Friday, December 18, 2009

Ghosts of Christmas Past

My friend, Deena the Poet, sent me this card -- you may recall my comment (confession) that Roy Rogers was (is) my hero. Deena created the card for me herself, and I, of course, am thrilled to receive it. It will take a place of honor beside the Roy Rogers birthday card a reader sent me a few years ago. (Apparently I must tell EVERYBODY I love Roy Rogers.)

Anyway. Deena's card made me think of what was probably my best childhood Christmas ever. I was three, and Roy was in his Hey Day (See below.)

At the time, we lived a block or so from the Rockwell Theater, where Roy appeared regularly on Friday and Saturday nights. I absolutely loved going to the Roy Rogers movies. Roy and popcorn. It didn't get much better than that. I remember the agonizing wait for the movie to actually start. I liked the cartoon, and I didn't mind the previews so much, but oh, that newsreel. (How long, how long?) The newsreels are where I got the idea that President Harry Truman and that other cowboy movie star, Gene Autry, were the same person. (What can I say? They looked alike to me.) I remember, too, that I didn't quite grasp the idea of Santa Claus or why he would want to bring me a present, so imagine my surprise when he left me a pair of red Roy Rogers cowboy boots like the flat-heeled ones on the poster below. Red! Roy Rogers! Cowboy Boots! I think they must be the reason I still love red shoes.

I loved those boots so much -- I'd like to have a pair now, that's how much I loved them. But it wasn't just the boots that made this particular Christmas so special. It was also a white Christmas, one of the very few we've had here in my lifetime. It's even documented in the family photo archives. (See below again.) That's me -- my face is scrunched up because the snow was blowing into it. I also seem to have socks on my hands. No little girl gloves, I guess.

And clearly this photo was taken BEFORE the boots arrived or I'd be wearing them. (I think I actually slept in them.) I don't know the purpose of the upside down barrel. The house you can almost see next door belonged to a banker. Well, actually the banker. I understand he wasn't a very pleasant man. I can only vouch for Mrs. Banker. I ran away from home to their house around this time, and she gave me a peppermint candy cane off their Christmas tree until my mother came to reclaim me. As a result, I liked her quite a lot.

Anyway, that was THEN. The photo below is NOW.

By my calculation, I would have been standing in the vicinity of the "N" and the "G." The banker's house is long gone, too, replaced by a medical office. And see the fire hydrant? I once stood there with three soldiers from Fort Bragg and helped them thumb a ride. At three, it was all very interesting to me -- trying to get a car to stop with one's thumb. We did it, though. I say "we," because I did my best to help. Which they said they appreciated. Very much.

And did I say it's snowing here tonight -- probably the reason I'm so nostalgic. Too early for an actual White Christmas, but still.

So. This concludes my trip down Christmas Memory Lane. Till next time...

P.S. The Roy Rogers "Christmas Is Coming" poster was a gift from the dh. (He's very understanding re: his rival.)

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