|I have this in the writing section|
Salt Mine Christmas
I traced circles in the frost on the window pane while waitin’ for the school bus.
Having started 1st grade the previous September I was quite proud of being able
to make numbers and letters so I wrote on anything and everything. The bus pulled up
and I ran out the door with my book satchel. Finding a seat on the bus was never a problem because there was only about 14 kids give or take that lived in these Salt Mine
houses. Their Daddys (and Daddy Fred , my grandpaw) worked down in the mines for
United Salt Corporation. All the Salt Mine houses were identical 3 room “shotgun”
Houses. I asked Mama Evie why they called them“shotgun” houses and she said it was because they were straight through from front to back. Front porch, kitchen, bedroom and
backporch. To be excused you had to go outside to the “two-hole” outhouse.
Mr. Hooper was the bus driver and a nice enough fellow as long as you behaved. He
didn’t tolerate no back talking and would put you off the bus real quick.
I got on the bus and he said ”What’s worryin’ you mr.?” I expressed my concerns that Santy Claus didn’t know there the Salt Mine was, that was no trees to cut down out here on the prairie, and that Daddy Fred said we couldn’t afford to waste money on such foolishness as Christmas trees . Mr. Hooper said not to worry because Santy Claus was gonna be at the General Store this Saturday coming.
Daddy Fred and Mama Evie went to town twice a month. Every other Saturday we
would pile in to Daddy Fred’s Ford and go for staples. “Town” consisted of a blinking light, a post office and the General Store. When we got to town there was a big commotion going on and people were lined up looking at something. I ran to the front and sure enough - there was Santy Claus! If you waited in line you could set in his lap and tell him what you wanted for Christmas. Mama Evie said I could wait in line as long as I was done talkin to Santy by the time they finished buying supplies.
“Ho! Ho! Ho!” Said Santy Claus, “ hop up here in my lap and tell me what you would
like for Christmas”. The first thing I did was ask Santy Claus if he was the “REAL”
Santy Claus and he said naw, that he was however an official Santy Claus helper. This
satisfied me so I told him how I was worried about the real Santy Claus not knowing how
to find the Salt Mine. Santy’s helper told me Santy Claus had known about the Salt Mine for years and not to worry. Again I was satisfied and told him about how trees didn’t grow on the prairie and I was afraid we wasn’t gonna have a Christmas tree. “Is
that all you want, a tree?” He asked. I said “naw, I want one of them wind-up chipmunks on a figure 8 track like the ones they sell in the General Store for $5.00.”
Santy’s Helper winked, gave me a peppermint stick and said “I’ll see what I can do”.
As I ran up the steps to go inside the General Store I turned and yelled “Don’t forget to tell Santy Claus I live – Santa’s helper butted in and said “He knows, you live in the last house, right?” Wow! This really was Santy’s official helper!
Salt Mine Christmas
On the way back home it was exciting stuff talkin about Santy’s official helper and
how Santy Claus was gonna get us a tree and me one of them wind-up chipmunks
that run around on a figure 8 track. Mama Evie and Daddy Fred seemed unimpressed.
When it came out in conversation about santy’s helper smellin like Old Spice only
Stronger, Daddy Fred snorted and said “Old Crow more’n likely” as he turned off the main highway on to 7 mile road and headed back towards the salt mine.
The days dragged on and on – still no tree. Each morning I would run out the front
and then out the back to see if a tree had sprouted as if by magic during the night…
This went on all the way up until Christmas Eve. No Christmas tree, no present,
not even a stocking, I was feeling mighty blue. They were playin’ Christmas music on the radio and that just seemed to make it worse.
One thing about 7 mile road, you could hear a car comin for at least 6 miles of it. I heard
something comin on Christmas Eve morning. I went out on the back porch so I could get a better look. It was just a speck in the distance … a big yellow speck.
Couldn’t believe my eyes when Santy’s helper pulled into the yard in Mr. Hoopers’
School bus! I ran around to the front yard just as Santy’s helper was pullin the biggest
tree you ever saw down from the roof. I looked Santy’s helper square in the eye and asked him suspiciously “where’d you get Mr. Hoopers bus?” He replied that since school was out and all that Mr. Hooper said he could borrow it to deliver my tree as per Santy Claus himself’s orders. Well, that satisfied me so I thanked Santy’s helper and told him
it was one fine tree. Mama Evie and Daddy Fred came out to invite Santy’s helper
to supper and he said he had to get Mr. Hoopers bus back to him, but thanks all the same.
Daddy Fred listened to the radio while me and Mama Evie made garland from popcorn
and thread. We spent till dark getting that tree decorated and it sure was pretty.
Christmas morning guess what? There was big stockings hanging by the tree with all
our names on them. Inside was apples, oranges, English walnuts, pecans and peppermint.
What a treat! Under the tree all wrapped up was a big box. It had my name on it and
inside? A brand new wind-up chipmunk that ran around on a figure 8 track.