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CHRISTMAS-TIME ON RUSSELL STREET

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(a memory) By: Linda Fryer

Christmas-time on Russell Street…
…from childhood through our teens
Grampa helped us do our shopping…
…’cause kids don’t have the means

On Christmas Eve we wrapped the gifts…
…Chose our socks from Dad’s old drawer
Which we hung with pins upon the chairs…
…very close to the front door

We didn’t have a chimney…
…but it really didn’t matter.
Mom told us, "Santa’s MAGIC,
…he’ll sneak in without a clatter.

And on that night, a special treat…
…Us kids, we slept together,
And we yearned to see a flying sleigh…
…No matter what the weather.

Grandma always read the story
That we waited for each year…
"‘T’was the Night Before Christmas…"
…were the words we longed to hear.

Now the lights were off, we’d said our prayers
…but sleeping wouldn’t do
We knew that Santa brought our toys,
…but loved ones brought gifts too.

So we pressed our ears against the door…
…to hear what we could hear.
And we giggled under covered mouths…
…when we knew our folks were near.

They knew what we were up to…
…and they tip-toed best they could
Struggling to stuff the socks,
…the way that Santa would.

Before the dawn, we kids awoke…
…first one, and then the others
I always was the first to wake…
…and I’d whisper to my brothers…….

"Its Christmas, its Christmas!
…Last night I heard the reindeers leap!"
But older brother cautioned us…
…"Mom and Dad are still asleep..
And they told us, until Grampa’s up,
…we shouldn’t make a peep!"

But the excitement in our little heads…
…was too much for us all
So opening our bedroom door…
…we crept into the hall.

"HEY YOU KIDS," a gruff voice hollered…
…"NOW YOU GET BACK TO BED!"
But we knew Dad was teasing us…
…We stood very still, instead.

Now THIS was the hardest part…
…waiting for the others
They seemed to take the longest time
…to me and to my brothers.

And who was last, remember?
…and always made us wait?
It was Grandpa in the bathroom…
….six minutes..seven..eight

But finally, when she knew…
…we couldn’t STAND it anymore
It was Grandma, who would scold him,
…and force him out the door.

Of course he did it all on purpose…
…with a twinkle in his eyes.
And everybody laughed with glee
……as the sun began to rise.

And now he held his camera up…
…so he could get a shot..
of the wide-eyed, smiling faces…
…and all the toys we got.

We all sat down and stuck…
…our fingers deep into our socks
For every year, we knew we’d find…
…An orange, a silver dollar, but never coals and rocks.

We played new games that afternoon…
…upon the old oak table
Dad played and Grampa played…
…whenever they were able

But the radio was always on…
…a football game to hear
And my brothers and the other men…
…gathered very near

At dinnertime, our tummies growling…
…this was always fun
We had turkey, we had dressing…
…lots of food for everyone.

The famous cabbage salad…
…was a very special treat.
And Dad’s oyster dressing…
…was HIS favorite thing to eat.

At night we gathered up our toys…
…and took them to our room.
A doll, a game, a baseball bat
…Bedtime always came too soon.

So Christmas-time as kids…
…all those many years ago
Never disappointed, never changed
…The joy was ever so.

We want to thank you, Santa…
…for helping Mom and Dad.
And for Grampa and our Grandmas
…and for all the fun we had.

Those memories are special…
…and we’ll never let them fade
Because Christmas-time on Russell Street…
…God and families made.

Linda Fryer, 1994

 

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