The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Christmas at Our House

By Eula Golding Walters © 2014

Online: December, 2014

Christmas at our house, which straddled the Carroll/Grayson County line, back in the late 40s and early 50's was indeed a magical event. I'm not sure who enjoyed it more...we four of what was eventually to be eight children, or our mother and dad as Daddy played Santa. I'm far from being a poet, but I've attempted to capture some of my memories of those sweet times with the following lines.

Twas the night before Christmas, and all thru the dark
Many memories are stirring within my heart
Christmases past stroll sweetly thru my mind
Memories so dear from a long ago time.

By the Blue Ridge Parkway, in the shadow of Fisher's Peak
My memories of Christmas I will forever keep
On the Eve of the day a tree would appear
Decorated with ornaments used thru the years
A cardboard star wrapped in foil,
chains made from paper colored and brought from school
And crinkly tinsel ...the more the better was the rule.

Smells began wafting from the old wood stove
Mother's famous pecan pie topped with cream from the cow
and walnuts cracked on a rock by the road
filling the apple sauce cake that Daddy loved so.

A trip to the outhouse
The oil lamps blown out
Then we were put to bed
with visions of oranges and candy dancing in our heads.

Sleep was elusive and we continued to wiggle
Covering our heads to smother our giggles
When out on the porch we heard such a clatter
The door flew open causing our teeth to chatter
The sight before us caused us to pause
Standing in our bedroom was ole Santa Claus!

A pack on his back quickly caught our eye
No children could ever have been more surprised
"My sleigh is waiting over by the Parkway
The elves are watching the deer that lead the way
Now get out of bed and we'll go on the sly
I will take you for a ride high in the sky."

Then he realized that it just couldn't be
If he took us out we soon would freeze
We were dressed only in our undies and petticoats
'We better not go or we'll wake your folks."

Then he proceeded to empty his pack
How did he carry so much on his back?!
A wagon for John and for me a dolly
Books and hair barrettes for Janet and Shirley
Because they thought dolls were folly

There were oranges and candy, all so sweet
peppermint sticks and horehound
Oh, what a treat!

Then shushing our chatter with a finger to his lip
He bid us good night and out the door did slip
We heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight
"A happy Blue Ridge Christmas to all
and to the Golding children a good night!"

As those young years sped swiftly by
Santa often appeared right before our eye
A peek thru the window or upon the roof
He even tried to put me in his sack as a spoof

Oh, the Eve that he stumbled on a broken wagon in the path
We ran out to see him flat on his back
As we scrambled to grab our toys that were rolling south
we marveled at the words that came out of his mouth
"Santa cusses just like Daddy", my brother said
Although the truth never entered our heads.

One fateful day as we played in the barn
We discovered a Santa suit that had been well worn
Every piece was there, hat, suit, beard and all
We dressed up John and laughed till we did fall

Feeling so proud we ran to show our folks
And couldn't understand why Daddy didn't like our joke
The suit disappeared and so did Santa
Never again to show up at our house on Christmas Eve.

The years have come and gone and I am far from my Blue Ridge home
But still I cherish those memories of many a Christmas morn
Thru the years I learned that Christmas is all about the baby Jesus
and not the man in red who used to come see us.

Still, those precious memories are dear to my heart
A piece of magical childhood that will never be forgot
In honor of those days and the memories so dear
my wish tonight is for peace on earth and a bright New Year.