It is always a thrilling and memorable experience as I often bump into friends (guys) who I haven’t seen since this time last year. I think I started shopping on Christmas Eve day back when I had my first paper route. I would scamper down to the corner of Madison Avenue and Thompson Road to Fronnie and Ruth’s Sundries Shop.
I sometimes regifted a few of the 18 or so boxes of chocolate-covered cherries that my customers gave me. I still enjoy this candy during the holidays as it brings a smile to my face while recalling Christmases of the past.
We lived on Madison at that time, and we had a cardboard statue of the Coca-Cola Santa in our living room. I can almost see him standing near the fireplace when I stop into The Longacre Bar & Grill, which used to be our house.
I remember spending hours on the floor under and around the Christmas tree playing with my new electric train that Santa gave to me.
My dad had a daily country pickup milk route during those years. It was perfectly OK to get up very early Christmas morning and open our gifts from Santa before Dad left on his route.
We always spent Christmas Eve at the home of my maternal grandparents, where uncles, aunts, cousins and friends filled the house and enjoyed a meal and opening presents. I can’t drive past that house without those memories filling my brain.
I had an aunt who lived in Pittsburgh. She and my mom were sisters-in-law and very close. Aunt Tess always mailed Christmas presents to our family. I remember finding my sister, who was 4 or 5 at the time, in a closed closet opening her present from our aunt.
On Christmas afternoon, after Dad got home from his milk route, we drove around to visit his siblings. During some of those years his mother lived in a small house behind us, and she used to go with us.
Several years later one of dad’s sisters from New Mexico moved back to Indiana around the Greenwood area. She quickly became part of our Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and meals. She always made the most delicious pecan pies.
I remember several gifts that Santa brought me. There was a fine set of cowboy cap pistols and fancy holsters. I’ve been told that for a couple of years I sounded exactly like Roy Rogers when I wore my cowboy gear. There is a cable channel that plays old Roy Rogers television shows. I watch them sometimes and the voice returns. I remember several bicycles and roller skates. ...
OK, I’m getting in the spirit. I’ll see you guys at the stores Saturday.
Shonk is a 1960 graduate of Southport High School, a ’63 grad of Indiana Central College (now the University of Indianapolis) and a retired bus driver from Beech Grove Schools.