"A Beautiful Christmas At Grandpaw's House"

    My Grandpa was a furniture builder. He was delivering a chair for a customer. While walking down the road with it on his shoulder he was struck by a automobile and was broken up quite a bit. he was in his seventies and lived alone. He needed constant care and wouldn't move in with us. My daddy couldn't wait on himself so Mama moved us in with Grandpa.

    Now Grandpa's house was a one of a kind. The dining room and kitchen had been torn down to the floor and used for firewood and the kitchen was moved into a bedroom. The house was so old, when the toilet was installed they were not allowed in the house, it was built in the back yard. it sure was a funny looking thing, there was a cement slab with a toilet bowl and pipe standing behind it with a square water tank on top of the pipe with a chain hanging down. it sure made an awful lot of noise. Grandpa didn't have to go far to get firewood, just pull a few boards off and burn the. Most of his windows were broken out, so Mama and my older brothers nailed cardboard to the windows. The walls were tongue and grove boards. Mama and the girls made flour glue and wall papered the walls with newspapers. not only did it help keep the wind out, there were a lot of different pictures to look at. Daddy could read the Daily News while in bed.

   One day while I was playing in the yard, my oldest brother came by driving his employer's truck. It was a 1929 Chevy flat bed, no body or door just two front fenders, a hood and windshield. They sat on a fish box for a seat. On the back of this truck was a little green tricycle. It had no seat and just one pedal and about that time Mama told my sister to take me around front for awhile but it was to late, I had already seen it.

    The next day my bother brought home a little skinny pine tree with extra limbs to wire on. My sisters cut out and colored stars, trees and boxes. I helped them make paper chains to wrap around the tree. Christmas Eve we hung our stockings on the mantel behind the cook stove. Grandpa was on one side of the stove and Daddy was on the other. There was a big fat goose in the oven and Mama and my older sister were baking a chocolate cake. The aroma from the cooking and the smell of the little pine tree in the corner were wonderful and every now and then someone would open the door of the stove to add more wood and the little sparks would jump out when the wood fire would pop.

    There was a hot tub of water cooling down so the girls could get their bath. After they were bathed, then it was my turn. My older sister led us to bed carrying a kerosene lamp and hot brick to keep our feet warm. She heard our prayers, tucked us in and turned down the lamp and told us to hurry to sleep so morning would come faster.

    We couldn't sleep and it seem they talked all night in the kitchen. When I woke up the house was as quiet as a mouse. I woke my sisters up, quietly we slipped out of bed. The lamps were kept burning low all night except in the hall. We tiptoed across the cold floor to the kitchen. It was still warm in there. We got our stockings down from the mantle. They were full of nuts and fruit. I looked over in the corner where the tree stood and there it was . It was that little green tricycle, gee it was a beauty. The seat was still missing and there was only one crank and pedal but I knew what to do with it. I stepped on the rear axle with one foot, bent over grasped the handle bar and started pushing with the other foot. My sisters were looking at their paper doll books and enjoying their candy. Boy this was a great Christmas. Mama came in and put more wood in the stove. She sat down with the girls and gave them a big hug. She was smiling but there were tears on her cheeks. the girls were holding up their little paper dolls saying look mama look and I was trying to show her my beautiful little tricycle.

    The older kids were coming in and looking at their little gifts and I was trying to get someone to go outside with me. I was ready to explore a whole new world on my beautiful tricycle.

    Grandpa and Daddy I am sure were awake and listening to us in the warm kitchen having a wonderful time, sharing our stocking and our love with each other Mama leading us in prayer, thanking God for such a wonderful Christmas and asking Him to let everyone have as good a Christmas as we did.

    By Joe Harris of Washington, NC of Beaufort County