Another Time...Another Place

A baby boomer's bon mot

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Location: Goodlettsville, Tennessee, United States

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Back when Joy was the world

Even if you haven't reached the silly age (60) like me, a yearning for the good-old-days is an almost omnipotent presence in all of us.

A time or place when your universe was in perfect harmony. When a feeling of happiness a near giddiness permeated your very being. When you could actually perceive your soul as if it were an appendage. True perceptual organic translucent contentment. Grandiose-happiness-ultimate .

At fifty I started experiencing a transition from "be-here-now ( a sense that had evolved from climb-that mountain, cross-that-river and baby-shit to big boy blues) to a feeling of "back-when life was a gift". I remember as a eight year old trying to walk stride for stride with my father down main street in Lovington, New Mexico. It was Christmas Eve and I was wearing my new Christmas Boots that daddy had just purchased at Loves Boot Shop. My plaid wool, hand-me-down winter coat was buttoned tight and my stocking cap was pulled over ears and forehead to block the cold north wind that announced Santa Claus. My strides, always just inches short of my fathers, caused me to do a double skip every eight or ten paces. The skip was also an expression of joyous energy and unbridled anticipation.

New boots, my first, clicked the joy I felt from head to toe. Being the fourth of four sons meant there was lots of out-grown, left-over clothing, footwear, toys and personal items for me to utilize. From my point of view I was a second hand version of the older brother that had worn the jeans, shirts or shoes that I was forced to wear. My frugal parents, survivors of the great depression and gas stamps during WWII, made sure every consumable they bought was thoroughly...Used.

Shirts began as flour sacks back when you bought your flour in fifty pound sacks that were offered in a panorama of fabric selections. It seems strange now that us boys would pick out out shirts at the grocery store. But mama, a wizard with a singer, would carefully cut the empty flour sacks into the pieces that were sewn together to make our plaid, strip and sometimes audacious print large collared shirts. The shirts, passed from brother to brother and finally to me, remained alive as dish cloths even after I was through with them. New Boots, however, easily surpassed my cravings for a new shirt. After all I had my grey horse shirt with material mama had let me pick out at CR Anthony's. Not flour sack material. Real polished cotton with little wild horses, not printed, but woven into the fabric. I wasn't wearing my grey horse shirt as I step-skipped down main street with daddy, but I knew Sunday I would wear it with my new boots when we went to church.

When we got home the house smelled like Christmas and my excited anticipation was kicked up even another notch. The fragrance of the pine Christmas tree mixed with fresh baked pies and eggnog was more than I could endure. The eggnog was a once a year event and daddy even brought home his once a year pint of whiskey to sweeten the event. I didn't get whiskey in my eggnog but I would sniff my father's mix and wonder if someday when I was given the opportunity to doctor my nog, if really I would.

We didn't have TV so we listened to the radio. Being Christmas eve my favorite shows; Gang Busters, Fibber Magee and Molly and The Green Hornet were preempted by Christmas Carols. I sang "Joy to the world" with the radio sitting in front of the blue flames of the gas heater until the radio and my mind got fuzzy.

I went to bed early with my new boots on the pillow beside me so I could smell the new leather. My brother came later and complained to mama that I had my new boots on his pillow. I pretended to be asleep as she placed them on the floor but I peeked and I saw her smile. New Boots made her happy too.


Blogger djoysc said...

Carl. this post made me cry. It reminded me of my own childhood.

Thank you for sharing the sweet memories ~ your cousin Joy.

djoysc40 ~ drop a line sometime.

11:10 AM  

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