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Growing Up in Bandera

December 21, 2022 - 00:00
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While preparing for my 75th Christmas I know this one will be the roughest ever.

Over these many years I have endured lean times before during the holiday season but nothing will ever compare to this year. A lack of money making it difficult to buy gifts is something I have experienced in the past but things have always turned around and I know now that being surrounded by loving family and friends is really all that matters.

There will be a huge void this year but love will be in the air along with memories of Christmas Days spent with my loving wife.

When I was in the U.S. Army my wife and I spent a Christmas away from family. We were in New Jersey and it was a first for both of us being away from our family during the holidays. We enjoyed having snow on Christmas Day for the first time in our lives. The years ahead would bring many happy times as kids were added to our families.

Christmas Day at my mom's house when our son was young was always memorable. Nieces and nephews would tear into presents so fast that it was durn near impossible to take a picture. We were lucky we didn't lose a kid in the pile of discarded gift wrappings building up in the middle of the living room.

This was back in the day when we could just take the paper and boxes out in the back lot and put a match to it. We managed to sift out all the kids but one year a new pot from a set given to my mom became a casualty. One of those sad occasions that became a joke in the following years.

My father-in-law Noah Bergman enjoyed Christmas more than anyone else I ever knew. For days leading up to it he was walking around whistling and singing, 'Christmas Times A-Coming'. It was traditional on Christmas Eve when all the little ones were gathering in the house that he would go out and pitch small gravel up on the roof. Inside other adults would paint a picture of reindeer landing on the roof in minds of the little ones. There was no other place that could match the love in that home on Christmas Eve.

Sometimes the gifts were small and few as I was Growing Up In Bandera over the years. Other times the there was more than enough to go around. The cedar Christmas tree fresh from Granddaddy Kindla's pasture was always way too big but nothing surpassed the amount of love that was present in our family during that special day.