Friday, December 20, 2013
I grew up in a small southern town which is now quite large. I know we can’t stop progress but I miss my childhood home. Downtown we had a post office where everyone gathered around 5 p.m. each work day and shared the news and gossip. The drug store was very old even then with a long marble counter and rickety stools where you could order ice cream floats. These sadly blew your whole allowance but there are just some times you need to treat yourself. Like the fox in my story book said, “Chicken today, feathers tomorrow”.
Next to the drug store was our ten cent store, the magical kingdom for us children. The catchy slogan was “shop with Pop,” which was good because the owner’s name had a whole lot of consonants and vowels that we southerners could not get our tongues wrapped around. At Christmas this is the store where our eyes grew larger and larger as we dreamed that Santa would overlook our transgressions in November and grant our greedy wishes in December.
Across the street was Henry’s Barber Shop that we all used, but what we didn’t know was that on the second floor was where most of our parents stored our holiday treats. When I was 7 the unthinkable happened the week before Christmas. Henry’s Barber Shop caught on fire and the second floor was completely destroyed. My parents could not afford to go to Charleston and buy me a second Christmas. Telling me that Santa had allowed my new bride doll to become a pile of ashes was not an option. They knew I would gracefully accept that the bad boys’ stuff was gone but my stuff? Never. I had been really good for the last week, well as good as I get which is kind of shaky ground.
So mother, daddy, my sister, my nana and even our black lab Night put their heads together and came up with one of my “bestest” Christmases ever. Everything was hand-made with love and I couldn’t have been more relieved to see that Santa did have a forgiving heart.
I found out the truth about that Christmas many years later. To this day I am still amazed that I had been blessed with so much love.
Brenda Loyd Allred grew up in Summerville when it was a very small town. She now lives at Franke at Seaside with her husband Les.