(Tim Hoffman, a TIMES NEWS reader from Effort, recalls growing up in Egypt, Pa. duirng the 1950s).
I think Christmas is the best time of the year.
Christmas at my house was always pretty great. I know some years the presents that I got weren't really what I wanted, but I always got some.
For this Christmas story, I was about seven or, why, I don't know, maybe I was eight. I was a dumb little kid, and in most cases, old enough to know better. Well, this story is going to knock your socks off!
It was Christmas Eve, when out on the lawn there was such a clatter. I opened the door to see what was the matter. I yelled, "Dad, it was only the cinder truck. It's snowing like crazy! It's getting deep, about an inch already!"
My dad, mom, sisters and I, put on our boots, coats, hats and gloves and went out the front door. The walks were really slippery and my dad held onto my mom's arm. Of course, I ran a couple of steps, locked my legs and slid several feet. From behind, I heard the words, "Timmy, knock it off!"
Running the full length of our property adjacent to the side walk, we had a flat-black iron fence. This fence was hard to paint. I know, because I helped paint it. The fence looked real pretty, with the white snow piling up on its flat sections and tips. I had helped hang several strings of lights along the top. We used multi-colored bulbs and their colored reflections on the snow looked nice. As we crossed over South Church Street, I looked back at the house and it looked just like a Christmas card.
We walked down the hill to church. It wasn't far, about half of a block.
I like when it snows. Everything is so quiet.
When I looked at the church, you could see the snowflakes falling in front of the stained glass window. You could hear the organ playing Christmas songs with the joyous melodies inviting you in. The front door to the church was mostly open because of all the people arriving. The floor of the vestibule was tile. It became very wet and slippery, so, why, I don't know, I went through the front door, saw the slippery conditions, took a couple of brisk steps, locked my legs and slid across the floor. Again I heard the words, "Timmy, knock it off!"
"What? I didn't hit anybody!"
I quickly ran downstairs to hang up my outer clothes and change into a choir gown. I was very excited about singing that night because our junior choir was to stand up in front of the altar to sing.
I sang well and enjoyed the service.
I ran to the basement, changed back into my street clothes and ran back upstairs to the front door. There my dad stood, as usual, next to the minister, handing a piece of candy to every kid. I got in line with the rest of the people and waited for my turn. He handed me a piece of candy and said, "I could hear your voice above all the rest. You did real well."
I said, "Thanks Dad," glowing from his praise. "Must I stay or can I go home? I want to watch television and I'm hungry."
He said, "Sure, but be careful."
I said 'Merry Christmas' to the minister and I went out into the storm.
My buddies were waiting for me and a small snowball battle began, but no sooner than it started, I hear, "Timmy, knock it off!"
I crossed South Church Street right in front of the church and went up to the house on that side because the pavements were cleared of snow. As I got close to the gate to our front walks, the snow was coming down hard. The flakes were quite large and it had accumulated to about three inches.
I noticed one of our large screw-in-type bulbs wasn't burning. I went over to the bulb, unscrewed it, shook it several times, and then, why, I don't know, took off my glove and stuck my finger into the socket.
I was knocked several feet onto my back! I think I was knocked out, maybe. All I remember was my two sisters standing over me and looking at me, with snowflakes hitting me in the face. My older sister, Dorcas said, "Timmy, are you all right? What the heck did you do?"
I didn't respond.
My younger sister, Ruth, said, "Let's drag him into the house."
They each took an arm and pulled me up the walks, up one step onto the porch and into the house
I don't know why I did it.
I do know I never stuck my finger in any socket ever again.
Well, at least I was all charged up for Christmas Day!