Welcome To John Haydel's Contribution

COUNTRY MEMORIES

A Christmas Story—Plaucheville 1920

by Hazel Lepine Haydel

(mother of John J. & Douglas Haydel)

 

My father's Maxwell Touring Car was the only one available for us to ride in to go to Midnight Mass.  For some reason, that idea did not work, so someone said, "Let's walk. It's a perfect night."  So it was agreed, and after much bustling about we located overcoats, shawls, jackets, goulashes, gloves, knitted caps and even spats (Uncle Adras wore gray spats). After all these items were pulled from our hall closet and the hall tree, our jolly group was ready.

 

As we went out the front door, a sweet feminine voice exclaimed, "No one told me that it was so cold!"  The front yard was long and wide with two pecan and two oak trees casting deep shadows from the full moon.  As we went out the picket fence onto the roadside, the gravel crunched under our feet.  It was a clear night, no wind, but very cold.  As we passed the Dufour home, some cried, "Oh, look there!"  From the porch rafters hung a suckling pig, dressed hens, sausages, a fresh ham, and other meats for the Christmas dinner...all pink and glistening from the new frost.

 

We hurried on to the church, along with the cars and a school bus (a wagon, really), even a couple of hardy souls on horseback.

 

"Bon Noel!" "Comme ça va?" and other greetings were being exchanged.  The bells tolled; the doors opened; and the organ was playing, "Silent Night."  The aroma of melting candle wax, incense, and cedar branches greeted the faithful.  The crèche, or nativity scene, was the main attraction.

 

The organ music swelled as the procession entered.  First came the servers in their crisp white surplices, their little brass bells tinkling.  The priest's silver hair highlighted his white and gold brocade vestments.  My mother's lovely, clear soprano voice began the opening hymn; the choir joined in; the liturgy began.

 

As Mass ended, people filed out quietly, singing the tender hymn, "Good Night, Sweet Jesus."  Getting a ride home was no problem.  Friends and neighbors happily drove us home where a large pot of sausage and chicken gumbo awaited us, including some of the good souls who took us home. And so, to bed -- a content, warm and happy family.

 

 

 

 
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