Remembering my favorite Christmas celebration

One of the things old timers do best is to sit on the back porch and let their mind wander back to yesteryear. Now I’m pretty good at that job and this time of year I just naturally think about Christmas. Keep in mind that I have enjoyed many of them. So, I got to wondering what Christmas was my favorite Christmas? 

You see, Christmas today goes in a lot of directions and unfortunately takes on a variety of meanings, because our world has changed. So, maybe we need to look back to our roots and rediscover what Christmas really means. 

A good start would be to read the second chapter of Luke in our Bibles New Testament. A friend of mine suggested that if we start Dec. 1 and read one chapter a day in the book of Luke, which has 24 chapters, on Dec. 24 you would understand why we celebrate Christmas and the life of Jesus. 

Please remember that we must always keep Christ in Christmas as we celebrate the birthday of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We pray that each of you will have a wonderful Christmas and a happy and very prosperous New Year!  

Remember our Veterans that sacrificed so much to allow us to enjoy the freedoms that we tend to take for granted. Pray for our men and women in the military as they continue to help preserve those freedoms. 

Pray for America and that our leaders will be mindful of the principles that our forefathers used when our nation was formed and that God will guide them and continue to allow America to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, and a strong Christian nation! Stella and I pray that each of you will enjoy a successful 2020 while you allow God to have an active role in your everyday life. 

My Ol’ Daddy would always say, “As you travel through life, whatever may be yore goal, let the Lord handle yore strife, fer yore name…is on His Scroll!” Well, now that I have got that said, let me tell you about my favorite Christmas.

I was about 8 or 9 years old. The 1950s drought was in full swing, we dug holes in the creek to find spring water for thirst starved cattle, used a back pack kerosene burner to singe stickers off of the prickly pear to feed our stock, and watched the hay and corn crops dry out and burn up. Life was tough for young’uns, and the old folks really suffered, but they kept Christmas alive for us kids. 

The Christmas tree that year was a Mesquite branch. We stuck gumdrops on its thorns and used popcorn strings and peppermint candy canes to finish its decorations. And for years after that Christmas, in addition to a silvery-lighted tree, there was a small plastic tree that we stuck gumdrops on.We tacked our stockings to the fireplace mantle and Dad set his boots out, knowing they would only get sticks and rocks and maybe a few dry cow chips put in them. Mom brought a small glass of milk and a plate of cookies for Santa’s snack. Dad read the Christmas story from the second chapter of Luke and we tried to stay awake to get a glimpse of Santa and his reindeer…but one by one we drifted off to dream of wondrous things … and to all a good night!  

This Christmas poem is based on that Christmas memory.                     




Christmas time brings lots of mem’rys, of Jesus’ birth, an’ Christmas trees,

happy kids, an’ Uncle T’s jokes, family, friends an’ “Howdy Folks.”

What was the best Christmas glory? Dad, readin’ the Christmas Story,

there on that West Texas plain.


Ne’er hint of snow there in the sky, as Christmas came on, cold an’ dry.

Us kids hung our socks up with glee, in hopes St. Nick would shorely see.

That ol’ cold wind kept on howlin’, Papa an’ Mama Hop were jest a scowlin’,

fer the old folks had the rheumitiz pain.


This was back in nineteen fifty, times was hard an’ folks was thrifty,

‘cuz money was in short supply; even Mom’s coffee can was dry.

But all us kids were full of dreams, dolls, frills, an’ rock candy it seems,

a jack knife, carved wooden guns an’ a toy train.


See, Dad would work well after dark, an’ somehow Mom’s smile kept its spark.

Weather was dry an’ crops were poor, just part of all she must endure,

her love an’ faith in God was strong, kept her going all the day long. 

She never was one to complain.


Our gifts were made with loving hand, ‘cuz   Mom an’ Dad rode for the brand.

Our home had warmth an’ lovin’ care, tho times was hard way out there.

An’ when Christmas time rolled around, excitement an’ joy WOULD be found.

Visions of St. Nick in our brain.


But what about a Christmas tree? No chance to buy one, don’t you see!

So Dad rigged up a Mesquite branch, that thorny bush there on the ranch.

On each thorn, we stuck some gum drops, added popcorn an’ lollipops,

The angel was a  peppermint cane.


Time shore ‘nuff passed awful slow, at least all of us kids thought so.

Workin’ stock kept Dad plenty busy, Mom, it seems, was in a tizzy,

‘cuz well, there wuz supper to fix, floors to sweep an’ cookies to mix.

Excitement was hard to contain!


Us kids had our chores to get done, an’ we reckoned that warn’t much fun

‘cuz we’re thinkin’ of Ol’ St. Nick, an’ we’re tryin’ to get done quick!

We keep a good lookout fer Dad. When he gets here, we’ll shore be glad.

So, we kept our eye on the lane.


When he rides up, we’ll head to church, there we’ll sit like birds on a perch.

Preacher asks Dad to read that story, all about the Christmas glory,

of Jesus, on that wondrous night, lyin’ in a manger ‘neath star light.

The infant Christ Child there so plain.


Joseph an’ Mary all aglow, shepherds nearby in the meadow,

while three Wise Men  traveled from afar, guided by a bright shinin’ star,

to see our Savior at his birth, bringin’ frankincense, gold an’ myrrh.

An’ to worship the Lord in His reign.

The heavenly host, there on high, lifted their voices to the sky,

an’ sang of this glory to be hold, there on that blessed night so cold.

I’m shore ‘twas a beautiful sight, on that long ago Christmas night,

with that glorious song’s refrain.


At this point, the story was through, folks smiled ‘cuz they believed it true.

Then the preacher finished his thought, an’ asked the folks ‘bout food they’d brought.

Wow! What a Christmas feast we had, even tho the crops had been bad.

The preacher gave thanks an’ prayed for rain!


We rode home to crawl in our bed, thoughts of presents still in our head.

A plate of cookies by the tree, a snack for St. Nick, don’t you see.

With eyes wide open, sleep came slow, while outside… came God’s miracle of snow!

…Jesus’  birthday on the Texas plain!

  ©  Ol’ Jim Cathey     


Ol’ Jim Cathey and his young bride Stella wish each of you a joyous Christmas season. 

Let your gift be one of love to your neighbors!



God bless each of you and God Bless America!


The Marlin Democrat

251 Live Oak St
Marlin, TX 76661
Phone: (254) 883-2554
Fax:(254) 883-6553