A holiday mix-up, a classic Erector set and favorite toys
1952 held quite the adventure for our family, followed by a different kind of surprise the next morning.
My dad, Luther McPherson, was the pastor of a small rural church in Surry County, North Carolina, about a two-hour drive from where we lived. Houses were scattered, so no one really had close neighbors.
As was the custom on Christmas Eve in many southern churches, the church members gave my dad and our family what was called a pounding—gifts of nonperishable food items to stock our pantry.
On our way home that night, the car died. Dad went for help, leaving my mother, Martha, with me and my brother in the wilderness.
A short time later, lights appeared; men armed with rifles surrounded us and shined flashlights in every window. They asked questions about all the presents and food in the car. Mother was terrified. My brother and I welcomed the excitement.
The posse, it seems, was searching for someone who had broken into nearby houses and stolen food and gifts. One man, a member of our church, recognized my mother. He explained to the group why our car was loaded with gifts.
My dad soon returned with help, got the engine fixed, and we drove home, where another surprise awaited.
Christmas morning, my brother and I awoke early to find a saddle under our tree. We were confused, but Dad told us to go look in the barn.
Sure enough, there we found a pony and a cart.
By this time, it was getting light and time to feed the chickens, milk the goat and slop the three pigs. That’s when we realized two pigs were missing. It seems Santa had swapped the pigs for a pony. We never figured out how it came to pass, but it was the best Christmas ever.
PASTOR LUTHER holds Dolly’s reins while sons David and Pat sit in the cart.