It seems like Christmas is everywhere. There are little candles in people’s windows and there are brightly lit Christmas trees showing in houses, in town, as you drive by at night. That is what Kay told me at school. We don’t have our Christmas tree in the house yet, but it will be soon.
There was Christmas at school on Friday. Every year we draw names and buy for the person whose name we’ve drawn. I always hope I get the name of someone who does not have much money, because I know they will be happy with whatever we can afford to buy. Ma does the shopping and she can make money stretch, that’s for sure. If I get a girl’s name, I will buy a bracelet, perhaps, or a pretty pin at Brown’s Variety Store in Bethel. I always hope I don’t get a boy’s name, because what do you get a boy? I guess perhaps I could get a book or something like that. This year I got Kay’s name and she is easy to buy for because I know her so well. She likes pins, so I got her a Santa Claus pin to wear on Christmas Day. She was really pleased. I got three pretty hankies from someone. There wasn’t any name, so I figure it was a boy and he probably was shaking his head and wondering what to buy a girl. Maybe his mother helped him. Anyway, now we are off for about a week and a half over Christmas vacation. I am so glad we don’t have to get up early and wade out to the road for the bus.
This is Sunday morning and in the winter, Curt and I do not go to church at Grammy and Grampa Rings on Rowe Hill. I think it would be hard for Rev. Lord to find his way over and back when there are snow storms and some times the roads are not plowed that well. But today is a special day! This afternoon Rev. Lord has promised to come and get Curt and me. This is the day we have waited for so long! Curt says it is pay back for all the Sundays we went to church when we were tired and Rex stayed home and did what he wanted to do!
Rev. Lord is coming in the driveway and Ma is inspecting us to make sure we are “presentable” as she calls it. Curt has on a nice flannel shirt and his pants are held up by a pair of brand new suspenders he got last fall when we started school. Ma made me put on a dress and I hate it, because that means I have to wear the long brown cotton stockings to keep my legs warm. But today is the Sunday School Christmas party and I won’t argue.
Rev. Lord drives very carefully up the Greenwood Road and as we turn on to Rowe Hill, he shifts into a lower gear because although the road is plowed, it still has loose snow in it and is so narrow. I hope we do not meet another car. Today we are not going to have the party where we attend church, but we are going to go past the Bryant and Hanscom farm and go up a hill to the Palmer farm. I have never been there.
We are making the turn and Rev. Lord says he is glad that the long up hill driveway to the Palmer’s house is well plowed. I bet Mr. Palmer, himself, cleaned it up nicely. He is a hard working man and every summer comes to Greenwood Center with his horses and huge wagon to cut hay and haul it clear back to his farm here on Rowe Hill. Sometimes he lets us hitch a ride on the side of the hay wagon, so odds are that he also made the road nice, knowing we were coming.
The house is nice and warm! Winnie Hanscom and Elizabeth Palmer Bailey are both waiting for us and other children. We are soon ushered into the first room off the kitchen and Curt and I take a seat on the steps that lead to the upstairs. We are buzzing with excitement because there is a tree in the corner, decorated and little gifts underneath. Rev. Lord stands up in the center of the room and tells us the story of Christmas. We have heard it before, but he tells it in such a way that all the children are quiet and listen. Soon, some lady sits down at the piano in the corner and we sing “Away in a Manger”. That is one song all the children know and we are very loud. There are some who are singing off-key, but I guess that doesn’t matter. At least none of the grown ups seem to change expressions. I am sure that our song is echoing right down into the valley and right to our little camp on Indian Pond. It is that clear a day and the sun is sparkling on the snow.
Winnie is handing out the little packages. All of us are getting little crosses with a Bible verse in the middle. They are so pretty and I am sure they are home made. Someone put a lot of work in them. All the girls get a hanky and the boys some pencils! Curt is looking his pencils over and the cross. I tell him it is a pretty bookmark, but I don’t think he hears me because he is looking at a basket that Winnie is carrying. There is something in little white cloth bags and there are a lot of bags. Elizabeth is handing them out. What can they be? Curt takes one and says thank you. Good. He remembered his manners. He waits until one is handed to me and we open them together. What a wonderful smell. The bag is full of popcorn and in the popcorn are three pieces of fudge!! Oh, I love salt and sweet and this is soo good. Curt has popcorn in his mouth and reaching for the fudge when I slow him down, although I know how he feels. I would like to gobble mine, but we should save some to take home! Rev. Lord tells us that Winnie, Elizabeth and the other neighborhood ladies, probably Mrs. Sumner and Mrs. Brooks as well, sewed the little bags and then made the fudge and popped the corn to make the treat for us. We all say thank you together and Winnie and Elizabeth are smiling. I think they are happy to see us so happy.
We have been here two hours and it seems like we just got here. What a nice time we have had and we have a gift and candy and popcorn to carry home. Curt whispers that he bets Rex will be sorry he did not go to church and I nod my head and grin at him.
Rev. Lord asks if we are ready for the journey home, so we gather up our coats and thank everyone again. I don’t know which I like the best, the story of Christmas, the singing, the tree, the gifts, but I do know I will make the popcorn and fudge last as long as possible.
Christmas sure is a good time of year even if it does come with snow and cold.