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  • Writer's pictureDoak Turner

Christmas Memories

Christmas Memories as of 2011

I write this Christmas morning, 2011 sitting in the living room that has so many great Christmas memories. It is quiet as many have been in the past years with just me, Mom and Jerry on Christmas morning, and now a time to reflect.

 But first, Christmas memories that stand out before moving to Vine Street.

Earliest Christmas memory was on Goshorn Street in Spring Hill, I remember a green Army helicopter with a little door that opened and white steps coming down to the hardwood floor.  

Around age six, I got a football uniform, red jersey, shoulder pads, white pants with the thigh and knees pads, white helmet and I put the black decal # 32 on the helmet and white #32 on the red jersey. I was Jim Brown with that uniform!

A couple stories from Ordnance Park – in the 5th grade I think it was – I got a telescope and Mamaw and Ernie came up about 6:00 that morning and we had the telescope out on the sidewalk looking at the stars and the streetlight glow through that telescope. That may have also been the year I asked for the album, “We’re An American Band” by Grand Funk Railroad. When Mom went to get it, all she could remember was America, so she bought me the latest album from the group, America – which had the #1 song, “Muskrat Love” on it!

The next year I got a mini bike! Jerry came down early that morning – I remember seeing that red mini bike in my living room when I rounded the corner from my bedroom! WOW – a MINI BIKE red with the black leather seat! It had gas in it and we rode it down Forrestal Avenue that morning down to my cousins, Cork and Judy Waters, who had part two of the present – a gas tank for the mini bike so I would always have gas!

I rode that mini bike around the park and we took it to Mamaws big backyard, and had it for a couple years when we moved to Vine Street as I would ride that mini bike out the trail and down the hill to the ballpark at City Park!

We always went to Mamaw’s on Christmas day for dinner and opening of more presents from cousins of kids from Butch and Penny. Mamaw always came to our house to watch us open presents early in the mornings, the mom or Jerry would take her home to prepare for all of us going there in the afternoon/evening. I always took Uncle Butch malted milk balls in the milk cartons. I did not think he really looked forward to them until one year I did not do it and he looked disappointed, so I still get a couple cartons for Butch for Christmas – either from KMart or Dollar General.

When Jason and Kara came along, Christmas got even more special and fun as Jason was born December 6 1973 I think and the attention went from me to the kids, although I always got plenty of attention, I was glad to share with the brother and sister I always wanted as a family.

I always enjoyed finding them presents – from looking all over Charleston for the perfect doll house in which I found at a hobby shop in South Hills for Kara one year, to finding the car Jason did not have in his matchbox collection. I always enjoyed helping mom and Jerry set up the Christmas Eve around the tree after the kids went to bed. When the “New Kids On The Block” were the teen heartthrobs, I surprised Jason and Kara with (4) tickets to the concert in Charlotte. That was a fun gift to give to them as we got to spend a weekend together a couple months later as they came to the show in Charlotte.

I learned not to put off shopping until Christmas Eve as one cold winter, I was in the Dunbar Murphy’s parking lot and my battery was frozen, the car would not start! The girlfriend at the time, her brother came along in his big pick up truck and gave me a jump. Later that night and Christmas day, we had about 5 cars that would not start in the driveway.

About (5) years ago, I opened a present and it was a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor’s – white high tops! I used to say mom would not buy my All-Stars as a kid because they cost about $15.00 and the Coach’s from Converse cost about $10.00. Mom’s never forget!

In 1990, I stopped at the Austin’s house on College Hill could have been the day after Christmas or close to it. I invited Deb Austin to Charlotte to see her beloved Boston Celtics play a month later so she could see Larry Bird play in person. That Sunday morning Deb looked at my bookshelf and saw the positive thinking books from Norman Vincent Peale, Zig Ziglar, Og Mandino and other great people who changed many lives over the years, I asked Deb, “Why do they not teach positive thinking in schools”? Deb read the books on positive thinking, started teaching to her students, has her own classroom that teaches positive thinking, a Success Club in her school and has changed 1,000’s of kids and their families over the years as a result of that question and devoting her life to teaching Success Principles over the past 20 years and is a leader in the teaching world.

Going back – I remember going shopping as a kid with Mamaw and Aunt Ginny one year and picking out my bell bottom pants at McClung and Morgan – we had to wrap them and put them under the tree – yea my first bell bottom pants!

Changes – since Jason and Kara have their own families, Christmas has changed for all of us. Kara and Tim and their kids come in from Cincinnati a couple days before Christmas – this was hard for Jason and me to accept at first, but I understand as they have their own families and Tim is a pastor that leads Christmas Eve in his church. We also changed about 5 or so years ago with our Christmas dinner – from the ham and turkey to now Mom goes and gets a prime rib at Black Angus and we have the prime rib for dinner. If we had to change, prime rib is a good change for a special dinner. We open presents after a delicious dinner. This year, I gave the kids gift certificates to Toys R Us and Mom did the same. Mom, Kara and Nikki took all 5 kids to Toys R Us Thursday night after the dinner and opening of gifts, Everyone was happy with their trip to toyland!

I am sure there are so many memories left out, I am grateful for each year with the family and the fact we love each other and the house is full of Love You’s and we know we are blessed as a family. 

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