Monday, December 25, 2017

The Ancestors, Part 9

The weather stayed beautiful that first fall until after Thanksgiving.  Then suddenly we had winter snow and very cold weather.  There was an older couple on the section cornering us on the northeast who had come out from the east to be near a son who had a little store and a post office in a place about 15 miles east of us.  Clyde and Mr. Haines had made  couple of trips to Keystone together and Mr. Haines had helped in the Sunday school so when their son planned a turkey shoot in early December, the Haines asked to go over to it with them.  It turned out to be much colder when we got out in the valley and when we got to the Haines place, Mrs. Haines had a supply of nice turkeys on hand and a Blue rock machine.  They didn't shoot the turkeys, but shot the rocks and they were shot out of the machine.  Clyde had done that kind of shooting back in Kansas and was lucky enough to get three turkeys, which he won by good shooting.  Gene Wilson had ridden over, but he didn't get a turkey, nor did Mr. Haines, but we kept one and gave the other two to our neighbors.  Mrs. Haines cooked hers for Christmas and had the Wilsons and us to dinner.  Then I had them all for New Years and cooked our turkey, and Mrs. Wilson followed with her turkey dinner a week later.

Our First Christmas in the Sand-hills

Getting together with our older neighbors on Christmas was ok for Clyde and me, but the children were expecting Santa Claus.  We had a little program at the tiny tar paper school house and Ruth sang her first little solo, accompanied by her father on the violin.  She had been practicing around home so loud that we had to quiet her but before the little audience she started out almost in a whisper but soon got her voice and sang all four verses very well.  All the way home she especially talked about Santa Claus coming and we were just heartsick for the few things that we had ordered for they hadn't come, nor a package from the grand parents.  I had written to my mother in Illinois or a doll head (we could buy such things then) and some overshoes for both children around Thanksgiving time.  My folks were living near Peoria, but I didn't realize how hard it was for them to get to the city.  Anyway, nothing had come.
When we got home from the program, Clyde saddled his horse, picked up a big sack in hopes for some mail at the box, two miles away.  He was playing for a dance at Arthur that night so had to hurry.  When he saw the packages piled up around our box he realized that he would have to make a second trip to get everything.  We put all of the boxes in the frame room which we used for a bedroom that winter, and after the second trip it was time for Clyde to leave for Arthur.  Ruth was so excited to see so many packages, so I let the children stay up for awhile.  In my mother's box, there were many flat packages of Japanese paper holly when opened and out I really decorated our living room.  We festooned strings of paper holly from the center of the room to the corners and hung a big red paper bell in the center.  My mother had included some of the lovely ornaments that we had used on our xmas trees when I was child, but we had no tree so I took the books out of the shelf over the double window, lined the shelf with cotton and pretty Christmas scene with the decorations, a couple of little deer and a sleigh.
By that time Ruth was tired and little Richard asleep, so I got them to bed and unpacked the rest of the boxes.  I put the head on the doll body.  There were dolls from Aunts for Ruth and toys for Dick, and clothes for both children - the overshoes that I had asked for full of hickory nuts from my father's trees.  I worked until midnight putting things together and enjoying the first Christmas that was a complete surprise.   Clyde was surely surprised when he came home.  He hardly had a hours sleep until the children were awake and having to show him what Santa had brought, then the chores had to be done, too, but he slept some before we went over to the Haines for dinner which was a real treat for me especially.  I so seldom had a meal I didn't cook. 
And a very Merry Christmas to you, dear reader.

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