When my father was a boy, his parents weren’t well off…in fact, they were poor. I know that my father and his siblings didn’t really realize that circumstance until they were much older. Dad’s family had what was necessary and made do with what they had. In 1952, they moved from Hatter Creek (near Princeton, ID) to Mountain Home (just north of Freeze Church and just south of Skyline Drive). After a lot of work and finagling…they had a larger home that was able to accommodate the family even though they were a long way from town. Christmas was always a bit lean because of money and one Christmas was especially hard but really showed the generosity of spirit that some people have.
Dad was probably about 13 or 14 and as the oldest knew that money was tight. But Dad had two younger sisters who expected Santa Claus to leave presents under the tree. Grandma Marian and Grandpa Frank had to wait until payday to buy the gifts for their children. The toys they ordered through the catalog were supposed to be there by Christmas. Grandma and Grandpa anxiously waited for the toys to arrive and their post man knew of their anxiety. Their mail was delivered from the town of Garfield, WA which was quite a ways away and during those times the snow and weather was especially brutal. They didn’t have the equipment that we have today so travel was always difficult. Mail was usually delivered to their mailbox which was a mile and a half down the road. It was trip that during the worst of the snow they would take the horse to make the journey.
It was Christmas Eve and the presents had not arrived. At this point, Grandma and Grandpa were heartbroken because they didn’t want to disappoint their children especially the little girls. They gathered the small gifts that they had and pondered what they would do. It was about seven at night when they heard a knock on the door. Their postman had gone back to the post office and saw the package sitting there waiting for delivery. He got the box on his truck and headed back out. He knew that my grandparents had been waiting for that box. By the time he got back to their mail box, the only way he could make it to the house was walking with a sled behind carrying the box. He walked the mile and half to their house and delivered that box. Even though this happened 60 years ago, my Dad still remembers that Christmas – not because of the gifts or because of the celebration but rather the kindness and extra effort a postman took to make sure some children had their Christmas.