something nice. Money was scarce in those days so we knew Santa would not bring an over abundance of goodies. My sister and I picked up the groceries for Mom and started out of the store. Just at that moment, Mrs. Minor came running toward us with a package. She told me it was a present she had picked out for me. I thanked her again, and again. Then we walked back home.

On Christmas Eve night Mom allowed me to open the package. As I tore open the green and red paper I began to guess what it could be. As I opened the box there was a lovely doll with balck hair and big blue eyes staring back at me through the clear celophane front of the blue box. It was a great gift, and I was so happy to receive it. I took the doll to bed with me that night and dreamed of what might await me the next morning.

Around 6:00am I heard the pitter-patter of my brothers feet running toward the Living Room, and I heard them saying, "Look what Santa brought!!" I ran into the Living Room as fast as I could, and there in my cardboard box I had left for Santa with my name on it, was a magnificent specimen of a ballerina doll. She wore a pink ballerina costume and pink silk shoes that laced up her legs. She was about 2 1/2 feet tall, and had arms, legs, and feet that moved. There was also coloring books and colors, a huge red apple, an orange, Christmas candy, and a variety of nuts in the box. Wow, what a sprcial Christmas it was on the Christmas that I received two dolls.

(Helen Wires Talley)

Christmas, without a doubt, is my mother’s favorite time of year. When we were children, she would start planning and saving for Christmas gifts before Valentines day. My daddy was a welder and made just over minimum wage for most of his working career and it took most of that money to put
food on the table and clothes on our backs so if there was anything extra, the money had to come from somewhere else. My mother ironed clothes for people and one year stands out in my mind. With the pennies she earned ironing shirts and pants for the business folk of Dora she managed to buy my
sister a Sylvania transistor radio with a leather carrying case; she bought my older brother a pellet gun and me a Huffy bicycle that I rode until I was grown. She also somehow managed to buy a few gifts for other neighborhood
kids whose families were less fortunate than we were.
Our house was always decorated with a live tree and lights as big as goose eggs. We also had several strands of bubble lights that had to warm up before they started bubbling. With all the gifts and the lights, our tree was more colorful than a lot full of Toyotas.
When I got drafted in April of 1971, it almost killed my mother. Viet Nam was still a hotspot and likely destination for Alabama boys with limited “pull”. She asked me as I was getting ready to leave, “do you think they’ll let you come home for Christmas?”
The first year I was stationed at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey and I was able to come home, but the second year I was in Panama and coming home was not an option. She sent me boxes of candy, gifts and Christmas cards from all of my family and friends. When I called home on Christmas eve I could hear all the commotion in the background, but the noise did not drowned out the sadness in her voice. She said it sounded like I was a million miles away.
This year when mother fell in early December and broke her hip, the pain was almost unbearable. I came in after work a few days after the accident and she was crying. I asked if she was in pain, she said her hip was hurting but that was not why she had tears in her eyes. “I won’t get to be home for
Christmas.” I was crushed. I was so distracted by her accident that it had not crossed my mind that she still might be in the hospital for Christmas. She has ALWAYS been home for Christmas.
As it turns out, we’ll get to spring her on Christmas day and we’ll have a few hours to be together and sing Christmas carols, open gifts and eat turkey till we spew.
Mother will be home for Christmas and for this I am grateful, but there are thousands of men and women in the armed services who will not enjoy this gift. My heart goes out to them all, and to the their mothers who undoubtedly feel their children are a million miles away.
Merry Christmas