Twas The Night Before Christmas
Twas the night before Christmas, and all thru the town,
All were asleep, there was no one around.
I had long been tucked in my warm, cozy bed,
when the sounds of an engine roared thru my head.
I opened my eyes, looked about the dark room.
There is was again, Vroom, vroom vroom!
I threw back the covers, and jumped to my feet.
Rushed to the window and looked down on the street.
And what to my wondering eyes should show,
Redbird Knapp doing 360’s in the snow.
The road was all covered, with a blanked of white,
With his tire tracks all over, left and right.
With haste up and down the street he would go.
Hit the brake, turn the wheel and around he would go.
But as soon as I discovered this marvelous sight,
He tore ‘cross the bridge, disappeared into the night.
Be it a dream, or real, I’m not sure to say.
But maybe he will, maybe some day.
We used to live in the apartment above the drug store on main
street. My mother had her beauty shop there for a lot of years. Being
up high, I got to see things from a slightly different prospective,
such as the beginning poem. Obviously this took place in the winter
time, and winter used to be long and hard in Alderson. Being a kid, we
thought it was great. Sometimes school would be out for a while
because of snow. Back then, there was no snow removal. If there was
any, it was just the backs and shovels of men. But, for kids, it meant
sleigh ridding. Be it in the road, or climbing the mountains and
breaking trails, we could always find a place. It also meant getting "golashus".
I know that's not spelled right. Shoot, I couldn't even find it in the
dictionary. But, that's what we called them. Go-la-shus!
Winter also meant Christmas, and I don't remember a time that caused
more anticipation than Christmas, and that included the end of the
school year. Growing up in Alderson during the 40s & 50, this time of
year held so many great memories. And with me, it would start with
the arrival of the Montgomery Ward or Sear Roebuck catalog. Oh, the
toys they had. I would spend hours, it seemed, just examining each and
every one of them. Another thing in particular, was the pages that had
the fruitcakes on it. Now, I wouldn't give you a nickel for all the
fruitcakes in the world. I can eat cake, and I can eat fruit, but not
together. But they do travel well, because of being so hard. You have
probably heard the story of there being only one fruitcake in the
whole world, and it is passed on from family to family, Christmas
after Christmas. But, for some reason, I just loved to look at them. I
guess I connected them to Christmastime.
Speaking of toys, remember F. G. Lobban's furniture store? Standing
outside his store and watch that elaborate electric train set he put
up in the window, year after year. And, he had a toy layout that was
right up there with the best of them. If he were around today, I would
make an effort to apologize to him for me and all of us kids for the
mess we made playing with them.
Down the street a little further was Jim Russell's appliance store.
Jim was the Radio & TV guy. He would put up a horn speaker in the
corner of his doorway and play Christmas music. You could hear Bing
Crosby, Perry Como, Gene Autry, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and many,
many more. I know the sound was tinny, but it seemed to be just
another ingredient to set the mood of Christmas.
Decorations of the big pine tree on main street, the lights across the
bridge, Alderson's store. Still being decorated, even today. Most
folks would decorate their house, and it got to be a competition. They
used to give cash prizes to the best looking one. As far as I know,
they still do. As with most families, Christmas would be one of the
few times that all members would come home.
You may have noticed, at the top of this page, in the left hand
corner is a picture of Santa Clause holding a sign advising you of how
many days are left 'till Christmas. I put it there because, a little
picture similar to this used to be in the Beckley Post Herald. Every
morning during the month of December, it would be there to count down
the days, and I couldn't wait to look at the paper to see that it was
one day less, each day. Seemed to make it official.
One final thought on the bridge. Every Christmas, with its simple pipe
frame and string of colored lights, it still stands as a beacon to
those of us who still make that trek to Alderson for Christmas. And no
matter what direction you enter town, the sight of it says, "The
journeys over, you're finally home".
Please accept this as my Christmas card to each of you - Barry Worrell
- Christmas 2004