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Blessed memories of missed Christmas beatings

By Ricky Swindle

Muffler Shop Musings

Howdy, friends!

Christmas time’s a comin’, Christmas time’s a comin’. And now here it is all over us.

All the heathen young’uns are getting wide eyed and paying more attention to their manners, chores and such because the fat man is on the way.

We were not taught to believe in Santa when I was a kid. We had something better, we had Daddy Claus and Momma Claus.

Daddy and Momma were raised up with very limited funding, so to speak. I heard Momma say several times “We were poor as snakes.”

Daddy told us when we were older that he didn’t understand how Santa gave some kids all they asked for, and he only received a sack of apples and oranges.

In their minds they did not want us to receive injury as they had. We could ask for a certain gift knowing that we were at the top of the ladder with our request.

Momma would say “Whew, that’s pricey.”  Daddy would say “We’ll see.”

All these years later I do not recall one single thing we asked for that we did not receive.

Daddy would say “There it is boys, get after it.”

Momma, who worked at Panola Mills from day one, would say, “I hope you know how many drawers I had to sew for you to get that.”

We were raised to appreciate the gifts our parents bought us because we knew who the real Santa was at our home.

They doted on us two boys. Other family members would comment that there were never two parents that enjoyed their boys as much as Hubert and Annie.

To be completely honest, I am a bit misty eyed just typing and reminiscing about them. I miss them dearly, especially this holiday time of year.

Now,  even though we did not believe in Santa, we were told to not tell other kids there is no Santa, especially our cousins.

I recall one of the many Christmas death threats I received from Momma on the way to Grand Momma’s house. “Do not open your mouth about Santa, Ricky Lane. I ain’t playing. Do not make me whoop you on Christmas boy!”

I remember telling her one year, “Momma, you’re a Christian lady. Do you think the preacher would approve of you not only going along with this deceit, but also forcing me to do it? If you whoop me on Christmas that’s gonna be all your doing, it ain’t on me.”

She replied “You don’t worry about what I do, and the preacher is not in this car. You need to ask yourself if you want your teeth to stay where they are at, that’s your decision smart boy.”

Well, sometimes I kept quiet, but most times I did not. I never did get a Christmas beating although in retrospect I deserved many.

Momma was just a threatener anyway. She would go into great detail of the pain she was capable of unleashing on you.

Now Daddy, he was the old gunfighter Jack, and whatever disagreements you had with Momma, you best have all that fixed before he walked in that house because play time was over.

But, if he got tickled and got to laughing you had him. To say the least, me and Mike made Daddy laugh a lot back in the day.

Today is Dec. 23 and we are celebrating our Swindle Family Christmas just as Momma did all these years.

When Mike and I started our own families, and had so many places to be, Momma designated the 23rd as her day. She wanted to be first.

She had a good plan because by the time you visited seven different houses in two days, eating pretty much the same Christmas dinner, that stuff wasn’t as good as it started out.

Folks, I hope you can follow your same Christmas traditions also this year. There are a lot of my friends out there that have lost their loved ones.

My advice to friends who have lost someone is to always keep them in your hearts and minds. Take an aspect of their routine traditional Christmas celebration and add it along with yours. That way they can live on.

Take care of yourselves folks. The Good Lord’s got more for us to see.

God bless us, everyone.