Christmas Dreams

December 3rd was a cold day in Eldorado. The Lions Club had prepared numerous Christmas Baskets for all children who attended the Christmas Matinee at the Orpheum Theatre. The Matinee was A Christmas Carol with the Scottish Actor Alistair Sim portraying the role of Mr. Scrooge. The theatre’s only auditorium was packed with happy and excited kids full of the Christmas Spirit. Times were tough for many of the families of the Orpheum audience. Eldorado had been a booming coal mining town in its day…but that day had passed. There were churches all over town but no taverns…Eldorado was dry. There was a Billiard Hall where a young man could sow his proverbial wild oats as long as the sowing did not involve more than the Hidden Smoker Cigarette. Billy B. and Dennis W. were accustomed to purchasing a pack of Marlboros for the Old German Ticket Taker and one to split between them…between shows. Mr. Scrooge was in a wonderful form that afternoon. As Scrooge began to speak with the Ghost of Christmas Past…Billy B. and Chet fell asleep from the Peppermint Schnapps that Lanny W. had given them before entering the Orpheum…while they were still in his hot rod car…and both drank lustily…

‘Take hold of the skirt of my garment and we will explore your past Christmases,’ extolled the Ghost of Christmas Past. Scrooge and Billy B. and Chet grabbed some cloth and off they flew through the cold night air of Victorian London. Suddenly there was Billy B. looking in at his house in Sauk Village near Chicago, Illinois. His Dad and Mom were laughing and he was on top of his Dad’s shoulders and the Christmas Tree must have been ten feet tall… Nat King Cole was singing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Neva J. was dancing with him and his Dad.

Chet was seeing a totally different Christmas scene. As he and the Angel of Christmas Past and Billy B. and Scrooge peered into the window of his little home in Parrish Addition…there was his Dad laughing as his Mom read the Christmas Story from the Bible. Chet’s Dad said that truly the birth of Christ was the greatest gift that man had ever received and he laughed some more in spite of himself.

Then the three Christmas Time Travellers were inside the Methodist Church. It was grand with the hanging of the greens and the candlelight Christmas Eve Service. The congregation began to sing Silent Night and in the front pew were Carol and Thelma Brooks…Chet’s parents…and Neva J. and Bill Brooks…Billy B.’s parents. The look on all of their faces was angelic. ‘How can this be…Angel of Christmas Past…you must know that my Mom and Dad are divorced and I have not seen my Dad in years…and Chet’s Dad is deceased…, asked Billy B?

The Sun was brilliant on December 3, 1963. After Billy B. and Chet had received their massive Christmas Gift Baskets from the Eldorado Lions…there was Bill Brooks smiling and holding out his arms for Billy B. to jump into them and ride on his beloved Father’s shoulders…and there was Carol Brooks laughing and motioning for Chet to join him in some Christmas Cookies and Hot Chocolate…

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