Christmas Magic During The Great Depression

by Beverly Roberts Jostad

Christmas 1940 makes me misty-eyed every time I think about it. I was a high school student and The Great Depression was in full swing. In the hard times of the era, people depended on one another. We collected food, clothing, bedding and household items and gave them to the needy.


We saved the toys we collected for Christmas. The home economics classes made new dresses for the dolls, while the shop classes turned lumber into trucks, games and other toys.

That Christmas we students found ourselves wrapping toys and loading packages for delivery. As we presented the gifts, we saw joy in many faces, especially those of the children.

Santa is visiting Texas. Make sure that he’s got what your loved ones want!

We had a few more visits to make on Christmas morning. The air was heavy and chilled us to the bone. Seeing us riding our bicycles, a rancher offered us his truck for deliveries, and we gratefully accepted. For several hours, we knocked on doors. But as the cold hours passed, our enthusiasm gradually waned.

ImageWhen we finally headed home, someone pointed to a small house down a canal bank. Although there were no electric or telephone lines running to the structure, smoke curled from the chimney. The house stood bleak in the forlorn terrain that surrounded it.

None of us knew who lived there, and we wondered if there were children. We still had a doll, two trucks, assorted small toys, chocolate Santas and a box of groceries. We decided to make one last visit. Three of us climbed down from the truck bed and gathered the gifts.

Mud sucked at our boots, slowing our progress. When we knocked on the door, a young woman whose dark hair was tied back with a red ribbon answered it. Three small children peeked from behind her skirt—a little girl of about 2, and boys perhaps 4 and 5 years old. The mother put an arm around the toddler and looked at us questioningly.

“Merry Christmas,” we chorused as we bent down and handed the gift-wrapped packages to the children and the box of groceries to the mother, whose eyes widened with amazement. She slowly smiled, then quickly said, “Come in.”072611_sr_hume_FNC_072611_18-35

The catch in her voice was sufficient for us to accept her invitation. We removed our boots and stepped inside.

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I knelt to reach the little girl, and it was then that I looked around the room. The linoleum floor was worn but spotless. Bleached flour-sack curtains hung at the windows. Neatly made beds occupied one corner of the room and the kitchen another. A small stove furnished heat.

As I turned back to the children, dressed in clean, neatly patched clothes, I noticed several green tree branches standing upright in a dirt-filled pot. A red cloth circled the base. Can lids and paper angels hung on strings, and a tiny paper star graced the treetop. Streamers of popcorn completed the decorations.

The room was silent as the children looked at their mother, wondering if the gifts were really for them. The little girl hugged her doll, and the boys grasped the trucks as they sought an answer. She put her arms around them and said in a choked voice, “I told you Santa Claus would come.”


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has seeds embedded inside so you can plant the ornament after Christmas to have beautiful
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On Santa’s Team

Author Unknown

My grandma taught me everything about Christmas. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: “There is no Santa Claus,” jeered my sister. “Even dummies know that!”

My grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me.

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“No Santa Claus!” she snorted. “Ridiculous! Don’t believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let’s go.”

“Go? Go where, Grandma?” I asked. I hadn’t even finished my second cinnamon bun.

“Where” turned out to be Kerby’s General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days.

“Take this money,” she said, “and buy something for someone who needs it. I’ll wait for you in the car.” Then she turned and walked out of Kerby’s.

I was only eight years old. I’d often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church.

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I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobbie Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock’s grade-two class. Bobbie Decker didn’t have a coat. I knew that because he never went out for recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough; but all we kids knew that Bobbie Decker didn’t have a cough, and he didn’t have a coat.

I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobbie Decker a coat. I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that. I didn’t see a price tag, but ten dollars ought to buy anything. I put the coat and my ten-dollar bill on the counter and pushed them toward the lady behind it.

She looked at the coat, the money, and me. “Is this a Christmas present for someone?” she asked kindly. “Yes,” I replied shyly. “It’s … for Bobbie. He’s in my class, and he doesn’t have a coat.” The nice lady smiled at me. I didn’t get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons, and write, “To Bobbie, From Santa Claus” on it … Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Image

Then she drove me over to Bobbie Decker’s house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa’s helpers. Grandma parked down the street from Bobbie’s house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk.

Suddenly, Grandma gave me a nudge. “All right, Santa Claus,” she whispered, “get going.”

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell twice and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobbie. He looked down, looked around, picked up his present, took it inside and closed the door.

Forty years haven’t dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my grandma, in Bobbie Decker’s bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: Ridiculous!

Santa was alive and well … AND WE WERE ON HIS TEAM!


This Christmas Season, display this one-of-a-kind ornament on your tree. The Bluebonnet ornament made from paper mache’
has seeds embedded inside so you can plant the ornament after Christmas to have beautiful
Texas Bluebonnets around your house. Perfect card insert or office gift!




Keep Your Fork


Author Unknown


The sound of Martha’s voice on the other end of the telephone always brought a smile to Brother Jim’s face. She was not only one of the oldest members of the congregation, but one of the most faithful. Aunt Martie, as all the children called her, just seemed to ooze faith, hope, and love wherever she went. This time, however, there seemed to be an unusual tone to her words. “Preacher, could you stop by this afternoon? I need to talk with you.” “Of course. I’ll be there around 3:00.”


As they sat facing each other in the quiet of her small living room, Jim learned the reason for what he sensed in her voice. Martha shared the news that her doctor had just discovered a previously undetected tumor. “He says I probably have six months to live.” Martha’s words were certainly serious, yet there was a definite calm about her. “I’m so sorry to . . . ” but before Jim could finish, Martha interrupted. “Don’t be. The Lord has been good. I have lived a long life. I’m ready to go. You know that.” “I know,” Jim whispered with a reassuring nod.” But I do want to talk with you about my funeral. I have been thinking about it, and there are things that I know I want.”

The two talked quietly for a long time. They talked about Martha’s favorite hymns, the passages of Scripture that had meant so much to her through the years, and the many memories they shared from the five years Jim had been with First Baptist Church.

ImageWhen it seemed that they had covered just about everything, Aunt Martie paused, looked up at Jim with a twinkle in her eye, and then added, “One more thing, preacher. When they bury me, I want my old Bible in one hand and a fork in the other.” “A fork?” Jim was sure he had heard everything, but this caught him by surprise. “Why do you want to be buried with a fork?”

“I have been thinking about all of the church dinners and banquets that I attended through the years,” she explained. “I couldn’t begin to count them all. But one thing sticks in my mind. At those really nice get-togethers, when the meal was almost finished, a server or maybe the hostess would come by to collect the dirty dishes. I can hear the words now. Sometimes, at the best ones, somebody would lean over my shoulder and whisper, `You can keep your fork.’ And do you know what that meant? Dessert was coming! “It didn’t mean a cup of Jell-O or pudding or even a dish of ice cream. You don’t need a fork for that. It meant the good stuff, like chocolate cake or cherry pie! When they told me I could keep my fork, I knew the best was yet to come! “That’s exactly what I want people to talk about at my funeral. Image

Oh, they can talk about all the good times we had together. That would be nice. “But when they walk by my casket and look at my pretty blue dress, I want them to turn to one another and say, `Why the fork?’ “This is what I want you to say. I want you to tell them that I kept my fork because the best is yet to come.”

The pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She KNEW that something better was coming.

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At the funeral people were walking by the woman’s casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing and her favorite Bible and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over the pastor heard the question “What’s with the fork?” And over and over he smiled. During his message, the pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right.

So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you oh so gently, that the best is yet to come.


This Christmas Season, display this one-of-a-kind ornament on your tree. The Bluebonnet ornament made from paper mache’
has seeds embedded inside so you can plant the ornament after Christmas to have beautiful
Texas Bluebonnets around your house. Perfect card insert or office gift!


Grandpa’s Hands

by Melinda Clements


Grandpa, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. He didn’t move, just sat with his head down staring at his hands.clive-nolan-an-old-man-s-hands

When I sat down beside him he didn’t acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if he was OK.

Finally, not really wanting to disturb him but wanting to check on him at the same time, I asked him if he was OK.

He raised his head and looked at me and smiled. “Yes, I’m fine, thank you for asking,” he said in a clear strong voice.

“I didn’t mean to disturb you, Grandpa, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK,” I explained to him.

“Have you ever looked at your hands,” he asked. “I mean really looked at your hands?”

I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point he was making. Grandpa smiled and related this story:

“Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.

“They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor.

“They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back.

“As a child my Mother taught me to fold them in prayer.

“They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots.

“They held my rifle and wiped my tears when I went off to war.

“They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent.

“They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son.

“Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special.

“They wrote the letters home and trembled and shook when I buried my Parents and Spouse and walked my Daughter down the aisle.


“Yet, they were strong and sure when I dug my buddy out of a foxhole and lifted a plow off of my best friend’s foot.

“They have held children, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn’t understand.

“They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body.

“They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw.

“And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.

“These hands are the mark of where I’ve been and the ruggedness of my life.

“But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home.

“And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch his face.”

I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God reached out and took my Grandpa’s hands and led him home.

When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and wife I think of Grandpa. I know he has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God. I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face.



This Christmas Season, display this one-of-a-kind ornament on your tree. The Bluebonnet ornament made from paper mache’
has seeds embedded inside so you can plant the ornament after Christmas to have beautiful
Texas Bluebonnets around your house. Perfect card insert or office gift!



Christmas Hunting

By Carey V. Smith

Every year in December, comes a time that strikes fear into the heart of every husband and father. That is the Christmas shopping.

Men are by nature conquerors, and the shopping experience of many is the same as visiting an art gallery, museum, or sight-seeing. There is nothing to do, no sense of accomplishment, and no trophies. The stress we must endure is as high as when I first proposed marriage to my wife, only I get to live through it again every year.

Through deep analysis, I have decided that the problem is one of attitude; how you approach the situation. Instead of “Christmas shopping”, I call it “Christmas hunting”. Instead of gathering presents, I “hunt and kill” them. Here is how it works:

The Prey

In order to hunt something, you must have a prey, something to hunt. With a normal hunting expedition, this would be deer, rabbits, ducks, geese, etc. Even when you go fishing, there is something to catch, kill, dress, and eat. At Christmas time, the prey is the GIFT. The nature of the GIFT is what determines the hunt. If, for example, you decided to go Buffalo hunting, you would make all the necessary preparations – special permits, gun, travel plans, etc. Bagging a GIFT is the same. CLICK HERE TO START YOUR CHRISTMAS HUNT

The GIFT must be something personal that only she can use. Although she may need a new kitchen appliance such as a blender, for every kitchen appliance bought, you must spend at least double to ten times that amount additional for her personal GIFT. Just as a fish is different from a duck, GIFTS come in various forms, from jewelry to clothing to knickknacks. Impracticality is the rule here.

In order to understand the nature of the prey, you must do some homework. This may involve actually looking or listening to your wife. See what earrings (who knows where they came from?) she is wearing. She will often give you hints that you are supposed to hear and understand. It may come in the form of “I wish”, or “it would be nice if . . .”, such as “I wish I had a watch to match my shoes”, or it may be that page from the department store catalog that she wrapped your sandwich in. Look for the item circled in red. Pay attention during some of those ordeals you are made to endure with her when you hold her purse as she moves clothing on a display rack in a department store. See what catches her eye. Another source is the television shopping channel. Stop for a few more seconds and take note of what they are peddaling. This part of the process can be related to when you learn about the best fishing lakes, hunting forests, etc.

The WeaponImage

The biggest problem with the Christmas Hunt is the weapon. In order to “kill” your prey, the GIFT, you must use a paper or plastic weapon. A check book or credit card just don’t look as ominous as a 12-gauge shotgun. There is nothing to wield. When you go fishing there is the pole, hunting has its gun, and even when you are golfing, you have a club to carry. Merchants frown on customers bringing and carrying firearms around in their stores. I have yet to find a suitable substitute. If the problem is acute, finding and carrying around a pole-like device (spear) may do. This may be in the form of a shower rod, mop handle, or umbrella. A coffee cup or beer mug may also suffice if you don’t mind carrying one around a store, as this is similar to the scabbard on a sword. Some stores have large plastic candy canes filled with candy or bath oil beads that could substitute for the weapon. This may help you during your hunt for the GIFT. You don’t have to purchase, just borrow it for a while until the real game has been tracked and bagged. There has yet to be invented a weapon-shaped object that would appeal to women.


The License

If you can walk in the store, you have a license to hunt there. Your driver’s license, or whatever identification you use to get beer and tobacco products can be used for the Christmas hunt. This will be displayed to the game warden (store clerk) when the weapon (credit card or personal check) is used to get the GIFT. The prey may then be dressed (gift wrapped) or put in a bag for protection. The receipt compares to the deer or duck stamp. Unless you have a lot of experience wrapping things, this is best left to the professionals in order to be more attractive when it is presented to your wife. Your limit is determined by the balance left in your account.

The Site

Just as you would not hunt deer in the middle of a lake, where you go depends on the prey you are hunting. Hunters and gatherers have always shared space. The same field used for getting plants has been the roaming place for pheasants. In the forest where berries are found, the deer and elk roam. In order to get the GIFT, you must go alone into the dark, scary forest called “The Mall”. If this is too drastic, a “Department Store” may help ease you into the experience.

At each entrance of a Mall, there is a totem called a “kiosk”. This will help narrow down the hunt. The various stores are listed by item sold, so you can proceed directly to the quarry, avoiding the quick-sand and cliffs. Each store in a mall is divided as are department stores into specialized areas. Just as some fish like deep water, and others prefer shallow, the items sold there are separated as to type and size. There is usually an extra area designated for jewelry or electronic devices and cameras. Signs on or near the ceilings can lead you to the proper area.

Rules and Regulations

Getting a personal GIFT for your wife has specific rules, like a size limit on a fish caught in a lake. Here are some that will help keep you out of trouble:

  1. Buy her something she already has. Then she can exchange it for something she really likes and “you will never know”.
  2. Avoid sizes. If you have to get her any clothing, get a size or two too small. This translates in her mind as a compliment.
  3. No underwear, Teddies, or pajamas. This is interpreted as a gift for you, and also conflicts with rule two above.
  4. If it comes from a store you are comfortable in, get something else. There are no personal items for women in sporting goods, hardware, liquor, or fishing/tackle stores. The possible exception is if you are building that romantic porch swing she has bugged you about for years. In this case, have it finished before Christmas, or you will have to go back into the forest for something else.
  5. No plants, flowers, or cards. These are for other occasions, weddings, and deaths. These are interpreted as make-do gifts, such as those things you grab at the last minute at the airport, the gas station, or the check-out stand.
  6. The GIFT must personal and impractical. The breadmaker and blender are used by everyone in the house, not just her. It must hers and hers alone. An exception would be an automobile. Compact – yes, Mini-van – no.
  7. Things that enhance her personal hobby or collection are sure winners. If she collects Barbie dolls, an expensive ceramic version would be an excellent trophy to give her.
  8. Expensive candy is OK, but does not constitute the main GIFT. Put this in her Christmas stocking with the plastic candy cane you forgot to put back.

The Perfect Hunt
The best way to turn “Christmas shopping” into “Christmas hunting” would be to organize a hunting trip. Treat this the same as any other hunting expedition. Get together some buddies. Drive to the other side of the next state and camp. Drink and play poker until you all pass out. Wake up before dawn and walk at least a mile to the forest (mall). If it’s not open yet, have breakfast. Malls open earlier and stay open later as Christmas day approaches. Divide into two’s and hunt for the GIFT. Admire each other’s kill. Unless the GIFT is a car hood ornament, it would be tacky to tie the GIFT to the hood of the car. Only something too large, such as exercise equipment, can hang out of the trunk with bungee cords. Spend the rest of the day in the sports bar or golf course.


I have had a lot of success with this attitude toward getting the GIFT. On one experience, I tackled the greatest of all forests, “The Mall”. I arrived on Christmas Eve morning at 7 am, parked right outside the door, and I was back in the car with her GIFT in 45 minutes. I wouldn’t recommend this to an amateur hunter. Once you get the hang of the “Christmas Hunt”, you can attempt the “Anniversary Hunt” or the “Birthday Hunt”, once you figure out which days those are.


This Christmas Season, display this one-of-a-kind ornament on your tree. The Bluebonnet ornament made from paper mache’
has seeds embedded inside so you can plant the ornament after Christmas to have beautiful
Texas Bluebonnets around your house. Perfect card insert or office gift!



posted by staff


You’ll need the following: a cup of water, a cup of sugar, four large eggs, two cups of dried fruit, a teaspoon of baking soda, a teaspoon of salt, a cup of brown sugar, lemon juice, nuts, and a bottle of Texas Silver Star Whiskey.

Sample the whiskey to check for quality. Image

Take a large bowl. Check the whiskey again. To be sure it is the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer, beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar and beat again.

Make sure the whiskey is still okay. Cry another tup. Turn off the mixer. Break two leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the whiskey to check for tonsisticity. Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Who cares? Check the whiskey again. Now sift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Spoon. Of sugar or something. Whatever you can find. Milk maybe. Moooo. Haha that’s the sound a cow makes.


Tune Offen the grease. Turn the cake tine to 350 degrees or 375. Donut forget to beat off the turner. Throw the bowl out of the window, check the whiskey again and go to bed. zzzzzzzz…..

This Christmas Season, display this one-of-a-kind ornament on your tree. The Bluebonnet ornament made from paper mache’
has seeds embedded inside so you can plant the ornament after Christmas to have beautiful
Texas Bluebonnets around your house. Perfect card insert or office gift!

You might be in a Texas Country Church if…


1. The doors are never locked.
2. The Call to Worship is “Ya’ll come on in!”
3. People grumble about Noah letting coyotes on the Ark.
4. The Preacher says, “I’d like to ask Bubba to take up the offering”, and five men stand up.
5. The restrooms are outside.
6. Opening day of deer or quail hunting season is recognized as an official church holiday.
7. A member requests to be buried in his four-wheel drive truck because,
“I ain’t ever been in a hole it couldn’t get me out of.”
8. In the annual stewardship drive there is at least one pledge of “two calves.”cowboysunset
9. Never in its entire 100-year history has one of its pastors had to buy any meat or vegetables.
10. When it rains, everybody’s smiling.
11. Prayers regarding the weather are a standard part of every worship service.
12. A singing group is known as the “OK Chorale.”
13. The church directory doesn’t have last names.
14. The pastor wears boots.
15. Four generations of one family sits together in worship every Sunday.
16. The only time people lock their cars in the parking lot is during the summer, and then only so their neighbors can’t leave them a bag of squash.
17. There is no such thing as a “secret” sin.
18. Baptism is referred to as “branding.” _3Full-immersionbaptismincowtroughCowboyChurch2008IMG_2054
19. There is a special fund-raiser for a new septic tank.
20. Finding and returning lost sheep is not just a parable.
21. You miss worship one Sunday morning and by 2 o’clock that afternoon you have had a dozen calls inquiring about your health.
22. High notes on the organ sets dogs in the parking lot to howling.
23. People wonder when Jesus fed the 5000 whether the two fish were bass or catfish.
24. People think “Rapture” is what happens when you lift something too heavy.
25. The cemetery is in such barren ground that people are buried with a sack of fertilizer to help them rise on Judgment Day.
26. It’s not heaven, but you can see heaven from there.
27. The final words of the benediction are “Ya’ll come on back now, ya’ hear?


This Christmas Season, display this one-of-a-kind ornament on your tree.
The Bluebonnet ornament made from paper mache’ has seeds embedded inside so you can plant the
ornament after Christmas to have beautiful Texas Bluebonnets around your house.
Perfect card insert or office gift!
BUT 10 GET 2 FREE!!!!!