Thoughts on life from Pat Oaks
When we are with friends or just sitting around talking to each other this time of year, the conversation usually turns to Christmas memories from the past. Inevitably my first thought goes back to a Christmas when I was about 12 years old.
We lived in a tiny little house in Fountain City, Tennessee. There were 6 of us living there. My Mother and Daddy and my two sisters and my brother. Mother and Daddy slept in one bedroom and my 2 sisters and I slept in the other. My brother slept on what we called a roll away bed behind the dining room door. Every morning it was folded up so that we would also have room to eat in that room. Mother's sewing machine was also in there as well as a dining room table. My brother Jack had a chest of drawers for his clothes.
This particular Christmas, Jack was stationed in Paris Island. No one had said whether he was coming home , so I was a bit sad. I loved my big brother. He was 12 years older than me and he had always treated me like a pet! When he hung out with his friends, I was usually there as well. I remember going to the "station" with him to meet his buddies, riding high on his shoulders. (The station is where the trolly cars used to come when I was a little girl. After we no longer had them we still called the area around Fountain City Lake "The Station".
It was Christmas Eve and my younger sister, Teresa and I had already gone to bed. I don't know where my older sister, Millie was. Probably on a date. She was 10 years older than me. Teresa had gone to sleep (she was 5 years younger.) I was trying to go to sleep so Santa could come, but was wide awake.
All of a sudden I heard something! Was it Santa? (Yes, I still believed at age 12). I climbed out of bed and tiptoed into our tiny kitchen. "What to my wondering eyes should appear" but my big brother. This was even better than Santa!
After hugging me and telling me to be very very quiet, because he had come in to surprise everyone, I went back to bed. I don't think I slept at all that night. All of a sudden it was 6 in the morning and I heard Daddy shaking the coals down in the living room stove!
I don't know what I got from Santa that year. I don't know what we had to eat. I don't know if there was snow or not. All I know is that my big brother was home. That was the only gift I cared about.
I miss him.