Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
December 22, 1923     Arkansas Catholic
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December 22, 1923
 

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I I,/ ! t, O anent a,ways havh, g ,vani(d stub  b,,nm ....... &apos;/ ,.: queer-snape,l ............................................ .,,,.., .' foolish foldero He aid 'h. -- ' " : ..- ........  n:ny, h's gomg to be more ......... " ........... ............ NIl • llleln, all Ittn ',vat(qilng hh i ton orrow Ill( rntng "+ right. You saw to that! But he lmag- than watehhP,., the ehihh'on, I do be- First Christmas I ITHEL COOK ELIOT reDeclcled P eO011SE it Titan to  wasn't the  theJo i first Christ. "t{ Cien mas Dad had f lived through. Yt It couldn't be, since It happened In his seventieth wlnterl But, as he after. Ward phrased It, It was the first Christ. er,tapl:ryL+ runs "as was a Christmas" to his Is how It happened: before Christmas last called us up on lned, ted. He knew what that kind of wanting means." "And believe me, your ohi dad, when he has waked on all these dozens of Chrtstnms mornings of his life, has hoped that he himself would find Just' such a brag-wanted folderol In his Ileve! There was a look In his eye---" "Ye.s," agreed Harry, "there was a look in his eyel And last Christmas, wht,n he -l)eaed his boxes of handker- chiefs ad socks and so forth, there was a h)nk lu his eve, too--one that made me feel cheap "I can tell you. I " - t sock. And hlstead of it, what has he was not leing especially. Don't know found? Say, whaL has he?" what made me. but It was I hung tnx, bead. "Neckties. socks Pl)o nt(M his' sort of dis- , • . look. Do you know handkercblefs, calendars 'and xrltln wife of mlne, I ttllnk he's beer ahno paper." ' " g l hoping every single Christmas "Huh I And what has he hoped he'd some day, Somehow, somebody would find?" ,t foolish and spend a little tmaglna. "A |)honogrsph, a genuine meer- Schaunl, a flve-ponnd box of chocolates, house slippers (Mother never would let him go slmlHing 'round in slippers, though I).  seal ring for his little fin- to ask about the kid. ger (ImagineD. a full set of Dickens. arabs, had whooping Oh, lots of things that he really dhln't expensive calling need, you knuw, and some that would he, and I knew they have been ridiculous!' so I talked fast and Finishing, I looked up at my loving la/tet I mak6 the call s brle hnsband. Speechlessly, h was point- 'l.+{at,+,, Other had said "good-by," lag one long finger at me. Wheu our teen  a last Word 'tllhou,h it/ eyes met. he burst forth: tl0 e Who h ' < g / "And you knew all thls, and never : ale t  ad opened tim con- took the pains to hnagine how he feltI ,,,aWay ae first place. A hunthed / A fine [ aeard him gn (•klng over daughter I All of tl-e er'lalt lie h 8aa(lnervousM ..... has e t, g, et to [ selllsh can't glvePe'ple Ihhn allWell'thosehisY°U'long.wantedS°nln'lawfine' un- ," +'aka tile ,utilPi. st,,. + .tsllHi'P, I)Ut, / folderols--not tills year--but you bet • ,nhck. lheyll he's going to give him the lounging Jacket, a blue velvet one with gilt wanted <, say m this braid, and a cord with tassels. His was. "Nw. llessh,, loving daugilter nlay give lille a tie.-- g('t me anylbing if she's absolutely sure he needs one--- this Y(q r really and she can find one suitable for an hhlgn.t alia: till you I aged man of Seventyi" tickets:i,, when we were But Harry's sarcasm, by now, was being had canght his point You thhk tlmy're plan- some wasted.seconds before.I For the first anything, anyway!" I time I saw Dad In a new light. Why, I)rotest frtm) some- he had never had a proper Chrlstnms, at familiar ulttlng poor dear; never In his whole life. miles away. "Hang And we, all of his children, had been a't be foolish t" brought up on perfect Christmases; all our hearts' desires bulging oat of our stockings and shining from the tree! And he had done It for us--shnply be- cause he knew the hidden, chlhllsh disappointment of ahnost seventy Christmas stockings filled with prac- tical, senslblb giftsl His parents had been really poor. Christmas on their barren little farm in Canada had been of necessity a slim affair. And his early married years had been a struggle, too. An Innocent, child- hearted youth making his way against odds, selling Insurance In a stiff-necked old town l But these later years--things might have been different. He had made good. There was a comfortable home all paid for to the last mortgage, and a sufficient Income from "renewals"-- now that nil of us children had flown to nests of our own. Yes, things might have been different now. "And they shall be different this Chrlslmas,', I cried out of my sudden waking. "We'll give Dad a real Christ- mas, the kind--sly, dear old fox--he's always dreamed off" "Where are you off to, Elizabeth?', slmuted my husband, for I had Jmuped from the chair-arm and was out In tim hall, talking to myself as I went, "I'm going to get my wrltlng paper," I sang back from the landing at the first turn of the stairs• And when I had fumbled for it through the desk In our dark room (I was too impatient to find the switch) and returned to the sitting room, I " V explained, "We can't do It alone, Hal. Not a regular, bang-un Christmas like he de- serves l I'm going to write to my brothexs and sisters, all six of 'era, and say they must come In. We'll Just not glve presents to one another at all thls year. We'll concentrate on Dad. And Mother, too, of course. Only we al- ways dld glve her nlce things" any- way." "Bully for you l I'll say you are quick in getting an idea, Ellzabethl You know you--" But I'd best leave out all that. Harry is an old dear. and entirely overrates his perfectly ordl- nary little wlfel So that is how Dad's first Christmas came about. Harry and I and the children got home for It. The others, unfortu- nately, llve. too far away to come. But they had all fallen In wlth our scheme, :lad of Want- and we found their excltlng-looklng bundles for Dad there, bidden by that fera Mother safely in the attic. Their bold he knew "Don't open till Christmas', Inscrlp- -t all the tlons glared out at us from the attic CUd he twllght. OUght, as But It didn't seem fair that all of us he shouldn't have had the fun of seeing Dad the next morning In his bewll- .SUre WOuld agine it un. dered dellghtl r ,heart On Chrlstmas Eve, after we had sea Just as stuffed the children's stocklng and then hung up our own. and put our bundles for each other around them, or in them, Dad eyed his curious and hnlky paclages keenly. gave you "Those don't look like handkerchiefs handbag and socks." he said, with almost a qua- wanted ver of eagerness. "And how ca there se'nse be so many t Haven't you mixed my pile wlth Mother's?', But we reassured him, on tiptoe our- selves, llke children, with expectation of hls surprises of the morrow. Then, he suddenly began hls old song: "Now I really don't want any. thing this Christmas, children, I do hope you haven't gone and spent a lot of money foolishly• I do need some socks, and I've lost my last handker. chief, since mother took to sending out'clothes to the Steam ]llndry. But ] don'l need anything else." But we laughed down this ancient l)r.temt, as we said "good night." At l.st. thanks to Harry. Mother and l hed ba(I our eyes Oll(+netl about Dad I In tim hedromn, with our door closed. I whlspered Io Harry, "Whttt de yea N.. slr, her Dad lies su':de n while tonlghl Iessle. Nothing l" and Dad did I brad heard step approaching ther says we're not for Chrlstmas," going t- sit on the and at least share It hadn't been of- I don't know ng Jacket we had rather an extrava. What do you say year. when and get- Instead 7,, Ha tTy, who snatched the I aiding lightly by I fingers, threw I ns61f took the/ bossy male be. [ look was quiz. [ as his sudden mo- asn't YOUr father Single year. all ays Stud It when home. He's so bates having It on you, didn't have It suppose?,, Is so rldlcu- wanted to." tion as well as money on hhn I 1 think SO !" And the next morning the family found Dud sitting, flabl)ergasted, In his bhte velvet lounging Ja('ket, surround- ed by his new reading lamp (the kind .VOU Cllrry arolind anywhere and stand by your oh.h. rlg]it at your elbow), hls Found Dad Sitt no, Flabbergasted, In His Blue Velvet Lounging Jacket. g'enulne meers('haum, his seal ring, Ills new steel trout rod, his five-pound hox of clmcolates, his phonograph, with a heap of records of all his old favorites. his house slippers, his whole new set of his old friend Dickens, done In rich red bindings and gilt edges--In fact, all the things his family, when they set their Imaginations to work, knew h wanted--well, all I can say Is that Christmas morning held no disappoint. ment for usl Dad finally found words. "Bessie," he said sternly--that is stern for Dad. which, of course, Is only an approach to sternness--"Bess, you children shouldn't have gone and spent all this money on reel It was foolish. And anyway you know very well your nmther will never let me wear these stlppers around the house, or the lounging Jacket either. She'll call It shiftless.,, Mother had heard. "Yes, I will, too, Father,', she cried. "Why, Just think- lag of wearing them has made you look ten years yoqnger. I'm going to reform, and net be  so old-maldish I" "Why, why l Whatever--- But Dad never finished. He laughed with us Instead, for suddenly he knew that he had been found out. So Dad, at tile age of seventy, eele- brated his first Christmas, the Chrlst. mas when his secret dreams came true. And since then It has often come to my mind that most dad are like my Dad. It's time somebody woke up and played Santa Claus to them. to them who have played Santa Claus to us so long. What about your Dad? Oh Heavens ! A new thought breaks. What about Harry? Is THAT how he knew? (), ;923, Western N*ewsl)aper Union.) / (I, 193, Western Newspaper Union•) PORTRAIT OF A BOY Whose father Hopsd that Santa would have to pay AN INCOME TAX Llka the rest of folka, And then perhaps Tha old chap would ot Hava money Ta squandar ON BOY8 at Chrlltmasl I ! --M. B. Thomas. ANOTHER NAME Chrlstmas might be called the December thaw. KEEP THE SPIRIT All the country needs is an all-year extension of the Cln'lstnms sph'lt. THE DAY TO GO HOME Christmas! The day we all go hom --In thought and spirit, if It Is Im. possible to aelulllly go it] the flesh. 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