Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas memories

Christmases, for me, a long line of memories. There are the long ago shadowy ones so ancient that all I remember is my old doll with new clothes made out of the stuffing from the living room chair and a small can of talcum powder that would find its way to every corner of the house. And the Christmas that Dad’s back and ribs were so broken, he could hardly walk.

“Don’t go to work this Sunday,” my mother had said. “Something bad will happen on that tractor.” “Nah,” Dad said, “We just had it fixed.”

But that Sunday, at Happy Holme Dairy, a hay bale fell from the top of a huge stack and hit the tractor and my Dad. Even the steering wheel was broken. 

Happy Holme Dairy
But there were dolls under the Christmas tree and candy, oranges, apples and nuts.

With the five thousand dollars, given to compensate for a broken body we bought the old 80 acre farm in Northern Missouri.  Christmases there were unforgettable. Snow, always snow then. A ride in the wagon across the icy creek to cut a Christmas tree. Colored construction paper chains and silver shimmering paper to guild the tree. A sled and a nurse’s kit!

And then a move to the little town of Pattonsburg. I ruined the Christmas play one year. The measles came to town via me! The chiropractor who came to our house because I had a fever said it was just my back. (The doctor was out of town.) But finally, someone decided I had the measles.  I just wasn’t breaking out. And I still remember the ongoing cups of whiskey, honey and tea, to make me break out. My head still spins when I remember.

God broke through in a lot of those Christmases. Country school was full of Christmas. Stories, carols and the radio program, Back to the Bible; we listened as faithfully as we listened to the Long Ranger and Red Skelton. Sitting watching the snow blow across the road our world opened to the gospel.

My Mom, Maxine Attebery Trotter
But it was back to California, watching my Dad’s body grow worse and my Mom start down a long road that would take her home. God was in that mix and although the Christmases were hard there was a light for me that had not been there before. Jesus was entering my world in a real way, not just as a babe in the manger, but as a Savior who died on the cross.

I worked away from home, some of the time as a live in housekeeper, but there was the day mom called me home because she thought she was having a heart attack. She wasn’t, but she gave me my present before Christmas a beautiful gold bracelet. And because there wasn’t a lot of money I bought a small Christmas tree and we had Christmas. I was fifteen, and I came back home and stayed there until the next summer. And that was the year, in the spring, that Jesus entered my life. Funny how God plans all of those details.

Jesus was always there, He is present, and He is coming again. He is the great gift of Christmas.



will spotts said...

Viola - I find it almost funny (that's not quite the right word) that you get a large response on certain posts - the usual suspect types, while others seem to get no comments.

This one, for example, is great - you share information that is personal and special to you, and it prompts me to ponder a lot of my own memories.

Nonetheless, it has so far received no response.

Viola Larson said...

Will, I am receiving a few responses in other places. But thanks for your response: )

will spotts said...

I'm glad to hear that - this put me in a good mood. May you have a blessed Christmas season.

Viola Larson said...

A merry & holy Christmas to you too.

Anonymous said...


I wanted to say I thought it was a very sweet post, and I specially liked the photo of your mother next to the car. I almost didn't after Will's snarky comment, but that is not your fault. I really liked the post. I felt the sorrow of your Dad's unfortunate accident and the pain and hardship it caused. I have to believe Jesus would have found you out one way or the other. But it is amazing how life has so many unexpected twists and turns. You never know what is going to happen next. It's all a wonderful adventure.


Viola Larson said...

Jodie thank you for your comments: I do like Will's also I don't think they are snarky at all.

will spotts said...

What on earth did you find snarky about my comment?