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Christmas As I Knew It - text

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One day near Christmas
When I was just a child
Mama called us together
And mama tried to smile
She said: "You know the cotton crop
Hadn't been too good this year
There's not a lot of spending money
And well, at least we're all here
I hope you won't expect
A lot of Christmas presents
Just be thankful that there is plenty to eat
That's quite a blessing
That'll make things a little more pleasant."
And us kids got to thinking
How really blessed we were
At least we were all healthy
And best of all we had her
Roy cut down a pigapple tree
And we drug it home, Jack and me
Daddy killed a squirrel
And Louise made the bread
Reba decorated the tree with popcorn strings
Before we went to bed
Mama and daddy sacrificed
Because this Christmas was lean, but
After all there was the babies Tom and Joanne
Babies need a few things
I whittled a whistle for my brother Jack
And though we fought now and then
When I gave Jack that whistle
He knew I thought the world of him
Mama made the girl's dresses out of flower sacks
And when she ironed them down
You couldn't tell that they hadn't come from town
A sharecropper family across the road
Didn't have it as good as us
They didn't even have a light
And it was way past dusk
And mama said:
"Well I bet they don't even have coal oil
Or beans to boil
Let alone apples and oranges and such"
Me and Jack took a jar of coal oil
And some hickernuts we'd found
We walked to the sharecropper's porch
And set 'em down
A poor old ragged lady eased open the door
She picked up the coal oil
And hickernuts and said
"I sure do thank you"
And quickly closed the door
We started back home, me and Jack
And about halfway we stopped and looked back
And in the sharecropper's window
At last was a light
So for one of the neighbors
And for us it was a good Christmas night
Christmas came and Christmas went
Christmas that year was heaven sent
And daddy put on his gum boots
Waited for the thaw
Back home in Dyess Arkansas

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