Christmas in God's Country

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Joined: 06/03/2010

Christmas in God’s Country
          To remember Christmas in my early years takes me back to a time when small presents were the norm. We never had a lot of money in my family and in some cases I suspect I may have been called “poor” by some of my peers but I never felt poor. Some of my clothes were hand-me-downs and some were homemade. While we didn’t often get fancy store-bought presents we worked at odd jobs whenever we could to get money to buy what we needed and that gave me a sense of how important working for and appreciated a hard earned item was.
          Most of my money as a kid went to hunting or fishing stuff and only when those things were secure did I spend some of my cash on frivolous kid items. I enjoyed my childhood immensely and to this day I have never felt I wanted for anything. We enjoyed whatever came our way and never complained that we hadn’t gotten enough, even when we didn’t always get what we had wanted. Quite a few of the other families in our neighborhood were in similar circumstances so we didn’t really stand out too much as a poor family.
         We usually received the games and small gifts which were relatively inexpensive but still well appreciated by us. One season it was a Monopoly game which kept the neighborhood kids and I interested until the Christmas/New Year vacation ended. Other years it was clothes like jeans, flannel shirts or long underwear for our cold outdoor treks. We often got knitted scarves, hats or mittens my grandmother knitted for us and they were what kept us warm throughout the remaining winter months.
          Sometimes something turned up that really surprised me like the Christmas my mother had secretly saved up her spare change all year, which must have been hard on her budget, and gave my older brother and I a .22 caliber Sears rifle. We were so surprised but so very grateful and couldn’t wait to go shooting. We were cautioned about its use and we both have adhered to those cautions to this day. I have received many more expensive gifts over these past six decades but I can honestly say that 22 rifle is right up with the best of them! I still have it and it is a treasured piece of my life and times. I can attest to it being well used but it still shoots like it did when we got it and I still can pick a match head off a post at fifty yards with it!
          So Christmas to me is a compilation of fond memories and also of the hard times that forged resilience in me that has served me well. If only some of our youngsters today could experience half of what I did growing up they would probably be better off for it.