The ‘worst’ Christmas ever

Published 5:26 pm Friday, December 25, 2009

Sandy Claus always knew just what I wanted for Christmas.

Mama said that Sandy Claus had to take toys to all the good little boys and girls in the world, so I had to pick out the one thing that I wanted more than anything else and that’s what I should ask for.

I’d write my letter to Sandy Claus and tell him what a good little girl I had been and ask him pleeeease for whatever it was I wanted that year– a Howdy Doody puppet, a plastic saxophone, a scooter, roller skates or a BB gun – one thing like that.

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On Christmas Eve, Daddy would come home with oranges, apples, dried grapes on a stem and a huge piece of peppermint candy wrapped in cellophane. The candy was so big and hard that he would have to break it with the hammer. He’d eat a piece and then take a bite of a soda cracker – “Now, that’s what Christmas tastes like,” he’d say, and I would take a taste of Christmas, too.

Then, Daddy would go to the car and get out a package wrapped in brown paper. It had come to the post office from Santa’s elves. Every year, I got a pair of soft, warm ski pajamas. Sometimes they would have skiers on them. Sometimes pine trees or snowflakes. If those ski pajamas had been all I got for Christmas, that would have been all right by me, but I was glad that Sandy Claus didn’t know that.

Every Christmas was a good one … until I was 10 years old.

That’s when I asked for a two-holster gun set. Not like the one in the Sears and “Rareback” as Daddy said. No. Like the one in the window of the Western Auto Store.

The holsters were black with a big red, ruby on each one. Around the big, red ruby was a white piece of leather shaped kind of like a flower and there were white leather tassels hanging from it. The black belt had loops with plastic bullets in them and the guns – wow! They were bright silver with white pearl handles with a horse and lasso and words that said “Roy Rogers.”

Now, Roy Rogers was my very, favorite cowboy. I went to the picture show every Saturday to see the western, and I thought Roy Rogers was the best cowboy in the world. I loved his horse, Trigger, but I did not like Dale Evans. She was not a cowboy, and she did not belong with Roy Rogers, the King of the Cowboys. No. I did not like Dale Evans.

All I asked for that Christmas was that two-holster gun set.

My bad self didn’t get it. I would rather have had a stocking full of switches than what I got – a Dale Evans cowgirl suit! A brown and yellow cowgirl skirt with brown tassels and a picture of “her” on a horse, and she was throwing a lasso that said “Dale Evans” and there was also a brown and yellow vest with tassels.

I could feel my lip quiver and tremble and tears came in my eyes but I didn’t bust out and cry because it was Christmas – but I wanted to.

Aunt Eleanor and Uncle Willie came to eat Christmas dinner and my present from them was a pair of cowgirl boots. “Try them on to see if they fit.”

I’d never been that ugly in my life – a frizzy headed, big eyed little girl standing there in that Dale Evans cowgirl suit with my knocked-kneed, bird legs stuck in those big ol’ cowgirl boots. It was the “worst” Christmas ever.

Many years later, I was cleaning out an old trunk in the storage house and, lo and behold, there was the Dale Evans cowgirl skirt. My lip didn’t quiver, but I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. I put it right back in that trunk.

A year ago, my little grandson found something he wanted in an antique store – a two-holster gun set. Now, he had no more use for that than I had for another hole in my head – but, as much for me as for him, I went back later and bought it for him for Christmas 2008.

But as often happens, when Christmas came around, I had no clue where I had put the two-holster gun set and never found it – until about a month ago.

So … under the Christmas tree in a big box is a two-holster gun set that his granma wanted with all her heart and that he probably doesn’t remember wanting. But, that two-holster gun set is a connection from my heart to his.

And, a tag about that Dale Evans.

In a box of dusty books in a junk store, I found an old copy of a book titled “Angel Unaware.” It was by Dale Evans and it was the story about a Down Syndrome child born to her and my favorite cowboy Roy Rogers. That child came to them as an angel unaware much as the Christ Child came to us unaware that cold night in Bethlehem so long ago.

A wonderful story of love and faith by Dale Evans.

If I could fit it that cowgirl skirt, why, I might just wear it after all.

Merry Christmas!