My Uncle Gene (one of my dad's younger brothers) has a lot of good Christmas stories that read just like the oft - anthologized Christmas chapters from Little House on the Prairie. For example, I like the one about the family friend by the name of George Rogers who dressed up as Santa and delivered a dishpan full of candy and toys using a wooden sled to imitate Santa’s sleigh. A couple of Christmases ago, Uncle Gene told my siblings and me a story we had never heard before about our dad Willard:
I’ll wax nostalgically with you for a bit. It would seem to be the season for such things. Old memories, taken out and polished up, become as jewels and this one is such. It concerns your dad, and took place many, many decades ago in the long ago days of the 1930’s.
As you know, we attended the small white frame church building located about half-way between Oilton and Drumright, Oklahoma. It was home to a fairly large number of “Saints” who came from oil lease communities and small towns within at least a 20 - mile radius. The leader of the little flock was a severe appearing gentleman named Benjamin Franklin Pollard, or as some called him, BF, shortened by the older smart alec kids like Robert [i.e., our eldest and much - admired uncle] to “Beef.”
At Christmas time there was always a program along with a tree, and Santa would come in at the end with a bag of small treats for the kids, there being a very large number of us. With the Bunch family (7,) the Carriker tribe (6), and the Rogers family (6,) it accounted for 19 young - uns. There were also some singles and smaller family groups, so all told there was a passel of kids.
On this particular Christmas the kids were putting on the program, as usual. Strangely, I have no recollection of what anyone else did for entertainment; but I well remember little old Willard’s contribution to the festivities:
"What shall I give Him.
As poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would give him a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part—
Yet, what I can I give Him,
I’ll give him my heart."
How touched we all were to imagine our dad as a little tyke memorizing his part for the pageant!
My sister's response summed it up for all of us:
seem a little closer this season.
Love to all, Peg
Week Three, the Candle of Love
Quickening the Pace:
"Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.
~ Washington Irving ~
Love is time and space measured by the heart.
~ Marcel Proust ~