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Carol Perkins: Christmas Cheer

Previous Column: Christmas Tales

By Carol Perkins

Decorating for Christmas back in the 1950s and 1960s was a family affair, and kept very simple. Not much frills, and no blow-up reindeer.

A few days before Christmas--or I should say nights, because it was dark by then--when I was barely a teen, my mother turned the overhead light on over the front steps and hung a wreath. We made the wreath from cedar branches wrapped around a coat hanger, and added a bow.

As she was lining it up and hammering a nail, my mother heard a moaning, stopping her in her tracks. Soon, she heard what could have been "help" coming from across the road.

Because of the dark, she couldn't see anyone, but she suspected who might be in need.

She suspected he once again might be lying in the ditch by the driveway that led to the tenant house where he lived and where his wife would surely clobber him when he arrived.

It wasn't the first time a plea came from that ditch, but it was the first time my mother was alone when she heard it. This man tied one on every year near Christmas.

She left the wreath and went inside to get my dad. He knew the routine, so he went next door for my uncle's help.

Together, they found the man, drunker than a skunk. They lifted him into my dad's van and drove down the narrow path where they dropped him off in front of his log cabin, buried deep beyond the main farm house.

As soon as the porch light went on, they spoke to his wife. They left before the tide turned from "thank you" to telling her no good husband what she thought. She knew how to use her fist.

Some memories are not funny at the time, but in hindsight, they make good stories.

Every year this man went out before Christmas with his buddies and got dog drunk, they dropped him beside the road rather than in front of his house, and someone else took him home or he stumbled down the road until he reached his porch.

My mother never put a wreath on the door after dark again, but the man continued to have his Christmas drunk. At least they had no children to have to endure this "Christmas Cheer."

You can contact Carol at

This story was posted on 2023-12-22 10:48:37
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