It was ’bout midnight on Christmas Eve of 1979. The ride home from Granny and Grandpa’s was takin’ forever. Least it felt that way to me.
We had been celebratin’ Christ’s birth all day long. I was frettin’ on how Santa would leave my presents if we weren‘t home when he got there. We didn’ have no chimney.
‘Fore I could ask Daddy to hurry up, my stinkin’ little brother, Bubba, curled up in a ball with his head on my side‘a the seat. He wouldn’ move for nothin‘, so I sprawled on top’a him. Bubba must’a been real tired ‘cause he never moved a muscle. My eyes were wore out, so I let’um close and started thinkin’ on our day.
We had got up that mornin’ and rushed around gettin’ our ugly, green station wagon loaded with food and presents. When we finally left, Bubba started singin’ “Randolph , the Bowlegged Cowboy” at the top’a his lungs. Right ‘fore I punched him so he‘d hush, Mama and Daddy started singin’ too. There’d be a whuppin’ waitin’ for me if I punched him then, so when they got done with his song I started singin’ “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”
When we finally got to my Great Granma’s, there was food and people everywhere. After huggin‘ Granma and Great Granma, I wiggled through Mama’s brothers, sisters, and all my cousins to get to the Christmas tree and find a spot for all the gifts I was carryin‘. When I dumped the presents and turned back around, I thought there weren’t no tellin’ how we all squashed into that itty-bitty house. I started tryin’ to figure how many’a us there was ‘til Daddy was ‘bout to say the blessin’ and told me to hush up.
After dinner, us younguns kept bouncin’ off the walls ‘til them grown-ups finally let us open our presents. Course, soon as we opened’um they shewed us outside. We didn’ care ‘cause that’s where we wanted to be anyway.
Mama hollered for me and Bubba when it was gettin’ dark. We whooped for joy the whole time we were runnin’ to the wagon. Mama let us keep carryin’ on ‘til we were pullin’ onto the highway. That’s when she turned around and fussed that she didn’ care how excited we were ‘bout gettin’ to Granny and Grandpa’s ‘cause we were gettin’ on her last nerve.
We barely had time to get done with “Over the river and through the woods” ’fore we saw Granny wavin’ from her front porch. I knew my Granny’s arms were the first place I was headin‘. Mama went on inside with the women folk to get supper ready whilst Daddy found a spare rockin-chair by his brothers.
‘Fore I could get done huggin’ Granny, my cousin, Billy, was darin’ me to climb the magnolia. Course he knew Mama weren‘t gonna let me climb in the dark. Even though I was Granny‘s only granddaughter, I could climb higher than any’a them boys.
My favorite part’a the night was when Aunt MaryLou read the Christmas story. When she read ‘bout Baby Jesus, it’s like I was right there. . .
I woke up on our couch that Christmas mornin’ to the smell’a Mama cookin’ biscuits. From the pile’a presents under our Christmas tree, I knew Santa had figured his way in. It was time to open them gifts and I couldn’ quit grinnin’.
When Bubba started stackin’ presents up with his name, my grinnin‘ stopped. I thought I’d been a good girl, but there was only three’a them gifts for me. “Only sissies cry,” I told myself, but it was real hard not to.
Those rotten tears snuck on out’a me when Daddy told me to go to my room. I couldn’ figure what I’d done wrong. ‘Fore Daddy could see me cryin’, I did like I was told.
I didn’ never figure openin’ the door to my bedroom would be like openin’ them pearly gates’a heaven. Behind Mama was the prettiest off-white and gold trim canopy bed. There was a matchin’ dresser and make-up table too! There was even a pretty pink bedspread with matchin’ curtains! I couldn’ believe my eyes!
Mama nearly fell over when I ran and straddled her. She said my hollerin’ nearly deafened her too. Still, I figure there weren’t no Christmas like my Christmas of 1979.
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