Eric 2009/12/24 10:59am

I think it was '87 or '88, but I know it was Christmas Eve. Leigh and I were both in foul moods as we loaded hay on a hay cart, taking turns to push the eight or nine bales we could fit on it up a steep ramp (no wonder we were considered strong back then) and then unloading it together to stack along the walls in front of the cows. We were arguing, at first chirping at each other rather harmlessly, and gradually getting to the point that it looked like it was going to come to blows. I don't know how we didn't see him coming, mountain that he was, but we didn't. Just as we squared off, I felt my feet come off the ground and realized that Leigh was right beside me in the same situation. Dad had each of us by the shirt, one of us in each hand, holding us up against the wall, much stronger than either of us will ever be. "Quit fighting! It's Christmas!" he roared. I don't think he saw the irony in his words, but they worked. 

It may have been that same year that Leigh and I were corralled into playing Christmas songs on our guitars for the Christmas Eve candlelight service at the Wesleyan Church in Ellenburg Depot. Mrs. Jewel Finley, the preacher's wonderful wife and aptly named, was in charge of the program. We were to play instrumental versions of "Silent Night" and "Away in the Manger" and such. Just before the program started, I said," Mrs. Finley, we've worked up a beautiful Christmas song we didn't tell you about. It's called "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer." I hope it's okay to include it." She was so nice and hated to say no to us and didn't realize I was pulling her leg. " don't know." I burst out laughing and said, "Just kidding." However, once the service started, I couldn't resist. I played the first ten notes and acted like I'd made a mistake before starting "Silent Night." I could hear a few nervous chuckles in the congregation. Mrs. Finley deserved better than me.