CHRISTMAS-TIME ON RUSSELL STREET
(a memory) By: Linda Fryer
Christmas-time on Russell Street
from childhood through our teens
Grampa helped us do our shopping
cause kids dont have the means
On Christmas Eve we wrapped the gifts
Chose our socks from Dads old drawer
Which we hung with pins upon the chairs
very close to the front door
We didnt have a chimney
but it really didnt matter.
Mom told us, "Santas MAGIC,
hell 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
"Twas the Night Before Christmas
were the words we longed to hear.
Now the lights were off, wed said our prayers
but sleeping wouldnt 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 Id 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 Grampas up,
we shouldnt 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
But finally, when she knew
we couldnt 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 wed 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 Dads 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 well never let them fade
Because Christmas-time on Russell Street
God and families made.
© Linda Fryer, 1994