Christmas 2011 Commentary by T. W. Bill Neville
Please excuse my use of the word "CHRISTMAS", but that's the way It's been all of my life and since I've got the power of the moment---so shall it be, until death do us part!
To say the least, I'm feeling pretty cocky today, having just been called a "keeper" by one of my long-time friends and associates. His point was that, suppose some morning you don't wake up, do all your family and friends know that you love them? Even if you are not sure that they all love you, it will be worth knowing that they knew how you felt about them, and it is in that spirit that I chose to share memories of this long-ago Christmas in Indiana.
As the oldest of 3 boys growing up in Indiana, I was always in awe of the coming of Christmas and Santa's expected visit. Being poor and I still don't know how my parents managed to always have a tree and gifts for us. I do remember that there was always a stocking with candy, an orange, and a small toy in it. There would always be two other presents under the tree. One would be a toy of some kind and the other, clothing of some sort.
When I was about 5 or 6, I overheard some older kids saying there was no Santa, and I asked my Mother about that. She assured me that there was a Santa and if I continued being good, that he definitely would be at our house on Christmas.
On that Christmas morning, when we woke up, there in our parlor, under the tree, was a Lionel electric train set. A steam engine, passenger car, and a caboose, riding high and dry on a circular track, with crossing signals and all on a circular track, rearing to go. Since I was the oldest, I got to play engineer and run the controls, and I think it was all the excitement, that as we approached a crossing, I passed gas. and I said to my brother, "Did you hear me toot for the crossing?" He couldn't pronounce his "s's very well and he said, "No, but I can ssshure 'mell the 'moke!" It wasn't until later that I often wondered if my asking Mom about Santa had anything to do with one of our grandest Christmas's?
As I write this article, after all this time, why of all my many Christmas's, I remebered this particular one so vividly. Maybe, other than the train, it was like something my Grandfather once told me. He said, "Inside every older person is still a young person remembering the joys of youth, and trying to get out."
So let me leave you with this----If you see a FAT MAN--who's jolly and cute---wearing a beard and a red flannel suit----as he is chuckling and laughing away---while flying around in a miniature sleigh---with 8 tiny reindeer along---then let's face it---your eggnog's too strong!!"
MERRY CHRISTMAS!! to ALL!! and to ALL a BLESSED and GOOD NIGHT!!