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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Saturday, December 24, 2005

the crate

Our family first came to the Augusta, Georgia area in November of 1949. The area had the feel of a boomtown for many reasons but there were three main ones. First, a large dam was being built on the river North of town. Second, a government nuclear facility was being constructed to the East of town – across the state line in South Carolina.

And third, there was a large military base to the West of the city, rounding out the main large employers of the area. Many soldiers were also around and about due to the ongoing Korean Conflict. The folks not working directly for one of these three main employers were in some kind of support or service industry as a result of them. There were several other industries but none as large as these.

Sometime in the early 1950s, the first TV station was built in Augusta and this was a real bombshell among us young ones. We didn’t have a TV but a back fence neighbor family did and we kids would congregate there to watch a daily “horse opera” series.

I even remember a portion of one of the series – there was a good-guy cowboy and he was always chasing what he thought was a bad-guy Indian chief. Right at the end of each program one of the main characters would get into a mess that was impossible to get out of and the next day they would get out of it. The weird thing about it was that the brave Indian chief turned out to be good – and a woman. So the now good Indian chief-ette and the good-guy cowboy fell for each other, probably was sickening to me back then. But I digress, as per usual.

Anyway, we had to be careful not to get on the bad side of the family’s kids in order to continue viewing. My younger brother and I later bought our family’s first TV with earnings from our paper routes. I believe that Augusta actually had two stations by that time.

All this to give some background and to set the stage for one of the Christmas traditions our family had back then. My memories of our first Christmas in Augusta, and several after, are not totally intact in my mind, but I do remember “the crate”. For several Christmas’ during that time frame, Dad would buy some candy, fruit and nuts but mainly a crate of oranges. This crate was about 3 feet long, 1 ½ feet high and 1 ½ feet deep, and it held somewhere around a bushel of oranges – give or take a few dozen.

The crate was kept in a front closet and anytime we wanted an orange, they were available. These actually lasted several weeks but as the time passed, a few of them would be lost to spoilage. Part of our job as resident siblings was to keep checking for the rotten ones. It wasn’t hard to know that one was spoiled, but it was a bit difficult at times to remove the bad ones without taking all of the rest of them out.

The crate was made with thin wooden slats and held together by twisted wire and a few staples. After the oranges were gone, it became a multiuse container – remember that this was before plastic was in widespread usage. Dad would use it as a temporary chicken coop or possibly part of a fence. If he had no use for it, it became material for one of the many kid construction projects. It was a gift that kept on giving.

This brings me to another gift of this same type. This is the time of year that we celebrate the gift of God’s Son to us. He took on human form, loved us enough to die for us to make it possible for us to have a choice about our eternal destination. That is truly the gift that keeps on giving! ec


Blogger MilkMaid said...

I remember our first TV, I don't recall ever being without one, but the one we had was this big old wooden box with the little bitty black and white screen in it. It was a big happy day when we got our first color TV and we were THE KIDS on the block for about a year or two. Cartoons in COLOR...Casper never looked so good.

Enjoyed your crate storry EC, Merry Christmas to you and your Mrs....carol

12/24/2005 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

Had to chuckle about the thought of Casper in color - that's like the phrase in the old song "a whiter shade of pale". :) By the way, my favorite wife's name is Carolyn - they only name good women that. :)

I hope you and your crowd are right in the middle of your best Christmas season ever!! ec

12/24/2005 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Jayleigh said...

What a great memory. Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas, friend.

12/24/2005 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

jayleigh - And thanks so much for stopping by - hope you have the best Christmas ever! ec

12/24/2005 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

The light of the Christmas star to you
The warmth of home and hearth to you
The cheer and good will of friends to you
The hope of a childlike heart to you
The joy of a thousand angels to you
The love of the Son and God's peace to you.

12/25/2005 12:57:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

ssn - Thanks for those good words and may peace be yours. ec

12/25/2005 09:50:00 AM  

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