A hol­i­day mix-up, a clas­sic Erec­tor set and fa­vorite toys

Reminisce - - Contents - BY PAT M PHERSON • MOUNT GILEAD, NC C

Christ­mas Eve

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.

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