A Poor Christmas

Billy B. said, ‘You do not really understand how the Poor see Christmas…unless you have been poor.’ ‘I recall when there was no Christmas Turkey…or Christmas Goose…or Succulent Christmas Ham for the Holiday Feast.’ He remembered the Christmas where he wanted a Daniel Boone Action Figure…that cost $3…and Neva J. told him that she did not have the money…unless Santa chose to bring him the gift…that looked just like the 1960’s actor, Fess Parker, who portrayed Daniel Boone on television.

The Holiday Excitement abounded in 1963. Billy B. and Chet were planning on enjoying Christmas together at Chet’s house with his mom, Thelma, and Billy B.’s mom, Neva J. Neva J. was busily making her Famous Coffee Cake and Green Bean Casserole for taking to Chet and Thelma’s Christmas morning. They had a 1957 Chevrolet Convertable…and they could not get the ragtop to come up. It was going to be a cold ride. Neva J. had sliced up the Commodity Cheese that she and had been saving along with the Potted Meat that she and Billy B. received on a monthly basis as part of the Commodities Program. Thelma…who was recently widowed…was planning on having Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs…uncooked for Chet…but cooked for the rest and she had purchased some hamburger at Poor Boys Market in Harrisburgh…to round out the event. Neva J. and Billy B. knew that they could have joined the family Christmas Dinner at grandma Grace’s house…but they felt marginalized after Billy B.’s dad and mom had divorced. Everyone would be talking about all of the Christmas gifts that they received and there would be a Christmas Goose and a succulent Christmas Ham…and a Giant Roast Beef…which had been Neva J.’s specialty…before the divorce… Both Billy B. and Neva J. were a bit weary of the pity and the constructive criticism.

So, Christmas Day had finally arrived! Neva J. and Billy B. had loaded the 57′ Chevy and brought with them a Christmas gift of Chritmas Kitchen Towels for Thelma and a bag of small Army Men for Chet. They were wrapped up from head to foot as the temperature was 10 degrees…and the chill factor would be several degrees below 0…for the Holiday Journey. When they arrived at Chet and Thelma’s house in Parrish Addition…there was Chet awaiting them on their front porch. He helped them in with the food that they had brought and the Christmas Gifts. Thelma was busily frying hamburgers and boiling Hot Dogs for everyone… except for Chet…who preferred them cold. Neva J. and Thelma were happy to be celebrating Christmas together…and there was no thought or mention of what they did not have…but rather their many blessings.

Knock…Knock…Knock…was sounding loudly from the front door. At the door was a large gentleman who was dressed as Daniel Boone…and he laughed and said that he had gifts for all in the house. Before Chet could ask him who he was…he grinned and turned on his heels and walked out of sight. As Chet opened the bag of gifts…there was a large roast and a succulent ham and the biggest roast goose that anyone had ever seen…and in the bottom of the bag was a Daniel Boone Action Figure. for Billy B….and a GI Joe…for Chet. Also…two envelopes were addressed to Neva J. and Thelma…and when they opened them each had a job offer at the Ben Franklin Dime Store that was next to the Orpheum Theatre…they were overjoyed but wondered how the man dressed like Daniel Boone had known that they had both interviewed on the same day…

Santa asked, ‘Did you deliver the Christmas Magic Bag…Fess?’ ‘I sure did, Santa, and you have made a tremendous difference in four people’s lives…’

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