It “Came To Us” Mostly By Osmosis

Published: Friday, December 14, 2012 at 10:57 AM.

The fight broke out before we were out of sight of the house. “It’s my turn to carry the ax.”

“You carried it last year.”

“Did not! Leon toted it out and you brought it home.”

I couldn’t remember for sure. David, as the youngest, usually got the short end of the stick. And he was probably right. But I wasn’t going to give in. “If you think you can take it, come and get it big boy.”

That, even by my standards, was pretty dumb. He plowed right into me, head first. I tried to raise the ax up out of his reach but it was too heavy. Leon grabbed that double bladed cleaver before somebody got hurt and Dave crowned me with a rock I didn’t see him pick up. I kicked him in the stomach as he reached for my throat. We rolled around in the light snow until Leon stepped between us. He was five years older than me: six and a half ahead of David Mark. “You guys stop it! We’ve got to find a Christmas tree. I’ll carry the stupid ax.”

David leaped off of me and went for Leon’s legs. I tried to pry the ax loose by jumping on Leon’s back. The only chance we had was to double team him…… Nobody died and left Leon in charge! We’d fight until somebody was bleeding and then we’d figure out taking turns with the ax might actually get us out to that big field beyond Archie Moore’s pond where, hopefully, a suitable tree waited. Common sense usually found its way to the surface AFTER we wore ourselves out wrestling around. 

It was all part of Christmas in 1955. Leon probably was in charge but that never crossed our minds; nor did the memories or camaraderie or Christmas spirit that we might be sharing or making. We were just out “living large” and enjoying the moment. And we were on a mission to find that special tree for Mom.

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