I was visiting with an old timer from Minnesota the other day and thinking of the old days. This is delving into history during the Great Depression in the 30s and 40s when money was mighty scarce and holiday presents were usually clothing or things needed instead of toys.
In the farming country of Northen Iowa, small spruce trees were hard to come by. In our fairly large grove around most farms, there were cottonwoods and large spruce as wind breaks. When it got close to Christmas, my father would grab an axe and saw and my brother, 9 years older than me, and head to the grove. He would start looking for branches to cut off which, when stood in a bucket of sand and wired together, would resemble a tree. After my mother got out her box of saved up decorations and we hung them on the tree with lots of tinsel and rope plus the long string of paper chain. My sister helped me glue together it and the popcorn chain and paper cutouts pretty well covered the fact that it looked a lot like it should. We loved the gifts, even though there was very little money to buy presents with.
The most exciting year for me was when my sister had gone to work in town and at about 7 years of age, opened my present, it was a football and with snow on the ground, I threw that ball all over the yard until my dog and I got tired of chaseing it around. In our days, the holidays were centered around the church and their activities. I would guess that almost 95 percent of the people were active in some way or other in their preferred religious choice. In our government of today we have a majority of members who have no Christian or religious core, meaning the ten commandments mean absolutely nothing to them. How sad it is.
Our families getting together and the love of the occasion can never be forgotten over the years. I talked to my brother the other day, 90 years old and a World War II veteran, and myself have, at 81, reached the end of the chain, but memories of greater times can never be erased from the minds of your loved ones.
Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year to all.