The next day after Daddy posted the sentimental memoir from Clarke College back in 2001, he continued the reminescence, moving a little farther north where he would finish his education at Mississippi State. The following gives a glimpse into the life of a circuit riding preacher in the Deep South during the previous generation. So on to another unedited episode from “Daddy Tales” . . .

Daddy’s Mississippi Country Christmas

Last night I shared with you one of the best Christmas experiences.
As I thought about that this morning I was also reminded of one of the worst
Christmas experiences. This one took place the first Christmas we were
living next to Mt.Pisgah Baptist church in tmtpsgachrch1.jpghat little four room tenant
farmer’s house with four rooms and a fire place for heat.
The house had been vacanrt for several years when I asked the owner
if we might be able to use it when we moved away from Clarke. I was to
graduate from clark in the middle of January and I did not want to
continue in school . Again we did not go home for Christmas because of
shortage of travel money,ut we did spend a few days at the church and had a
couple of work days on the house.
The ladies worked insid the house with Mama. When some of them say the
wide gaping holes in the outside walls they suggestthat they get some of that
extra heavy wall paper to be hide the cracks as well as give the inside of
the house a better appearance.
The men work on the outside with me. There was lots of trash to be
moved and weeds to be cut. also since the only heat foir the house ws the
fireplace they also cut down some trees for firewood.
This was the huse that had no well for water nor toilet for taking
care of those other needs. There was no outhouse but plenty of hiding places
on the edge of the yard. After we moved in I built my first outhouse, it was
a one e=seater.
I received my diploma from Clarke about ten oclock that morning and
two men from Blythe Creek church came down to move us in their large truck.
That was a ninety-five mile trip each way. By lunch time we were on the road
. By night fall our furnituer was unloaded and we spent our first night in
the country.
With that background now I move on to the next Christmas. This was
a big deal for Janice and Buster. Janice was old eto really be interested
in Christmas and Buster was over two years old and he,too was interestred
. The three of us went out into the woods to cut our first Christmas tree.
When we got it home we began trying to decorate the thing,but how do you
decorate a Christmas tree when you have nothing with which to decorate it.?
Well, I don’t remember what we did for decorations but at lest we did have a
Christmas tree over there in one corner of the bedroom and a couple of times
the mailman droped large packages off and the smaller packages within the
larger packages were spread out around that trree and we had a real Christmas
tree. Talk about suspense! This thing Buster is holding over our heads is
nothing compared to the suspense and anxiety in the hearts and lives of two
small children.
The weather was about what you would expect at that time of the
year. It was cold and the fire in that fire place was all we had for the
cold. But we did have a feather bed for our two little ones to sleep in. I
would heat two large stones in the fireplace and a few minutes before we
put Janice and Buster into the bed I would put those hot stones in the bed to
warm it for them . The feathers were so deep in this thing that when Janice
and Buster were lying in the bed all you could see was the covers ,smoothly
spread over the two occupants. They were actually buried in those warmed
feathers.
Christmas morning was somewhat disappointing. Something was
wrong. The excitement that had been building up for the last couple of weeks
and had about climaxed the night before was gone. Mama and I were sluggish.
Janice and Buster were the same. The Christmas tree and all of its packages
did not seem to really exist.
Finally ,as though you were pulling teeth,packages were being
opened. I don’t re,e,ber what SantaClause had left for Janice but Bustr’s
Mawmaw had not forgotten her two year old grandson nd sent him a real
electric train. I put the thing together but there was no enthusiasm.
Actually it was just as if there were no electric train there. I put it all
up. Later in the day I again tried to get some interest in the train and
other things that had been hiding in those packages under the tree but to no
avail. It was a tough Christmas Day the four people,two adults and two
small children, had picked up the bug and it turned what was supposed to be
and exciting happy day,into a day of gloom.
Undoubtedly that was about one of the most disappointing
Christmas’sI hav e ever had.
The moralk of this story is ” Stay away from anyone who has the bug
from now until after January 1.

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