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John Allen

Christmas Day

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Merry Christmas to all.

 

I had run this awhile back and decided to post again noting Christmas this day.

 

We all are sometimes remiss (myself included) in being so self absorbed we forget about whats important this day, family, sharing, and kindness to others, so here is my re-post on a Christmas long past.

 

Please post your own Holiday memories.

As a child there were many looking back with huge eyes at what the funny bearded old man left under the tree.  I believed because he ate the cookies & milk my parents left for him.

The best memories are when strangers gather to share the holiday meal, we may not remember who they were, where they live, or their personal bios but for that gathering when they could not be with family at this time of year a shared meal and companionship made for a memorable time, for me personally.

December 25th 1979 3 months after Hurricane Frederic destroyed the Dauphin Island Bridge to the mainland.  We had a 42’ shallow draft aluminum crew boat on loan from the Highway Dept. to transport people from the Island to Cedar Point, 1 hour round trip depending on weather and # of passenger’s capacity was 42 plus a crew of 2. We had been ferrying folks daily 5 round trips, people had to go to work, groceries, doctors, etc. This was before a slow boat to China ferry ran from the Island to Fowl River a round trip of 3 hours.

We had no power and residents that were lucky to get generators ran these until temporary power was installed with 2 huge military generators, 1 being a spare. Side note: the population went from 1600 to 400 not including Fema people, construction workers, etc.

The landing at Cedar Point was at the end of a fishing pier with a stepladder tied to a piling and a climb up and down of about 6 to 10 foot depending on the tides. Christmas Day I and my partner (George) started our runs at 6am we had full capacity thru the day noting off Island family and visitors.  My family prepared ahead of time knowing workers, Island security etc would not have a place to go, and we put the word out thru the Island grapevine where they could come for dinner and directions to the residence.

My day consisted of 5 round trips, each trip when mooring at Cedar Point we had to butt bow to the piling keeping the boat in gear fighting an east to west tide in the am. George assisting men, women, and children down the ladder in addition to gifts, bags, groceries’, and dogs which were banned but allowed this date (I have no idea why, one slipped from Georges hands and went overboard and I was luckily able to snatch it up by the hair on its head while a women was screaming at us and cursing for dumping her dog. An omen of what kind of day we were going to have I will not boor you with tales of horror thru the day the gray hairs were the biggest problem arthritis, bad backs climbing the ladder. I respect them more today since I have joined those ranks) between trips George and I delivered numerous people to different homes having very few cars on the Island after the storm we were water and land ferries. I was able to stop at the house and grab a turkey sandwich and was advised things were going well, to cook we had a generator 3 propane grills with extra bottles borrowed from neighbors. Later that day I was told we fed in excess of 60 people some friends, mostly strangers. We still get a few thank you notes every Christmas.

That evening after the last run I was ready for some R&R and a complete meal with all the trimmings when I forgot about the Christmas walk; It is a long standing tradition Islanders walk from house to house wishing all a Happy and safe Holiday, your obligated to supply spirits and food. Hopefully you’re not the last house after they visited twenty and the spirits that went with it but that’s another story. Finally all was quite sat with the family told stories of the day and the people we met. I finally sat down to eat the Island walk depleted what was left of the food and I had a cold spam sandwich. It was the best meal I ever had looking back at the fellowship of that day and strangers we met that were friends when they left.

Apologize for the long post but as I wrote this and the memories flooded back it was the Best Christmas I can remember.

We still get a few cards each year from these folks.

Share your memories a lot of you have some wonderful stories for this time of year. Merry Christmas you and your families stay safe and pray for peace.

 

 

 

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    While I was apparently the instigator of this story, I was totally unaware at the time of what transpired.  The story was often repeated over the years to me which is the only way that I know about it.  It was 12/25/1949 and I had just been born.  Almost everyone in my family was at the hospital with the notable exception of my 5 year old uncle Kenny who was left at home alone. (Is this the source of the movie of the same name???)  Perhaps he was the reason that leaving kids alone at home became frowned upon. 

    Well anyway, Kenny was a little upset that his Christmas morning was upstaged by me, so he took it upon himself to do what was needed.  The tree was sitting in the living room surrounded with numerous wrapped presents, but being unable to read the labels on the gifts, he did what he had to to find out which ones were his.  He proceeded to unwrap them all! :o:P

    When the family returned later that day they found Kenny playing with his toys in the middle of a mass of Christmas paper and gifts of all kinds.  Everyone thought that the funniest part about the whole thing was the mass confusion that soon ensued as everyone had to determine which gifts were whose, because the labels had all been removed! 

    Kenny always told me for many years after that, it was all my fault.:D 

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