During this Christmas season, my mind goes back to the one-room country school that I attended, and the annual Christmas program that we all had a part in.
I especially recall Santa Claus, and remember how we so much looked forward to his visit each year at our school. When the Christmas program was completed, we listened for Santa’s sleigh bells, as Santa ran around the school house a couple of time ringing the bells. Then he would burst into the school room with a loud “Ho, Ho, Ho—Merry Christmas,” sometimes give the teacher a kiss and then proceed to distribute gifts to each student from the big gunny bag he carried over his shoulder.
When I wrote the book, One Room Country Schools, I interviewed several former country school teachers. One teacher remembered the Santas she knew over the years:
“One Santa came in his barn boots—the smell was so strong they could have walked by themselves. One Santa was so stricken with stage fright that he forgot his own kids’ names. One fortified himself with a bottle of whiskey under his belt. He fell off the stage, sprained his ankle, and as some men escorted him out to his car, he swore so loudly that it fairly shook the building. Another Santa came on stage, jingling the bells and shouting “Ho, Ho, Ho,” before the program was completed. The rest of the program was a shambles, much to the disappointment and anger of the children who had not yet performed and the loud-voiced anger of their parents.”
The former teacher told me that after that program, “I was numb for days.” One good reason for the Christmas vacation I suspect.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Merry Christmas.
Next week I will include some 2016 events.
Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):
The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs, Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps and Jerry Apps a Farm Story.
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including The Quiet Season (on which the DVD A Farm Winter is based), as well as Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm, (which are related to the DVD Jerry Apps a Farm Story). Also available is Jerry’s new novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County as well as Whispers and Shadows and his newest nonfiction book, Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street