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Christmas In My Brickyard

Beyond the frozen Brickyard Pond, Goose-necked Girl baked bread pudding in crumbling outdoor ovens for the Pigman to deliver to the poor on Christmas Eve. After 50 years bringing holiday cheer and with age age taking its toll, the two hermits came to me with a simple request. And so for six years thereafter, until I left home forever I served as ruling elf in my Brickyard. It was 1962 I remember best when morning flurries on Christmas Eve churned into a whirling blizzard. The first major storm since World War II all the locals would later claim. Goose-necked Girl and I worked well past midnight packing more than 300 two-pound cartons of sugary goodness for every house in Whippanong Heights from Eden Mill to Satanís Lane. The wiry Pigman, dressed from tip to toe in muskrat brown, took over from there loading up his well-worn sleigh before hitching it all to a team of 8 four-year-old boars trained since piglets to pull a thousand pounds across a snowy landscape. Once underway, I, in my work-a-day plaids and army-surplus boots, steered from behind, jumping off every few yards to leave the yummy pudding on front porches right by the door. The storm roared all night long reaching record proportions by Christmas morning, and slowing our run through the freezing darkness into the freezing morning white. It wasnít until half past ten on Christmas Day that our team finally made it back to Goose-necked Girlís little shelter which by then was jacketed by more than two feet of drifting snow on its sagging clapboard roof. She told us to sleep away our fatigue while she prepared a hearty Christmas feast. I fell into a dreamy slumber by the pot-bellied stove and awoke later that afternoon to find I was all alone. I waited just a while before trudging over to my Grandmotherís shack to taste the Christmas pudding that we had dropped off 12 hours or so before. The snow had slowed by then but my march across the frozen pond, along the high-tension wire path and up the blizzard-whipped gravel road to the Heights took more than an hour with only the tracks of our dessert-laden sleigh evidence that this world was ours. When I opened the kitchen door there stood my Grandmother and Goose-necked Girl busily cooking dinner. In a hickory rocker, the Pigman dozed while the team of boars napped around him on the tarpaper floor. In time, we convened around the kitchen table to savor turkey, apples and plenty of dressing, but most of all I remember all of us - men, women and beasts - devouring extra cartons of creamy kindness on the merriest Christmas ever in my Brickyard.

Terry Scott Boykie, 1391 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, #402, Washington, DC 20003

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