By far, one of my favorite Christmas stories was told to me by an elderly man- straight, slim and tall- he was a serious businessman, farmer and community leader. He liked the old ways; when I met him, decades ago, he told me this story…He confided he still wore a nightcap and nightshirt! Then he bragged a little on his wife, told me she could really squeeze a dollar, which was a high compliment coming from him! The old gentleman cleared his throat and said that one day his wife came home with an entire bolt of Red Flannel she had gotten on sale. He asked her what she planned to do with all of that Red Flannel, she said-
- ‘Well for one thing, I’m making you a new nightshirt and nightcap!’
- With a twinkle in his eye, as his tall slim body leaned close toward mine… the old man whispered, ‘I told her I couldn’t let her sew me a nightshirt and cap out of that Red Flannel because if I died during the night, and the kids saw me being taken out on a stretcher, why…they might think Santa Claus had died.’
- He had a great time laughing at his own story and so did I.
To this day I wonder if he was telling me the truth or a tall tale- I’ve been assured on good authority, that the old gentleman was always as good as his word! So, presuming everyone had a good Christmas story to tell…I conducted an informal Christmas poll. Most folks either don’t remember going to see Santa Claus or they recall almost nothing of importance about it-
- One said ‘I just know I wanted to make sure my list got turned in’– which was the most common response from men.
- Women really didn’t remember anything remarkable …One friend called her brother who promptly said – ‘Oh yes, we walked over to Western Auto and saw Santa’
- Another said ‘Well, most of the churches had someone dress up’
- Or like me- ‘We went to Birmingham’.
- Another said, ‘I just know when I was a kid, I told him what I wanted. But there was one Christmas when I was in high school. My girlfriend and I thought it would be fun to have our picture taken with Santa Claus’.
Now after decade or more of marriage-they still have that keychain picture which apparently their two children think is funny- and I do too…
Some had photographs- A fire truck and a skinny Santa or Mall Santas with mixed reactions from the children- some liked Santa, some had to be cajoled or tricked into seeing Santa, some just wanted down! Take this photograph, there were supposed to be five children in the photograph…one refused.
Some said they didn’t like Santa and still don’t. Adults and children do love holiday activities- decorating gingerbread houses, ice skating, decking out playhouses, reading or telling stories and more! And we adults, still love taking photographs of children by the family tree!
I love all the holiday photographs that family and friends have shared from now to way back when… With all of the hustle and bustle- A good reminder- based on the poll I took, children aren’t affected too much by one thing or another. Some folks are making a life time of memories. And some, who are no longer with us are greatly missed! Here’s wishing you lots of wonderful memories no matter where you are!
Love y’all, Camellia
Family photographs are from my private collection, please do not use without permission. The fantastic Nutcracker photographs are Jeremy Miniard’s- go to jeremy.miniard.fineartamerica.com to find more of his fantastic work!