Guest Commentary

Christmas memories

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Oh, What Memories. It seems just like yesterday when I was growing up in the community of Liberty City in the 1940’s and 1950’s.

How we looked forward to the Christmas Holidays with such a great anticipation. One of those memories was the trip into Kilgore from Liberty City when I along with my younger brother David wrapped in blankets would be standing in the back of an old pickup truck looking over the cab of the truck and heading into Kilgore for the Christmas Parade. There was just the Old Kilgore Gladewater road not Highway 135 as it is now. As we would approach the curve at Mt. Moriah Cemetary our excitement would start to build as the Lighted Derricks of Kilgore would start coming into view. What A Sight! Many more Derricks then. Not only did they have lights running up and down the legs but also decorations on the tops. We would come in the evening of the Christmas Parade. Santa Claus and his helpers would be riding the Fire Engine. Santa would be waving and his helpers would be throwing candy to the children who lined the streets on both sides. Downtown was all aglow and stores were open late and we might even get to stop by Longhorn Drug for a Soda. What a treat! As we headed home we had one more stop to make and that would be in front of the Merritt Tool Building to watch the mechanical Christmas Display and listen to Christmas music playing over loudspeakers. Doesn’t seem like so much compared to now, but somehow that more simple time left people happier than they seem now.

After a little while we would head for Granddad’s and Grandmother’s house. I was the oldest of 14 grandchildren, and my name for them was Big Momma and Big Daddy. All the other grandchildren had their special names for them as well, and it seemed that each fit them just right. Soon it was time to open the gifts. The children usually got one toy and it was supposed to last all year long because there would not be another. Then the adults would open their gifts which would probably be a jar of peach, plum or fig preserves and if they were real lucky maybe even some Watermelon Rind Preserves. The women would usually receive some handmade item such as a dress made from a flour sack with a bonnet to match or maybe embroidered pillow cases or crotcheted dollies. Each person seemed so grateful for what they received.

And there was Big Momma and Big Daddy in the middle of the room in their wooden rocking chairs with the cane bottoms. Big Momma with her gentle smile and soft laughter and Big Daddy smoking his pipe. OH, What Memories!

I was born December 7, 1941, and I turned 75 this year, and I miss all my family and friends that have gone on very much much, but I know with the hope that Christ and Christmas brings I will get to be with them once again. Merry Christmas to you all and may you all have that same HOPE.

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