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Jerry Kendall

Jerry Kendall: My Christmas Story: No Stolen Yule Tree Back In The Day

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By Jerry Kendall, guest columnist

I went to the post office yesterday to send a package. The nice lady behind the counter, was smiling despite the long line of folks lined up to send off Christmas gifts. She asked if I would like someone to sign for the package at the other end to ensure that it didn’t get stolen off the front porch. 

I thought. “Who would steal a Christmas gift off of someone’s porch?” My thoughts went back to long ago when a young sailor, stationed far from home, was wrestling with his own conscience. He was newly married, living off base and trying to get by on $300.00 a month. It was right before Christmas and his new bride sure wanted a tree but he had no money.

 A grocery store, near his apartment had a bunch of them out on their parking lot which they left out all night. He thought about coming by at night and just taking one. But, stealing a Christmas tree seemed like a terrible thing to do. 

Besides when he was younger and in the boy scouts, his troop sometimes sold the trees to make money for the scouts. The more he thought about it, the more it seemed like a bad idea. 

Finally, he decided to go the owner of the store. He asked him if there was something he could do to earn one of those trees to take home. 

The man put his hand on the young sailor’s shoulder and said, “You’ve earned it by wearing that uniform young man. How about you just pick yourself out a tree and take it home.” 

I learned a lot that day and I have never forgotten it. 

Merry Christmas everyone.

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Jerry Kendall: Dad Sold Favorite Fishing Pole So His Boys Could Enjoy July 4th

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By Jerry Kendall, guest columnist

JEFFREY CITY – Once again, Memorial Day is on the horizon. It’s a day for reflection. A special time set aside for remembrance of the folks who have made a difference in our lives. The people who made the world a better place to live. We keep them alive by remembering.

A while back my big brother told me a story about our father. He was killed in a mine accident in 1960. I was 10 years old then and at 71 years, I still love to hear stories about him or anything that has to do with him. I miss him every day.

My big brother was over at a friend’s house one day and the talk got around to fishing. His friends uncle was there and he asked my brother if he knew that he had one of my dads’ old bamboo fly rods. “No, how did you come by that?” My brother, excited by the prospect of seeing something of Dads.

The old man smiled and took a seat on the sofa. “Well, your father had seen me a eyeballing his bamboo fly rod on many occasion. One day, he come to me, pole in hand. “I have seen you admiring this pole for a long time now, so I got a proposition for you. I have no money for fireworks for my boys this year so I will sell you this pole and reel so that I might give them a good 4th of July.”

My brothers eyes filled with tears.

He knew that the pole had been special made for Dad and it meant a lot to him. “He sold you his prize fishing pole so that we could have fireworks? Can I buy it back from you?”

The old man smiled sadly and said. “No, I’m sorry son but he was my best friend and it means too much to me to part with. When I’m fishing with it, I feel that he is standing right there beside me.”

When I heard this story I realized that, I missed my father every day and loved him so very much. But knowing how he must have loved us boys, to sell his bamboo fly rod, that meant so much to him, so that we could have a happy 4th of July.

The very thought of it was like the feeling I used to get when I would fall asleep on the floor in front of the TV and he would gently pick me up and carry me to my bed, tuck me in and kiss me on the forehead. “Goodnight Son.”

We keep them alive by remembering.

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