Friday, December 23, 2005

The day before the day before

Chattanooga, Tennessee 1950,
Christmas on Market Street (yes, this is before I was born).

December 23rd was always one of my most favorite days as a kid. We were fresh out of school with only two days to go before Christmas. It was wonderful frenzy - lots of secrets and hiding things and going off with Daddy to do last-minute shopping for presents or groceries. (My mother raised me to believe that grocery shopping was a man's job - Daddy loved it and Mother hated it, so it all worked out.) Anyway, if you went with Daddy you could talk him into all sorts of treats - a new kind of cereal or Fritos or a Tootsie Roll Pop, so it was worth the effort for a kid to be present for that.

We'd always venture to this one little shopping area that had a big Rexall Drug Store, Stone's Hardware, Red Food Store (where you could buy any color food, actually), and this toy store (can't remember the name) that had a big sign out front that counted down the days to Christmas all year long. Nothing was more exciting than to drive by that toy store (I don't think we ever went in) and see "2 Days 'Til Christmas!" Oh, the anticipation! What would the next two days bring?

Daddy loved Christmas and was a wonderful Santa Claus - even the time "Santa" left some of the toys in the attic. That year Daddy, tired from a very early wake-up call, had to retrieve them when Mother noticed things looked kinda sparse under the tree. Still, he never lost his Ho-Ho-Ho.

So December 23rd is the day that I think of as Daddy's Day - moreso than the official Father's Day in June. Daddy with one or two or all four of us children piled in the car, picking up a few things here and there, stopping in at the filling station - "gas station" to anyone born after 1970, I guess - to greet Mr. Snyder (we were regulars) and swill down the obligatory Grapette - our own little Christmas rituals.

Daddy died in April 1999. Happy Daddy's Day, you great loving soul.


Johnno said...

Some more great Christmas reminiscing. Thankyou Mary, have a great Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Memories, memories...things I had forgotten...Rexall Drugstores...signs that count down the days till Christmas..."filling" stations... and a Dad you're so glad was yours, but who will never be forgotten! Thanks for the trip!

Anonymous said...

It's January 13 and I finally got to read this tribute to our Dad. It's just as you say and you do say things so well. Thanks...I'm going to copy it for your niece and nephews!
love, sister

LuCy GrAy said...

Never knew where my hatred of grocery shopping came from.... Now I know!!

I think too that Christmas is my Father's Day. I miss my Daddy more at Christmas than any other time of the year. He always made it amazing and special. No matter how much or little we had.


MaryB said...

Yup. Mine, too. Thank you, Mother! I'm glad you and your daddy have wonderful Christmases. I remember them that way. Love you, xoxox