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Across the Fence was a weekly feature from the Hamilton Herald News written by Arvord Abernethy. This is a compilation of several Christmas pieces by Abernethy. — DH

Hello! Remember last week I was telling you about how some of our people remembered their Christmases in the years past? Let me tell you a little more today.

I wondered how Christmas was celebrated out Indian Gap way, so I called Lester Roberts who spent most of his boyhood days out there. He reported that their celebrations were very similar to other communities.

The school would have one of the best cedar trees that they could find and have it all dressed up with popcorn garlands and candles. There would be the program given to a room full of proud and gloating parents. Now the recitation given by some timid little boy might have been so low one could hardly hear it, and some girl would come out, stand as stiff as a poker and speak so fast you couldn’t get all the words, yet it was a “real good” program.

Lester’s fondest memories were centered on the home. As a youngster they would hang their stockings on the foot of the bed. There was the thrill of jumping out of bed and exploring the gifts, fruit and candy that were in the stocking. As the boys grew taller and their stocking got shorter, Mrs. Roberts would always have a little box of presents beside the bed on Christmas morning for each one as long as they were at home.

Lester told of the first year that he had gone off to college. They had driven late Christmas Eve night from Texas Tech. It was real cold so he jumped right into bed. When he awoke the next morning and looked beside the bed there was not the usual Christmas box, and he couldn’t keep from having a small feeling of disappointment. He then realized he was not a littler boy any more.

The Christmas season has always meant much to the German people and the Lutheran Church. To get some memories of their Christmases, I talked to Martin Schrank and Mrs. Ermin Bottlinger.

Mrs. Bottlinger remembers when they would have three days of celebration and worship at the church. The Christmas tree program would always be held on Christmas Eve night. There would be the program given by the children. The little girls all dressed up in their nicest dresses with braided pigtails crowning their heads. The boys would be in their knee length knickers, often straight legged and supported by colorful suspenders. And the boys often wore bow ties.

There was also group singing, and of course it always included Stille Nacht, which we know as Silent Night. This favorite of all favorite carols is one of the many contributions the German people have given to our world of music.

After the program and gifts and bags of fruit and candy had been given to everyone, families would return home to find that Santa had visited their home and had left toys and goodies for all the good little boys and girls.

There would be services at the church on Christmas Day and then again on the following day. All these services at the Aleman Lutheran Church were held in the German language, and continued that way until World War II. Even now the Fifth Sunday services are conducted in that language.

The Christmas Day dinner was an occasion much as most of us have, except on the big platter on the table would be a goose rather than a turkey, the turkey having served his purpose back at the Thanksgiving dinner. The goose would be so rich and fat that many other foods would have to be eaten to tone it down. One of these dished would be sweet potatoes prepared in some way.

May your memories of Christmas be very happy ones, but may this one this year be one of your brightest ones.

Shared by Roy Ables

ACROSS THE FENCE

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