by Charles Cooper
Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week. I just realized that I forgot an episode in Mr. Joyner’s story. They were more or less pinned down near a farm house with a well in the yard. He was ordered to take a five gallon can and fill it with water from the well and bring it back to fill their canteens. On his way back he was spotted by a German sniper and was fired on. He said he thought he had been hit when he felt wetness on his back. Then he realized that the bullet had hit the can. By the time he reached his unit about half of the water had leaked out. They told him that he wouldn’t be allowed to fill his canteen since he had lost part of the water. He looked at me and smiled at a memory over sixty-three years ago. “I had filled my canteen before I started back,” he said. It shows that even in the midst of all that carnage that there was still a bit of humor in the situation. Now, this is my Christmas column that I do every year. Those of you that have read it before can read it again and the rest of you might find that it brings back memories you may have forgotten. I don’t remember much about Christmas trees until my first year in school. All I remembered was that I would hang up my stockings at the mantle at Papa Badley’s house. They had a Christmas tree at school and I decided that I wanted a tree at home. We were living at Papa’s house since Dad was on the extra board and due to the depression, there weren’t many jobs. Howard Herron who worked for Papa for over eight years went to cut a tree. There were a lot of cedar trees on the place and they cut a big one. It actually reached to the ceiling and like most of those old houses, they had high ceilings. Since there was no electricity they asked me what I would use for decorations. I told them about the tree at school where they strung popcorn with thread and made a white rope. That solved one problem. There was a sycamore tree near the house and the cones were about the size of tennis balls and perfectly round. I picked them with the stem on and there was plenty of foil from cigarette packs so that solved another problem. Dad cut a star from some card board and covered it with foil so that was the top ornament on the tree. I had a windmill on a stick that had come from the Chicago World Fair and it became another ornament. Some other small toys such as a small airplane and a toy dog found a place on the tree. I’ve had many memorable Christmases since then but that is the only one that stands out, and is my favorite. Maybe it was the last Christmas that Mother, Dad, and I were together as a family that makes it so special to me. I hope that this stirs some memories for many of you out there. Again I’m reminded of the debt of gratitude we owe Mr. Joyner and nearly twelve million men who made it possible for us to enjoy the great life style we have today. As Mr. Joyner said to me, “I’m seeing things we have today that I couldn’t have dreamed of when I was crawling in the mud in France and Germany.” As I do every year, I want to thank all of you who have made “Reflections” possible over the last seven years. As long as you enjoy it and I am able, we’ll do it together. A Merry Christmas to you and yours and keep contributing your memories. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great Christmas season.