Letter to the Editor:
Hello friends and neighbors. It’s Possum Town News time! It has become a tradition that I tell my little Christmas story durin’ this time. So here it is.
I guess it was the Christmas of 1921. I was just shy of 19 and my beloved Mr. Williams was 33 years old. By the way, I have always loved older men. There just ain’t many around anymore. I guess they’re all married.
Mr. Williams, as I called him, and I had gotten married in the fall and we were very poor. We had just moved to Mississippi from Possum Town to work on a farm. We lived in what I call a “shot-gun shack” and we didn’t have a penny but we had each other. Bein’ newly hitched, that was all we needed.
It was close to Christmas and we were goin’ to have the best Christmas of our times. I remember our Christmas tree. It was probably the most wonderful tree I’ve ever seen in my life.
Not havin’ a saw or ax, Mr. Williams spent two days in the woods cutting down the most pretty piney tree with just his pocketknife. He dragged that big ol’ tree into the house. We set it up in an old milk bucket. I can still smell that piney tree today.
We decorated that tree with love and strings of popcorn cooked over an open fire. Mr. Williams had whittled little pine Christmas ornaments and the top was christened with a large star cut out of cardboard and covered with tin foil. I can still see the reflection of the flames from the fireplace a flickerin’ in that star. We hung two old worn out socks on the mantle, (by the way…they had been washed) and they were stuffed with peppermints and licorice!
Mr. Williams, unknown to me had been a goin’ to a neighbor’s house to use his tools to make me a hickory rocker by hand. I myself was secretly makin’ Mr. Williams a nightshirt by hand.
Well Christmas Eve finally came around and just like a kid, I couldn’t wait to see the gifts. Mr. Williams agreed. He snuck out of the house and brought in a beautiful hickory rocker that he had hid behind a bush in the front yard. I proudly presented my gift to Mr. Williams and I could see the sparkle in his eye when he saw it.
‘Bout bedtime, Mr. Williams proudly put on his new nightshirt and backed up to the fire before runnin’ and jumpin’ in a cold bed. Once you jumped in bed, you’d cover up with quilts.
Just as Mr. Williams was getting’ warm, the seat of his nightshirt burst into flames. Startled, I threw a bucket of water on his bottom, puttin’ the fire out but not before the entire seat of his nightshirt burned up exposin’ his rosy red cheeks. Mr. Williams was terrible upset ‘bout burnin’ up his nightshirt, but I couldn’t help but to laugh. Mr. Williams was very embarrassed about the whole situation, but made the most of it by continuin’ to wear what was left of the shirt.
We both snuggled in front of the fireplace ‘til he had dried off a bit. We had such fun that night. To this day every time I think of Christmas and Santa Claus and his whiskers, I think of those rosy red cheeks. By the way, if you stop by my house the hand-made quilt on my bed is made from the scraps of that old shirt. So when I go to bed at night, Mr. Williams in his own way still keeps me warm.
Well young’uns I need to get busy! I have a lot to do in a very short time. As always, remember to have a very Merry Christmas and if you’ve never been to Possum Town, you’ve never really been in Wilson County! I will write again when I can.
Eula Mae Williams