A Short Story by Cece Poister
Every year we would get our Christmas tree from the Knights of Columbus who had a lot at the end of Third Street just past the cemetery in Beaver where the Brighton Hot Dog Shop now stands. My dad drove down Third Street through Beaver, passing all the stores like the Five and Dime, Krechmars Bakery, Fisher Hardware and The Shirley Shop. I was enjoying the decorations and looking at the people out shopping.
It was about two weeks before Christmas and I was the only kid in the station wagon riding along with dad to help pick out the tree. I was eleven and the oldest of six kids. It was dark out but seemed so bright because of all the Christmas lights.
At that time Beaver had lights strung across the main street which made everything look so pretty, or at least it did to this eleven-year-old girl. The radio was on and a song called “True Love” was playing. Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly were singing the duet from the movie “High Society”. I loved that song … still do.
As we drove down the street I mentioned to my dad how much I loved the song and never thought much about it after that. Lucky for me I got to hear the whole song before we got to the tree lot. I, of course, sang along. We arrived at the lot and I loved the smell of the trees mixed in with a fire burning in an old oil barrel. After some obligatory conversation, we picked out our tree, helped the men load it onto the top of the station wagon and headed home the same way we came.
On Christmas morning as I looked under the tree for “my pile” of presents, I saw one of the most precious gifts I have ever received. In front of me was a record player with just one record on top, “True Love” by Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly. I realized just how much my dad listened to us kids without our knowing it. I cannot watch the movie without thinking about that Christmas and my dad. Many Christmas’s have come and gone along with “piles” of presents, but that one stands out as one of the most precious I ever received.
You would think that with eight kids his patience would have been pushed to the limits, and believe me, we did push. However, he also had a great sense of humor which helped him keep perspective, and both he and Mom played many games with us to keep life lighter. Everything from Head of the Class and Old Maid, to chess and checkers. I cannot even guess how many of those games we played. What a truly wonderful dad! He had a playfulness that we loved and never knew when to expect it — nor did my mother.