I sat on mommy’s lap listening to Sister Nora sing Amazing Grace. The sounds slowly faded into oblivion as I clung to mommy with my head buried in her blue gingham bosom. Her wavy long hair of golden brown tickled my forehead and the smell was something straight from an angels dream. I rested my right hand above her breast while my left hand hung limply behind her back around the edges of the cane bottom chair. The last words I heard were, “When we’ve been there ten thousand years”.
The voice of a man brought me back from that precious slumber as I heard him say, “Grace, let me help you”. I was picked up by a man, and cradled in his arms, as he gently put me to his shoulder and brushed my red hair out of my face. A touch of softest love caressed me as I rested my head on his red cotton shirt. I was so fascinated by the whole atmosphere; I just kept on pretending like I was asleep.
Mommy held back the curtains that hung on the door and we entered a dim lit room of dancing shadows and lights. I was tucked into a feathery bed crossways with two other children about four years old just like me. The only difference was, they were asleep and I was wide awake.
The man gently put his coat over me and whispered, “There sweet little baby girl, sleep tight”! He stood up, smiled down at all of us and as the lights twinkled on and off, I saw his face. He took her hand in his and put his finger to his lips saying shhhhhhhhhhhh and they tiptoed from the room.
It was him, that man who paid mommy so much attention at all the church services. Sometimes he was even invited to have dinner with us. I wanted to tell him that mommy was all I ever had in life and please don’t take her from me!
There was a Christmas tree in the corner of that room reaching all the way to the ceiling with lights twinkling on and off. I had never seen a light on a tree. We made popcorn strands, butter bean and pinto bean strands for our tree. The twinkles of that tree took my mind away from mom, the man, and the prayer meeting.
I couldn’t move a muscle as I watched in total delight. One second it would be cave black inside that room and then the next second it was all lit up with dancing figures all over the walls and ceiling. My heart exploded with joy and my lips begin to whisper all the songs that mommy taught me since birth about a little baby boy born in a manager in Bethlehem.
I felt like I was wrapped in a blanket of warm light as I watched and sang. I don’t know how long I was in that room having the best time of my life.
When the prayer meeting was over, the main light flooded the room while the congregation collected their coats and children. I still pretended like I was asleep as that man picked me up in his big strong arms with mommy right by his side.
As we walked up that little holler toward home, the snow started coming down in little white cotton fluff balls.
Mommy started giggling as the fluff balls caught her mouth. Hiram laughed, grabbed me in his arms and started singing, “Here comes Santa Clause, here comes Santa Claus right down Santa Clause lane”. I was bouncing high up in the sky thinking about colored twinkle lights and snow flakes.
As mommy tucked me into bed that night I said, “Mommy, can we have some of those pretty lights”? Mommy shook her head and said, “Honey, we will have to see”.
On Christmas Eve, Mommy said, “Sweetie Pie, I have invited Hiram over for some apple cider and cheery cobbler.” Very timidly I said, “Ok mommy”.
A little later, I heard the knock on the door and mommy smoothed her pretty green dress down and went to the door. He walked inside the parlor, smiling from ear to ear as he placed a red package inside my lap. He said, “This is for you honey, but there is one thing you have to do, open it now”.
Open it, I did, and those twinkle lights were in that box!
Merry Christmas 1950 !
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