Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Remembrances of Christmases Past

All of us have a Christmas memory that holds a very special place in our heart. One of those for me took place in the small West Texas town of Pecos when I was in the sixth grade.

On that particular Christmas, my mom and dad had decided that it would be a waste of money to buy a Christmas tree since we were going to my grandmother's house for Christmas.

I wasn't too happy about it, but it wasn't too bad.  After all, in those days, every classroom at school had a full-sized Christmas tree which the children had the joy of decorating.  You probably remember the chains made of red and green links made from construction paper. Ornaments were cut-outs of bells, balls, stars, snowmen and other holiday items made by the students.  The best part was that the tree was covered with silver icicles.  Lots and lots of icicles. We thought it was a thing of real beauty!

When the time came for class to dismiss on the final day before our Christmas holiday, our teacher, Mrs. Stewart, stood up in front of the class and said, "Is there anyone who doesn't have a Christmas tree?" Faster than a speeding bullet, my hand shot up!  Since no one else raised their hand, Mrs. Stewart announced that I could have the tree if I wanted it.  If I wanted it? Of course I wanted it!

When school dismissed, I claimed my prize tree.  We only lived about three blocks from the school, so I walked home dragging my tree behind me.  When I reached home, my mom opened the front door and, with a surprised look on her face asked, "Where did you get that tree?"

"Mrs. Stewart asked our class if there was anyone who didn't have a tree and, since I was the only one who raised his hand, she said I could have  it!"

"Oh my!  I can't imagine what Mrs. Stewart must think of us!" my mother exclaimed.

I didn't understand why my mother wasn't as happy as I was about the tree, but one thing is for certain, we ALWAYS had a Christmas tree in the years to come...whether we were going to grandmother's house or not.