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A Christmas to remember!
It was about 1967 and I had moved to Kansas with my parents. We had traveled by bus. And not in the traditional fashion, believe you me.
Dad had traded several things in for an old school bus that soon became the adventure ride of a lifetime!
The bus as I remember didn't have a heater and it was starting to get chilly early in the fall. My parents packed up everything they owned and loaded me up bunk beds and all.
My prize possessions back then included my soft flannel gown grandma had made, a red pjs baby doll and a quilt with sunbonnet girls all in beautifully decorated dresses. Grandma had made it as well and I had received it at the best Christmas ever, which by the way, had been every Christmas so far.
Grandma had an old singer sewing machine that had been such a blessing to me, but had not been so good to grandma. She had had a needle from that old machine run clear threw her pointer finger and she had to put up with the flattened look of it from that day on.
We were leaving all that I knew of goodness and love from the old town of Dixon. The old IGA store with the toy isle and Kenny the guy that would help you with anything you ask. And he did once when grandma had forgotten me at that same store not half hour after my coming to stay for a month with them!
These days it would have been a major catastrophe!! Lol..but not then. I wondered around a bit, of course no one noticed, until Kenny who had taken grandma's groceries out, ask me if I was back. Lol.. "no", I said." I can't find my grandma!" He figured out quickly that he thought he remembered her leaving.
As luck would have it, grandma and grandpa's house was just down a hill, around a corner and up a driveway.
But I crossed the road with every knowledge that the shortcut was clear as day. Half a block in and turn down an ally and straight into the back of grandma and grandpa's yard. Straight past the fence, past the sweet smelling strawberry patch, past the old barking dog who kept me and grandma awake, straight in the back door.
What a welcome I got when she looked up to see me running in the door!
More than a few laughs over the years were at grandma's expense to do with that one!
Aunt Gertie and Uncle Evertt Nichols, lived right across the road from them.
They were the best people anyone could ever dream up! Aunt Gertie stood 4'11 and was the best stand in mother any of us ever had! The softness of her sweet skin, talented cooking for large groups, even though they had no children of their own! And oh how she could talk! In the evenings we would set out side on their front porch. The little branch flowed across the flat sunken rocks and the frogs would sing the sun down. The slow traffic of the old town would start picking up with the coolness of the evening. And on we'd talk, about, well, nothing really. Kind of special, if you've ever sit talking about nothing, well you know then...
Grandpa had just picked up his new old blue truck and as I look back, most wonderful things happened when we were in or around it! We had once traveled to Arkansas in a day. Picked up the most luscious smelling red apples. And much to my surprise, sold them all the way back home. Grandpa had saved grandma one bushel full for her canning and wow were we tired when we pulled in that drive! Also grandpa and I had traveled past the old cemetery called Seaton. Out past beautiful tall trees and cows in the field. And all to shovel some gravel for the drive way from the old creek bed. Which by the way, was a bed for a whole group of copperhead snakes! plus figure long bridesmaid gowns
Grandpa moved quicker than any young person I'd ever seen, and off we flew!
Sunday's took grandma and I to her wonderful old church with the beautiful sounds of horns and strings and the blended voices of supernal and eternal, the words I loved from an old song the wonderful pastor and his wife had sang!
Grandma was a busy person, working hard to help in her church. Cookies and koolade served on huge big platters for us children at bible school. And I would smile from ear to ear, as I fondly told everyone each time, that that was my Grandma!
Yes, that, all that, precious memories, laughter, sickness, and wonderful holidays was what I was moving away from in the fall of 1967. It was quit the trip! Grandma's chicken to eat, soon ran out over the 11 hour trip! Oh my, what a distance we were going! I can remember thinking," how would I ever remember how to get back?!!!" Like I would need to know on my own.
The daylight would leave and return before we arrived. I thought the people were so nice and friendly though! They were waving and some even with both hands! As it turned out, we were driving on a busted flapping tire! Oh my, I soon climbed up in my bunk bed with my sunbonnet girls and covered my head clear up! Surely we were traveling to a wondrous place! For this was quit the adventure for a little girl who's just left everything she knew!
As I found out when we got there, we were being welcomed by a small group of folks from an old fashion church down the street from a park.
We lived a few blocks away and in a few short weeks I had had several adventures with an old haunted house, the path to and from the bus stop, and a dust storm that looked like the end of the earth.
The old church had welcomed people in that d idnt have a lot of means. Which basically meant, they were poor. Something I'd lived through, but never known of. Yes, there really is something rich about the love of family.
I remember I was allowed to walk around the little town and embrace the beauty of the little place. Neighbors were kind and allowed me at mom's asking, to walk through their yards to cut off a few blocks off of my walk to met the bus. Then the bus would cart us over and across town. Where the most wonderful teachers taught everything you needed to know. Once my teacher sent me to the principals office, all for him to wish me a happy birthday and pretend that he was going to give me birthday swats! Haha, what a blessing it was when I figured out he was just kidding!
Mom had tried to make our little two bedroom home as comfortable as possible. She would clean and organize and do her best to keep me straight and healthy.
The closer it got to Christmas the more lonesome I felt to hear my distant families voices and smell the old cedar trees with popcorn strands. I'm sure grandma and grandpa must have forgotten me by now! It had been such a very long time since leaving and waving goodbye!
The nights seemed so long! And the days scared me to walk by the old haunted place that looked like a witch was standing at the door!!
I would try to escape with my cover over my head, but the darkness only krept closer the more that I closed my eyes!
Would I ever hear or see my grandparents again?!!!
Then early at the break of dawn one morning, I woke to hear a familiar voice.
Mmmm...the smell of bacon from our sparse little kitchen gave me a smile and a jump in its self. But as my tiny feet raced across the floor, I could hear we were not alone in the little chilly house.
No, we were not alone at all!!!
It was my grandfather!!! Straight out of a dream right in my own kitchen! Needless to say the hugs lasted long and I sit on grandpa's lap even as he ate.
Oh how wonderful the eggs from the large box he had brought, and the crispy fried bacon that come from the old green cooler of his had tasted!
And in our living room an old cedar tree, some memory ornaments from moms childhood and a few packages with my name on them! Grandpa had made the 11 hour trip to my house just to bring me Christmas!
The old blue pick up truck had hauled all the wonderful things from the old Missouri place. A soft new flannel gown kept me warm while the snow was flying the rest of that year. And a red banana seat bike that I had admired from the window at the hardware store, had found it's way to my front door from my parents and grandparents.
It was a wonderful Christmas! Not everyone was there, but grandpa had brought them with him in away, on that long and lonesome trip to Kansas.
Many a Christmas has come and gone. And they have one by one went to be with the Lord. Even dad this past year.
But the memories of the old snow covered town of Dixon and the warmth of a place called home, and the love of family and friends around us, that's what makes each Christmas since be the most wonderful Christmas of all.
Merry Christmas to each of you my family and friends. May gods presence be the most special present you reserve this year.
Love and friendship, Sherry.