By Otis Griffin
Not long after hog killin’ Momma was ready for settin’ up and decoratin’ the tree with all the round shiny ornaments. (The phrase: lit up like a Christmas tree.)
Daddy had scouted round and selected one so we skipped along to witness the timely savage two hacks with his sharp double-bit. Friends, it took some plannin’ to chop down and drag a big cedar tree out of the woods so he could deposit it in the living room.
Daddy would hand saw the trunk perfectly square, then admirably nail the cross-way boards for stability and check to make certain it was level and straight.
Then he vigorously shook the tree as maybe a squirrel was clinging in the branches. Once satisfied the cedar wasn’t goin’ to fall on him while readin’ the Press-Scimitar at night; it was time to decorate the future firewood.
Neighbor, remember Momma’s famous last words as she finished taking down last year’s tree? “I’m ‘gonna’ store all the Christmas decorations where I can lay my hands on them.” “I am sick and tired every year, of searching for my cords, lights and snow icicles.” Never failed!
Hid too well! Can’t find ’em, It took some diggin’, kin to looking for eggs under the corn crib. Finally, guess what? Yep.
Momma would let me help with the decoratin’. (if I was ‘good’.) Daddy would hold me in the kitchen chair so I could throw snowflakes and danglin’ icicles. We had a few little figurines of snowmen and small angels tied to the overloaded, saggin’ branches. I don’t now how many times Emerson, Paul, Lynn, Arvis and Sammie fell off the chairs and into the trees tryin’ get ready for our red suited, white haired once a year friend of ours.
Many years later we reminisced enjoyin’ our kith and kin. Momma insisted there must be a worn-out bed sheet, hog-tied around the trunk to keep the wooden floor clean.
I was so small; the tree looked like a giant sequoia reachin’ the ceilin’, with the white guardian angel presidin’. The cedar smell filtered through the house and out the front door. If Santy got lost, he could shut his eyes, sniff and bloodhound the exact location to leave my toys. When the wind shifted, the cedar smell was so strong it would run a possum back into his persimmon tree hole. Brother, that’s stout!
Beloved, can you remember the multicolored tree lights were as large as duck eggs? It seems the extension cord was four miles long, and big as a plow line. When you are smaller than a bo’ weevil, everything appears huge.
Of course, after a year’s storage the cord was twisted, turned, and kinked like wadded up balin’ wire and ‘pert nigh’ impossible to straighten. After some good tuggin’, yankin’ and kickin’ like a snortin’ white faced bull, Daddy would sometimes lose his religion. Often Momma cautioned him, “I‘m glad Preacha’ Edwards ain’t ’round to hear you.” ’Nuff said.
Since all the lights were on one circuit, it was a sure thing one bulb wouldn’t glow. The only way was to remove one bulb at a time, then reinsert, hopin’ Daddy found the culprit and it’s a good thing we had multicolored spares or Santy would never stop.
Friends the decoration for Christmas was probably as much fun as wakin’ up on the cold frosty morns, after Santy had visited to partake of his milk and cookies. I tried to keep Santy happy, so he’d come back next year. There is no feeling on God’s Green Earth that excites and rewards the experience of little tots roundin’ the corner, sleepy eyed, smilin’, wobblin’, laughin’, tryin’ to clap their hands and squealin’, “Santy Claus come Momma and Daddy look.” I’ve seen Grandparents get teary eyed, frantically waitin’ while recallin’, “that’s the way Junior and Flo acted as they couldn’t sleep waitin’ on Santy.” It is worth all the emotions! “Rufus, click yo’ Brownie.”
Friends, Christmas is a special time of the year. Enjoy the holiday festivities, relaxation, visitin’, and celebratin’ with plays, singin’ and givin’ Thanks. Above all, be thankful for, “what you got and don’t squall about you ain’t got”.…GLORY!
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