I have wonderful childhood memories of the farm, the one-room country school, and my home church. We were snowed in a lot and loved it. I seem to remember a Christmas program or two at the school postponed because of snow.
I wish I had a physical photograph of the scrawny Christmas trees we decorated. Years have erased the day or week of December when Dad drug in a volunteer cedar tree from the pasture. The lights were always colored bulbs. Mom had treasured glass ornaments that grew fewer each year, but we filled up the spaces with paper chains and strings of popcorn and cranberries.
Icicles finished it off. Though I tried to be meticulous by evenly hanging the silver filaments over the ends of branches, the younger ones threw the silver strands so icicles landed willy-nilly. Many decorated ears of my siblings and clung to hair.
Christmas programs were quite an event in the one-room country school I attended. Blake Lake School, Dist. #56, was my playground and expanded my world by exposure to treasured antique books.
But I digress…Our teacher enlisted the tallest students to help her hang “Curtains” made of wool army blankets over a wire to create our stage. I sang a solo most every year, played in skits, and memorized classics such as “’Twas the night before Christmas.”
Once the program ended, we frolicked in the small space with our friends and showed off artwork to our parents.
At some point Santa burst through the door, laden with goodies in a gunny sack thrown over his shoulder. Those brown paper sacks were the best gifts ever. Peanuts in the shell, a few other nuts, haystacks—chocolate-covered mints, filled hard candy, an apple, and an orange.
Better yet, and by far my favored event, was the Christmas Eve program at church. The Grace Lutheran building of my childhood was a Christmas card picture of a little white frame church with the steeple. (That building gave way to an A-frame where I sang a solo on dedication day.)
On Christmas Eve I participated in the Sunday school program. We all lined up in the basement. The kindergarteners ascended first, progressing to the eighth-graders who brought up the rear. We entered through the back doors singing “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” and proceeded past the pews to assigned seating near the stage.