Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Christmas Skates...

Christmas was always a wonderful time on Victor Drive. Not because there were elaborate gifts or fancy decorations, because there were neither of those, but because we were all together.

There wasn't a lot of money, and so I knew better than to ask for anything expensive. It was simply out of the question. Roller shoe skates were definitely more expensive than my parents could afford, but that didn't keep me from hoping. I must have been about fourteen years old the Christmas I finally did a little more than hope and actually asked for shoe skates for Christmas.

Every Friday night, my friends and I went roller skating at the large indoor rink on Summer Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee. I loved to skate. I loved to feel the breeze in my hair as I went around and around the rink as fast as I could. It felt like I was flying. I loved to skate to the almost felt like dancing on skates. I had learned to skate backwards and thought that was the ultimate accomplishment at that age.

My children will tell you that I'm terrible at keeping secrets at Christmas. I want you to have what I bought you right now. I'M the one who can't wait. So, about two weeks before Christmas 1959, I started snooping. The house wasn't that large so where could they be? I finally found the roller skates under Mama and Daddy's bed. I breathed a sigh of relief. They were actually there...I was getting roller skates for Christmas!

Christmas eve came and we all opened our gifts. No roller skates. Christmas morning came and no roller skates under the tree. I really can't remember what else I got that Christmas. Christmas afternoon came and no roller skates. The way it all evolved is locked deep within the recesses of my memory...but the bottom line is Mama simply forgot. She forgot she had hidden my roller skates!

I wish I could remember if I confessed or if she simply remembered on her own, but by Christmas evening, I was the proud owner of a pair of pristine white shoe skates. I'd like to tell you that I've gotten better at keeping Christmas secrets, but...well, just ask my kids.