Wednesday 22nd December, 2010
Boots & Rod. Photographed
by Edward, May 2010. ©2010 By Stanyan Music Group. All Rights Reserved
A Thought for Today
Christmas is another word for love.
A FLIGHT FROM6THE
25 December, 1998
A CHRISTMAS STORY from Finding My Father
Being a night person, most of the time Mom worked the swing shift in
North Las Vegas, first in Lincoln Snyder’s soda fountain and later as a
barmaid at the Northside Tavern; but once in awhile she would trade
shifts, which meant that if it was summer and there was no school Billy
and I would be free to go where we wanted to without much supervision.
Our favorite place was the city dump..
If it was a weekend and there was no one around we would play on the
tractors and cranes that moved the rubbish and debris. During the week
we’d slide on our bellies past mounds of refuse, hiding from the
attendants, who would always try to chase us away.
One Christmas Eve one of the bartenders got drunk and couldn’t report
for work the next day so Mama worked a double shift. It was wonderful.
We had the whole day and evening to play at the dump and it was our idea
of a real Christmas. What treasures we found that day. A floor lamp, an
easy chair with half the stuffing gone, an old box of somebody’s
discarded toys, old clothes, and more bottles than we could possibly
carry to the market to redeem for the meager deposit.
Sometime during the afternoon it occurred to us, as a surprise for Mom,
to redecorate the house with the furniture and odd bits of bric-a-brac
we’d found at the dump. Billy had a red and yellow wagon and we must
have made twenty trips, lugging all our goodies home. Of course, to make
room for these treasures, we had to move all the furniture and trunks
already in the house out into the front yard. While we were doing this,
someone came by and thought we were having a rummage sale. I couldn’t
believe it when Billy came running in to tell me he’d been offered $5
for Mama’s dresser. What a source of newfound money!
In just over two hours we were able to sell all the furniture we’d moved
out on the lawn, plus the curtains from the windows, pots and pans. And
Mama’s doilies. We even sold the oilcloth off the kitchen table for
It would be dark soon and so we had to complete our refurbishing before
the light faded. I don’t think either of us ever worked so hard. In the
end we were both so tired we fell asleep on the torn and soiled, but
pretty, satin bedspread we’d replaced on Mama’s bed after selling off
You can imagine her surprise when she came home from working two long
shifts serving drinks to merrymakers and refereeing bar bouts between
Christmas drunks.. Perhaps ‘surprise’ is not the correct word. I’m not
sure what is.
Mama was too tired to spank us but she screamed and cried a lot. Though
at the time we couldn’t understand why. She had the new floor lamp. Even
if it didn’t work it could probably be fixed. And, our latest kitchen
table was larger than the old one. I had nearly mashed my thumb while
hammering a two-by-four in place to replace a missing leg. It now listed
a bit, but the angle wasn’t so bad that utensils and plates would likely
The curtains were very different from the old ones; while there were
only three windows in the living room, there were now twice that many
curtains on them. I distinctly remember Mama having said many times that
she’d like to get rid of that old junk in the house. ‘Just for a
change.’ Well, now she had her change. We hadn’t yet found a replacement
stove, but there were more than enough pots and pans left over from the
sale that could be used if and when we did.
Mom continued to look dazed, but she came to life again when she started
to sit down on the new davenport. It collapsed completely under her, all
three sides falling away. It was then that I handed her the envelope
containing the money we’d received from the sale of the old furniture:
$71.30. It had been planned as a Christmas gift all along, and Billy had
written in crayon on the outside of the envelope, To Mama, Merry
Christmas from The Katzenjammer Kids.
Mama didn’t speak for a long time, but when she did she just looked up
and said, "Merry Christmas." And it was.
- from "Finding My Father," 1975, 1976.
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