A Christmas Story

Another story from my childhood.  This is probably a good place to leave it.

 

By Garland Davis

My uncle Theodore was a Redneck and a tobacco farmer.  The farming was just a front to fool the Alcohol and Tobacco, (this was before firearms became so dangerous) agents, more commonly known as revenuers.  He was a middle-man distributor and sometimes retailer of a non-tax paid alcohol beverage, otherwise known as moonshine, white likker, and in more recent times, ethanol.  He often conducted protracted quality assurance tests of his product, in other words, he would get drunk and stay shit-faced drunk for days.

I remember a Christmas when I was eight or nine years old.  I was already old enough to know that Santa Claus was a fictional character that children are misled to believe in. I had suspected as much for quite a while, the fat son-of-a-bitch never brought the things I asked for in the lengthy letters I wrote and my parents mailed to the North Pole for me.  My brothers, sisters and many of my cousins still believed that Santa Claus broke into their houses on Christmas Eve and left them cheap ass toys and ugly clothing.

It was a snowy afternoon and evening.  My father worked for the state highway department and had been called to work operating a snow plow scraping snow off the roads and highways.  My mother had taken my brothers and me to my grandmother’s house for Christmas Eve. Two of my aunts and many of my cousins were also there.  My Uncles also had been called in to plow the roads.  We had finished supper, the other kids and I were listening to the radio (my grandmother didn’t have a television), playing board games or reading. All the women were in the kitchen making cookies when my uncle Theodore arrived.

He parked in the front yard and came into the house carrying a shotgun in one hand and a quart fruit jar in the other.  I never knew how to take him.  I don’t know whether he liked kids or not, but he always acted as if he didn’t.  We were all a little afraid of him.  He went into the kitchen and set the shotgun in the corner by the door.  He sat down at the table and asked for an empty  glass and another glass of water.  His method of drinking; he would pour a half glass of whiskey with a glass of water on the side.  It may take an hour, but when he drank, he killed the whiskey and followed it with the water.  Then he would refill the glasses and begin the wait until next time.

After about an hour, he yelled, “Hey all you young’uns git in here!  I brought you some candy.

The younger kids jumped up and ran into the kitchen. I trepidatiously followed.  He had a pile of candy on the table and was handing it out.  My aunts and mother were reminding the kids to say “Thank You” and were smiling at their kids.

My uncle suddenly said, “Be quiet, I heered something.”  He jumped up grabbed his shotgun saying, “Hear that?” and went through the door onto the back porch.  Almost immediately the shotgun fired and then again. He yelled, “Git yore ass outta here you fat bastard!”  Everyone was wondering what he was shooting at.  I started through the door, but Mom grabbed me and said, “Don’t go out there.”

He comes back through the door and sets the shotgun back in the corner and says, “Well they ain’t gonna be no goddamn Sandy Claus this year.  I just run that Sumbitch off.”

Those Santa Claus-believing kids were screaming and crying. They probably suffered mental problems and may have needed therapy for many years.

I must have inherited some of the same genes as my uncle.  I thought and still think it was hilarious as hell.  He died during my second year in the Navy.  He was in prison during my boot leave.  I never got the chance to have a drink with him.  I think we would have hit it off. He would have probably been a good Asia Sailor.

 

A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.

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