Caussey's Corner

Christmas Without Daddy: The Coldest Texas Christmas

By  | 
Tony Maples Photography


The door opened, and wind extended snowflakes blow in from the porch. “Good Christmas morning to you,” came the strong voice of the man. As he unwrapped his face, covered with the wool scarf, I knew it wasn’t Daddy. It was Mr. Thompson, our neighbor who lives down the road toward town.

“How you doing, Tad, on this cold, frosty morning? Has Santa gotten here yet? Don’t worry if he hasn’t, because he asked me to bring some things by for you and your mom. It snowed more than a foot last night, making it hard for those reindeer of his to get to all the rooftops.”

I was disappointed it wasn’t Daddy, but glad to hear a cheerful voice and to know that there would be some presents. Mommy must have forgotten about Christmas because we didn’t put up a tree or decorate the house with lights like last year. Daddy and I had gone to a pasture near the tank and chopped a tall green tree that we brought back to the house in the pickup. Then we decorated the porch and the mailbox and put bright lights with a golden star on the green Christmas tree.

“Tad, where is your mother?” asked Mr. Thompson. “Is she still feeling poorly?”

Just as he spoke these words, Mother appeared from the bedroom. She was beautiful. Her robe was old and green, but her hair was long and yellow. Her face appeared swollen, and her eyes were streaked with red. She tried to smile but could only play pretend. “Good morning, Mr. Thompson. So nice of you to call. I have not been feeling very well lately. Guess I must be coming down with a cold.”

Christmas Without Daddy: The Coldest Texas Christmas


“Not to worry, Ma’am. The Missus sent some homemade bread and a jar of honey and I brought over a couple dozen eggs. That should make you a fine Christmas breakfast.” The food sounded wonderful, I thought. I hadn’t eaten since yesterday and then only a small bowl of cereal. Now I had some presents and a warm breakfast. When Daddy gets here we can open them and have a wonderful Christmas day.

“This is so nice of you, Mr. Thompson. I don’t know what Tad and I would have done these last couple of weeks without you and your wife’s help and concern.”

“Not to worry Ma’am, we were glad to do it. Please let us help any way we can. And please again let me extend our sincere regrets at your loss. Know that the folks around here are praying for you and we care about you and the little one.” Mommy said, “I know you do, Mr. Thompson and God bless you.”

Mr. Thompson and Mommy talked some more, but I couldn’t understand most of what they said. I could smell the bread in the basket and it made me even hungrier.