This is one of my Hoosier Girl stories. Things I remember. It may not be what other members of my family remember, but I’m sticking with my story.
Sleds and Santa
A heavy blanket of snow covered Daddy’s Indiana farm. Katie looked out the kitchen door and saw drifts of snow on the sidewalk and back porch. Daddy came in the back door carrying an armload of firewood to put in the big black iron stove that sat in the kitchen. As Katie ate her breakfast of hot sweet tea and cinnamon toast, she felt warm and cozy. Daddy sat at the head of the table and Mommy sat next to him. They were discussing what needed to be done that day on the farm.
Katie’s brothers came down from the cold upstairs. Katie’s bedroom window had had frost on the inside of it that morning! She had not wanted to leave her warm nest in her bed.
“Hey, let’s go sledding this afternoon,” said Andy. That sounded like a great idea to all the children First all the chores must be done before play. On a farm the livestock comes first and all the animal must be fed and watered before anything else. The eggs must be gathered before they froze in their nests. That was Katie’s job. Soon they were all bundled to go outdoors to do their chores.
The cold wind whipped Katie’s face as she walked to the chicken house. Inside it was warm and the chickens began clucking and stirring when they saw Katie. Sometimes Katie would have to reach underneath a setting hen to take her egg. The hen would not like this, but it had to be done. Eggs were never left to be hatched in the hen house. Mommy used many eggs in her baking each week and the ones she didn’t use were carefully washed and crated and taken to the grocery store to be sold to the grocer for him to resell. Mother’s chicken eggs were especially good. Thy were always fresh and the yolks almost orange. That was because the chickens were allowed to peck and scratch outside and eat a lot of different things besides the ground corn Daddy fed them. The eggs purchased in grocery stores today have very light colored yolks and are not always as fresh as they could be.
After a good hot midday meal, Katie and her brothers dressed in several layers of clothes and snow boots and gloves and hats and went out to Daddy’s workshop where the sleds were kept They walked down the road to a hill owned by a neighbor, Mr. Bond. Sometimes he would have cows in the field where the hill was, but they never came near the children.
They climbed over the fence and trudged through the deep snow to the top of the hill. It seemed gigantic to Katie. The first few times sledding down were not very good because paths had to be made through the snow. After a few rides down the hill it became slicker and slicker until you were absolutely flying! At the bottom of the hill was a small grove of trees that had to be maneuvered through. It was dangerous, but fun at the same time. Sometimes the Clevenger boys, who lived across the road, came over and joined the fun. The boys liked to throw snowballs at one another as they sled down the hill. Katie liked it when they threw snowballs at her even though she cried for them to stop.
All too soon for Katie it was time to go back home. She was chilled to the bone but hadn’t noticed while she was sledding. Back in the warm house Mommy made hot chocolate and Daddy popped corn and made popcorn balls. After all the exercise it all tasted so good.
Sometime during the winter season Daddy and Mommy began whispering to one another and hiding things from the children. It was Christmas time, one of the best times of the year for a child. Soon after Thanksgiving the Christmas tree would be cut down and set in the front room and decorated and Mommy would put the red plastic wreaths with the red bulbs in the windows. A plastic Santa riding a reindeer was one of Katie’s favorite Christmas decorations. It lit up and looked so merry.
Katie became so excited that she was about to burst with excitement. There would be a Christmas party at school and a special Christmas program at church to celebrate Jesus’ birth. It was all wonderful.
As Christmas drew nearer Katie could hardly contain herself. What would Santa bring her this year? Then, finally, it was Christmas Eve. One year Katie wanted to stay up and see if Santa was really the one who brought the toys each Christmas. She begged Mommy to allow her to stay up if her older sister, Joanne, stayed up with her. “You may stay up, but you will be asleep before Santa gets here,” said Mommy.
That night Katie and Joanne each picked a chair to sleep in. With pillows and blankets they prepared to stay up and see old St. Nick bring their presents. Katie waited and waited until she felt her eyelids becoming heavier and heavier.
All at once there was a soft glow in the room Katie rubbed her eyes because she could not believe what she was seeing. In front of her, so close she could have touched him, was a short, round little man in a beautiful red wool suit with the whitest fur trim. He had a grand beard that covered his chest. Katie sat in silence for fear the man would notice her. It was Santa Claus and he might be angry to see her watching. Suddenly he turned around and looked directly at Katie and smiled at her and said, “Go back to sleep, Honey.” Katie felt no fear, but a feeling of love surrounded her. The next thing Katie knew she was waking up in her own bed. It was Christmas morning.
The children all had to wait until Mommy and Daddy said it was okay to come down the stairs. When they did. there was a mad dash to get to the Christmas tree to see what Santa had left them. Katie doesn’t remember what she got that year, but she does remember it was the year she saw the real Santa Claus.
I remember this as though it were yesterday. It is as real to me today as it was when I was a little girl. I believe. Bye.