Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Christmas story based on a true family event about real people
Real Santa, A Wonderful Sister and A Good Hearted Man
Our family had moved from town where my father had a steady job in 1941 to the farm where he and his four sons worked hard from sunup to sundown with little or no income until harvest in the fall. That was often meager and had to last until harvest the following year. There was little or no money left after buying necessities for the family, food staples, clothes for the kids, medicines and supplies for the farm.
Gay and I were still very young the Christmas Santa Claus almost missed our house. My brothers were too old for Santa Claus and our sister, June was a grown up young woman with a car and a job in town at the bus station. She usually arrived home before six o’clock in the afternoon. That day she was late. No telephone lines had been run out our way at that time, so June couldn’t call home.
Mother cooked supper as she always did but she told Daddy she was worried about June. “She is never this late coming home. I hope nothing happened to that old car. She could be stranded out on the road somewhere.”
We lived ten long miles from town with hardly a house to be seen on the road for the last six of them. The night was cold and dark. Few people would be on the road in automobiles. After all, it was Christmas Eve and most farm families would go to bed early.
The boys finished their evening meal and Mother washed dishes after she had carefully filled a plate and put it in the oven for June. Daddy settled down with his Albany Herald newspaper. No one knew that Mother had two reasons to be worried about June’s late homecoming. She didn’t fear so much that June had become a victim of a crime or that some evil had befallen her. Life was far safer in those days. If the car had broken down, as it had done before, June could stay in town with a friend. But this night, Christmas Eve, June was bringing precious cargo. Unless she made it home Mother knew there would be two very disappointed little girls when they looked under the Christmas Tree the next morning.
It grew late, nine, ten o’clock and everyone had gone to bed except Mother.She sat by the lamp trying to read and not worry. She had made chocolate fudge for Christmas day. She had a big meal planned for the family, but Santa Claus was supposed to bring two pretty baby dolls with eyes that opened and closed. She knew Gay and I had been dreaming of those dolls for weeks.
We never had toys from a store except at Christmas when Santa brought them. Mother was afraid that this year she was going to have to divulge the secret of Santa and admit the reason there were no baby dolls.
She read until her eyes would not stay open. She dozed off, her head resting against the back of her chair.
Money was scarce that year as it had been since the family moved to the farm. Mother had put the dolls on lay-a-way at Grant’s. June promised that she would pick up the toys when she got her paycheck on Christmas Eve.
With the toys in her car, she truly felt like Santa as she started for home. Before she made it out of town, however, the car began to stall at every stoplight. June turned around. She didn’t want to take a chance. She headed for Frank’s Garage where she found the mechanic still there. He listened to her story and though he was about to close up, he took pity on the pretty girl. While she sat for hours in his drafty little office he managed to fix up the old car. “I think you will get home okay now,” he told her. June had climbed in and headed out, thankful she could be there before morning.
“Mother, what are you doing up?” June stage- whispered as she tiptoed in with two big packages in her arms.
Mother jerked awake and jumped up to meet her daughter. “What on earth happened, Honey? I was worried to death.”
“That darn car. I’d still be in town if I hadn’t found a good-hearted mechanic. He hated to see me stranded and unable to bring home gifts for my little sisters.”
Mother took the packages from June’s hands and said, “ Come in here and eat your supper. You must be starving.”
After June ate her leftovers, mother and daughter took the dolls, one dressed in pink and one in baby blue, from the boxes and set them up under the tree. They placed a tiny tea set between them. Both smiled as they imagined the looks on the children’s faces.
Thanks to a kind mechanic who worked on the night before Christmas, and a loving big sister, Gay and I awoke to find we had not been forgotten and Santa had brought us the special presents we wanted.