The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Wisdom Of Barnyard Bruke: "christmas memories"

Greetings to everyone in Western Illinois. Christmas is a sneak'n up on us mighty fast.

I'm a runnin' short of ideas for Christmas gifts fer it seems ever'one has about got what they wants, as their desires dictates what they wants, long before Christmas arrives.

It seems so many long years ago, in some of our more youthful years, that Christmas holds precious thoughts. Christmas memories of childhood on the farm are particularly rich, in spite of the fact that they were of a time that we was short of cash with little of the material comforts we think of as being so necessary for happiness today.

We spent much time, for weeks before Christmas, goin' through the pages of mail order catalogs "oh-ing" and "ah-ing" over pictures of things we would like to have, but knew there was little hope for.

We didn't expect to get anything from those catalogs of the things pictured and described, but it was fun look'n and dream'n. Money for all practical purposes was nonexistent, for anything but the barest necessities.

That didn't mean however, that Christmas was without its gifts.

Some fruit, some clothes, gifts made from Dad and Grandpa's shop, and much love was received in great appreciation.

It seems, for sure on look'n back on those days, that more important than the gifts was the magic of the season. It's spirit pervaded everything we did as we prepared for that special day.

Our farm chores our school work and even church itself were favorably affected by the atmosphere of that wonderful season.

Besides scour'n over the pages of those thick catalogs, we gathered up Christmas decorations and made new ones.

Strings of popcorn and glitter'n thing-a-ma-bobs prepared our home for Christmas, and we did it together. What fun we had.

We sang songs as we went about our chores and whistled many a fine Christmas carols to our livestock, dogs, and cats who seemingly enjoyed them.

We made our own music and listened to "Silent Night" over and over again on the scratching hand crank Victrola¨.

Electricity, indoor plumbin', and extra cash had not yet arrived on our family farm.

We learned our parts for school and church Christmas programs and worked hard to come up with a gift for each of our parents, grandparents, and one another.

It was no small task, to say the least, in times of no money.

That be'n what it was, everyone was especially thankful for the few gifts received even "if-n most of "em was homemade or homegrown.

Celebrations were held at school, church, and both sides of Grandparents homes.

"Christmas comes but once a year, And when it comes it brings good cheer!" -who could forget that little ditty that we learned so long ago? That foretold the beauty, magic, and wonder of those years eagerly anticipated.

Grow'n up on the farm, it was easy to understand the basic theme of Christmas. The manger scene was no stranger for us to relate to as barn work with livestock and all was an important component of winter chores. We all knew about birth in a stable (of our farm animals), and we had no trouble relatin' to the Christmas story.

By today's standards, we would have been considered back then, way below poverty level. The humble origins of the Christmas story were understandable to us. It wasn't that we felt so poor, "cause we were in the same boat as everyone else we knew.

The excitin' toys that were so tantalize'n as they were depicted in the pages of the mail-order catalogs, were fun to look at and dream over even though we well knew they would never be ours to possess.

The Christmas spirit to us was not merely dependent on the presents we might dream of receivin' but included the total experience expressed in carols, cards, music, decorations, fragrances, feast and family gatherin's.

Christmas was most certainly the time of loving friendship with goodwill toward all.

What kind of memories are you build-n for your children and grandchildren today?

When you think about it, isn't it the memories you've made with family and friends and the gather-n "round the table in fellowship and love rather than the gifts that you cherish most today.

Me and the boys wish you and your families an ole fashion Merry Christmas.

Keep on Smilin'

Catch ya Later,

Barnyard Bruke